Forestry South Africa (FSA) has launched the Forestry Explained recreational map that provides a glorious guide into the activities and attractions found on state forestry-owned land that’s open to the public. The project was driven by Katy Johnson who is passionate about tourism, nature and conservation. She worked with the FSA to build a 2019 bucket list that captures some of South Africa’s most stunning spaces.
“South Africa has 1.2-million hectares of commercial forestry plantations which supply us with sustainably farmed wood for furniture, pulp, paper and a countless number of products we use every day,” says Johnson. “Yet around 30% of forestry-owned land in South Africa is unplanted and a large proportion is set aside for dedicated conservation.”
This includes vast swathes of grasslands, riverine ecosystems and indigenous forests that offer South Africans amazing recreational opportunities. Whether a person is passionate about trail running, hiking, mountain biking or just having a picnic surrounded by spectacular views, the Forestry Explained map has something to offer.
“The map makes accessing these activities easy,” says Johnson. “It showcases eco-activities of forestry companies and private individuals on one user-friendly, recreational guide.”
Some of the most amazing spots on this clever bucket list include Mpumalanga’s waterfalls such as the Lisbon Falls, the Mac Mac Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls; the Big 4 forestry hikes in four provinces that include the famed Fanie Botha and Tsitsikamma hikes; the Kaapsehoop scooter tour that gives you a two-hour trip through the plantations; and the “trail-running triple” across three of South Africa’s best trail-running venues.
If you fancy visiting some of the most magnificent scenery in South Africa for (mostly) free, then this is the guide that you need. Not only does it tick plenty of outdoor and fresh-air boxes, but it is probably one of the most unusual and remarkable of the trailblazers in travel today. Where else could you stare down into a roaring gorge, stare up into a swaying canopy and stare inward as you contemplate nature, all in one outing?