Media Release: Wilderness National Park launches extended Half-Collared Kingfisher trail
SANParks Week kicked off on a high note on Monday 22 September when they launched the world standard Touw River boardwalk as part of the extended Half Coloured Kingfisher Hiking trail.
The boardwalk, the result of a co-operative governance project between George Municipality and the Wilderness National Park (now part of the Garden Route National Park), winds along the Touw River to extend the existing hiking trail for another two kilometres to a waterfall.
Park Manager Jill Gordon said that due to extensive flood damage in November 2007 the park had to close down the Giant Kingfisher trail. “To compensate for the ‘loss’, we have extended the Half-Collared Kingfisher trail, which is situated on the opposite bank of the Touw River by creating a river crossing.”
The hiking trail, with a total distance of 7,2km (roundtrip), winds next to the beautiful Touw River through indigenous forests and fields of ferns. Gordon said that Wilderness National Park (now part of the Garden Route National Park) is renowned for its rich variety of bird life, and the positioning of the trail is a bird lover’s dream. “As it runs next to the river, there is an excellent chance of spotting the Giant Kingfisher and the Half Coloured Kingfisher, while the elusive Knysna Loerie frequent the trees around the trail.”
Regional Manager of SANParks Garden Route, Mvusy Songelwa, said that they are continuously looking for opportunities to work with other partners. “This is a perfect example how new initiatives can be used to ultimately benefit the visitors to our National Parks. This boardwalk not only protects the municipality’s raw water pipeline, but it also gives us the opportunity to lift the standards of the public facilities.”
Songelwa said that this is a fitting start for SANParks Week. “This year is focusing on access to parks by South Africans. As part of this initiative entry to all national parks will be free from 22 to 26 September – this is the ideal time for the local public to visit and enjoy our natural heritage.”
Knysna PR, Nicci Rousseau on behalf of SANParks Garden Route
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