The Tsitsikamma National Park is situated in the heart of the famous Garden Route in South Africa. The park offers some fine coastal scenery and sometimes the option of whale-watching.
Beautiful nature in the Tsitsikamma NP.
Tsitsikamma is a Khoisan (early inhabitants of the area) word meaning, “place of much water.” They probably referred to the average annual rainfall of 1200mm.
Flora and fauna
A temperate coastal climate with an annual rainfall of 1.400 mm. The wettest months are May and October, and the driest are June and July.
Simply follow the N2 and use the exit to Tsitsikamma National Park/ Stormsriver Mouth, 5 km west of Storms River.
The main bus companies as well as the Baz bus stop at the Total Petroport on the N2 next to the Paul Sauer bridge over the Storms River. This is about 15 km away from the Storms River Mouth entrance and 55km from Nature's Valley entrance, but it is generally easy to hitch a lift from there. There is a Tsitsikamma information centre, curio shop, restaurant and fast-food outlet at the Petroport, as well as spectacular views over the Storms River Gorge. Not the worst place to get stuck for a short while when trying to hitch a ride.
Tsitsikamma National Park
Storms River Mouth Rest Camp. South African Citizens and Residents (with ID) pay R28 per person, per day. SADC Nationals (with passport) pay R50 per adult, per day (children R28). The Standard Conservation Fee for Foreign Visitors: R88 per adult and R44 per child, per day.
Nature's Valley's Restcamp. South African Citizens and Residents (with ID) and SADC Nationals (with passport) pay R22 per day. The Standard Conservation Fee for Foreign Visitors: R44 per adult and R22 per child, per day.
By foot only. See Do section.
Storms River suspension bridges.
Storms River suspension bridge - The forest walkway to the bridge has recently been upgraded and 2 additional smaller suspension bridges have been added, part of the walkway to/from the main suspension forms circular forms a circular route.
Spirit of Tsitsikamma, ☎ +27 42 281-1607. Eco friendly boat cruise up the Storms River Gorge
Short hikes (no fees or permits needed):
Mouth Trail. 1km, a linear route. Walk from the Park's Restaurant to the Suspension Bridge, the key feature of the Tsitsikamma National Park, a long free-hanging bridge. It can often be seen on photographs, advertising the Tsitsikamma.
Viewpoint Trail. Walk past the Suspension Bridge, 2km, linear route. The first part is a pretty steep climb, towards the viewpoint it becomes a more gentle slope. You get a nice view of the Indian Ocean, the mouth, the bridge and the restcamp.
Waterfall Trail. First half day hike of the famous Otter trail, starting at the Oceannettes on the eastern side of the restcamp. 6,4km to the waterfall and back, just over 3 hours (a linear route). The latest starting time in summer 2:30PM and in winter 1:30PM. The hike is marked as difficult, due to uneven and slippery terrain. Take along your swimming gear for a refreshing dive under the waterfall, which marks the half way point.
Loerie Trail. Starts a little bit east of the restaurant, a small walk past a viewpoint, offering only ocean views. 1,5km and circular.
Blue Duiker Trail. 5,5km and circular. It starts along the Loerie Trail, later turns towards the coastline, following the Waterfall Trail back to the Oceannettes.
Multi day hikes
Otter Trail, . 42km, 5 days and 4 nights with good overnight huts. You have to book ahead. Bookings can be taken a year in advance, which means that there are often last minute cancellations, so it's always worth seeing if you can get in at the last minute. Bring your own food and sleeping bags. You do not need tents. You need to be fairly fit as the trail follows the cliffs and hills along the coastline, dipping down to the rivers. What goes down must come up... It's beautiful and only 12 people are allowed on any one part of the hike, so it really is unspoilt and worth doing. Be prepared for a difficult river crossing on day three. Please check with the parks officials when low tide is and ask for advice on getting over the river. R1,000R685pp.
Dolphin Trail, . 20 km, 2 days and 3 nights. Fully catered accommodation.From R4,200pps.
Tsitsikamma Trail, ☎ +27 42 2811-712 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Hike from Nature's Valley through the Tsitsikamma Mountains to Storms River. You can choose to walk 2 to 6 days, with or without porterage. If you want to walk just a section, just a day it appears to be possible as well. From R90 per person per day, for example: 6 days hike without porterage is R540, 6 days hike with porterage is R960, all including overnight huts..
At Stormsriver Restcamp, the Park's Shop offers the basic needs and souvenirs. In Nature's Valley's Restcamp is no restaurant or shop.
There is a restaurant and bar only at the Stormsriver Restcamp.
Get your drinks at the shop (closes at 6PM), or at the bar of the restaurant (closes after the last guest left, somewhere between 7PM and 10PM). Getting drinks after hours, you need to drive out of the park (gate is manned 24 hours). Either to Sugars Tavern in Stormriver West (township) or Dolfy's Tavern, next the N2 just 300m past the petrol station/Paul Sauer Bridge, on your right hand side, both are open till 10PM on weekdays and 2AM in weekends (Friday and Saturday).
Some of the cabins at Storms River Mouth
There are two camps in the park. Be sure to book a accommodation before you arrive, especially during high-season. You can check in from 12AM, check out is till 9AM.
Jeffreys Bay - the surfer's paradise to the east of the Tsitsikamma.
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