People have inhabited this area for thousands of years


History of Wilderness

Province: Western CapeGarden Route
Coordinates: 33°59′S 22°35′E
Area: 33°59′S 22°35′E
Municipality: George

Early times

There is evidence that shows early humans inhabited the coastal plains in the Cape. Their descendants became the hunter-gatherers known as the San or Bushmen. The Khoikhoi people also lived in the area, these were the people whom Bartolomeu Dias mentioned in his journal when they landed at the Cape in 1488.

European Settlers

About 100 years later some settlers made their way to the area This was problematic as the deep gorges of the Kaaimans and the Touws River were practically impassable to ox wagons. The area was easier to settle once a road had been built to Knysna in the late 1860s
The road is known as The Seven Passes route. Wilderness was established when George Bennett bought a piece of land at the mouth of the Touws River in 1877. He called it The Wilderness because his wife-to-be said she would marry him on the condition that he took her to live in the wilderness. After his untimely death, his wife returned to England and occasionally rented the property out. She sold the property in the late 1800s.

Holiday resort

After the Boer war, the Wilderness was bought by a syndicate, and the farmhouse was run as a guest house and seaside resort which enjoyed some international acclaim.
The house was later upgraded to become a proper hotel. Roads were laid out and more houses were built. Wilderness was the only stop on the George Knysna railway route.
By 1932 negotiations were underway for an airport as an option for travellers to get to Wilderness which up to then had been difficult. It was only post WWll that the machinery and adequate finance were available to build better roads. The N2 was opened in 1952.

The postcode in Wilderness is 6560


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Things to see and do in Wilderness

  • Wilderness National Park was proclaimed in the 1980s, helping to preserve the environment and the natural beauty of the area. The beach is considered one of the best in the county
  • Wilderness lakes were declared as a Ramsar site
  • Hoekwil pass
  • Hoopla information centre – Duiwe River Rd, Hoekwil
  • Hikes and Trails in Wilderness

Useful Numbers in Wilderness

  • Police: 044 877 0011
  • Municipality; 044 801 9111
  • Traffic Department; 044 878 2400 ( George)
  • Fire: George Brandweer and Nooddienste-044 801 6311
  • Water: 044 801 9262
  • Electricity: 044 801 9222
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • Post office; 044 877 1257
  • Library: George Library-044 801 9288
  • Closest hospital; George Hospital-ER-044 874 5122
  • Pharmacy; 044 877 0621
  • SPCA: George 044 878 1990
  • Schools:
  • Hoekwil Primary School – 044 850 1079
  • Touwsranten VGK Primary School-044 850 1210
  • Art gallery-The le Roux Gallery:061 547 0625
  • Tourism; 044 877 0045
  • Wilderness Residents and Ratepayers– admin@wrra.co.za




Local Listings