Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With The Wolves
For the past two weeks, I have been immersing myself in the enchanting surrounds of Wilderness close to George in the Garden Route, taking a much-needed break after months of hard work. It is the perfect place to become still again, fed by the natural beauty of the wild: forests and rivers and the wide acceptance of the ocean. I first arrived in this town in March on a solo road trip (read a story about that here) while reading Clarissa Pinkola Estés' epic mythology Women Who Run With The Wolves. I didn't know then how prophetic the book would become in my own story of finding my passion and living life with unbridled love and confidence in my own being.
The village is filled with young, enthusiastic creatives who are all contributing their individual flair to the already charming town. I will be spending some time here to tell you more about it - think of this post as a preview and a teaser of what the area has to offer!
Wilderness lies nestled between the Indian Ocean and the indigenous forests of the Outeniqua mountain range. The Touws River winds its way round Island Lake to the estuary in the middle of the town.
There are multiple forest hikes in the Wilderness, Hoekwil and Sedgefield area, as well as fishing spots in the rivers and ocean. Victoria Bay is a popular surfing spot, and can be reached with a scenic 2 hour hike along the decommissioned train tracks from Leentjiesklip.
Natural beauty aside, the town boasts many attractions: there is a budding music scene with live music seven days a week at Cocomo Restaurant, giving local musicians regular exposure. Bands like Rooted Souls and Roxton met Herki have regular slots, and The Sequence Band hosts a jam night every Tuesday. Have a look at this video of a collaboration between The Sequence Band and Rooted Souls. Follow Cocomo's Facebook page to stay up to date with upcoming shows!
The Green Shed Coffee Roastery is another must-see attraction. Local entrepreneur and Namo (nature and movement) therapist Mia Struwig wanted to open a health shop and treatment room in one wing of the existing shed, and together with restaurant owner Albert Wiffen they turned the Green Shed into a treasure trove of home roasted coffee, health products, beautiful artworks and curios.
Ingrid Nuss is a local surrealist artist that creates dreamy, other worldly landscapes, commenting on our destruction of the environment and the importance of harbouring a deep appreciation for our natural landscapes. Her work bursts to life in vivid colour and transports you to a place of universal wonder and beauty.
She works from her studio at the Wild Farm Backpackers, where I've been staying since arriving in the Garden Route. The backpackers was started ten years ago by the local Barnard family, and has been at the heart of the ever-expanding young conscious community that makes Wilderness such a special place.
If you've visited this part of the world, please tell me about your favourite parts in the comments below.