“My favourite places on earth are the wild waterways where the forest opens its arms and a silver curve of river folds the traveller into its embrace”
With the abundance of river, beach and wild ocean, too many people at Wavecrest miss the incredible forest. It is a wonderland of tangled ‘monkey-ropes’ , Lichens and mosses, colorful canopy birds, massive Yellowood trees and truly the biggest Milkwood Trees I have ever seen. What I love about it, is that it lies just over the giant forested dunes ( the highest in the world), so you climb up the dune and look down over the top of this forest, enjoying an eagle’s view. Flowering chestnuts offer pink patches to all the shades of green.
Once over the dunes and on the path you enjoy a short section of grassland with a host of tiny wild flowers. You drop down steeply in to the cool darkness and soft vegetation underfoot. Red bird-plum berries litter the ground, and tiny flowers grow along the path. There is a magic there, a sense of the trees breathing and shifting and filtered light making dancing patterns. Life is everywhere, but hiding. Monkeys, raptors, Trumpeter Hornbills, Narina Trogons, Touracos and Blue Duiker. You see them in a flash of colour or a rustle in the tree tops. You see their droppings and their feathers, their bones and their half eaten berries.
The path leads through the forest floor and past the Crowned Eagle nest, a messy pile of sticks up on a massive tree. The pair were out hunting when we are there, but the bones of their meals litter the nest and path. Later we saw a single eagle dipping low over the forest. We passed dead logs decorated in flower-shaped fungi – each one filled with rain water and myriad bugs drinking from them. We climb up again to the dune and on this ridge we see the miles of white beach on one side , the estuary on the other and below us the rich green of this amazing forest.
Do yourselves a favour, make sure you don’t miss out on this walk. And even better, join Sean or another guide so that the elements of this remarkable forest can be explained and understood. This forest stretches for miles and is a very special part of what Wavecrest offers.
Written by Jenni Saunders and photography by David Rogers