Storms River Mouth
africa,  hiking,  outdoors,  travel

Garden Route National Park: Tsitsikamma

Tsitsikamma is located in one of the most stunning parts of South Africa called the Garden Route.

It’s a mountainous region where rivers have carved their path to the Indian Ocean and home to fynbos vegetation. A place I can call a favorite because it left me awestruck just like many parts of South Africa.

 

GETTING THERE

By car

The best and most flexible option is to drive. I originally started my journey to Garden Route from Cape Town and Tsitsikamma was my last stop before returning back.

There is a toll booth to enter this side of the Garden Route. The toll is R50 ($3). If you’re driving a rental car, you might not need to pay the fee.

 

By bus

You can also get there by bus, but you’ll have to figure out how to get from the bus stop to wherever you need to go.

Baz Bus has a hop-on hop-off service, which stops in Storms River Village. It’s the closest bus stop to Tsitsikamma National Park.

Greyhound, Intercape, and Translux have a stop in Stormsrivier (closest bus stop) along with stops to other Garden Route towns, like Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Jeffreys Bay, and so on.

 

By plane

If you rather fly in, the nearest airports to the park are:

  • Plettenberg Bay (PBZ): 1 hour drive
  • George (GRJ): 2 hour drive
  • Port Elizabeth (PLZ): 2 hour drive

 

THINGS TO DO AT TSITSIKAMMA

See Nature’s Valley Beach

The beach is about 6 miles (10 km) from Wild Spirit Backpackers Lodge. The good thing is there is no entrance fee to this side of Tsitsikamma.

You might find some baboons and antelope along the way like I did. You can either access the beach from Grootrivier side or drive through the residential area and find a place to park on St. Michaels Ave.  The popular Otter Trail ends at this beach. 

Nature's Valley Beach
Nature’s Valley Beach

Nature's Valley Beach, South Africa

Nature's Valley Beach Lagoon
Nature’s Valley Beach Lagoon / Grootrivier

 

Do the Kayak & Lilo Excursion with Untouched Adventures

Untouched Adventures is open all year round. Cost to kayak and lilo was R600 ($40). Lasted 2.5 hours.

A helmet and life jacket is mandatory and given as part of the package. If it’s summer time, you don’t need to rent a wetsuit. I got one just in case the water was cold. Cost was R90 ($6). If you need water shoes, you can also rent those.

I signed up for the 2 pm excursion, but we didn’t leave until 2:30 pm. There were 9 of us, including myself (excluding the guides). 4 guys were from Holland, 1 guy was from Argentina, and 3 girls were from Portugal. Our guides were Clifton and Bradley.

Once you arrive to the starting point, the guides do a quick briefing. If you’re solo, you will be paired with someone else for kayaking.

First part of the adventure begins with kayaking to underneath the bridge and then over to the gorge. From the gorge, one of the guides gives a brief talk about Storms River. Shortly after, we park the kayaks and switch over to the lilos.

Kayak & Lilo with Untouched Adventures

 

Because I’m not good at kayaking, my arms were aching while paddling (a sign that I was using the paddle incorrectly). Stroking with my hands while on the lilo was also exhausting.

On a lilo on Storms River

Storms River
Storms River

 

You can also opt to do the cliff jump. It’s optional. Some jumped 2 to 3 times. Overall, it was a fun experience. The guides were friendly and kind enough to help with taking photos and videos of me on my GoPro. 

Cliff Jump at Storms River
Cliff Jump

 

Hike the Storms River Mouth trail

Distance: 1.2 miles (1 km)
Hiking time: 1.5 hours roundtrip
Level of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

It’s no secret that Tsitsikamma is home to breathtaking trails that meander up and down through coastal hillsides. This popular trail takes you through the sea and river mouth traversing the suspension bridge, over to the pebble beach with an optional path to the plateau—the Lookout Point.

Tsitsikamma National Park Suspension Bridge
Suspension Bridge at Storms River
Ocean View, Storms River Mouth Trail
View of Indian Ocean from higher up

 

As you ascend to Lookout Point, you’ll encounter orange watsonia flowers, fynbos vegetation, lush green trees, and hills and valleys in the far distance. Gape at the majestic views, smell the sea breeze, and enjoy the panorama before you descend.

Bench along Storms River Mouth Trail
The bench
Path to Lookout Point, Storms Mouth Trail
Path to Lookout Point
Top of Storms Mouth Trail, Tsitsikamma
Top of Storms River Mouth Trail

 

Hike the Waterfall trail

Hiking time: 3-4 hours roundtrip
Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

This trail is part of the famous 28 mile (45 km) Otter trail. The 3 km stretch is along a rugged coastline with a cascading waterfall. Caution must be taken at high tides.

Unfortunately I did not do this hike. I was planning to but started the day too late.

 

Other Hiking Trails

  • Otter Trail
  • Lourie Trail
  • Blue Duiker Trail
  • Dolphin Trail

 

TSITSIKAMMA ACCOMMODATION

Looking for a place to stay? If you don’t mind driving an hour, I stayed at the wonderful Wild Spirit Backpackers Lodge in Nature’s Valley. You can read more about my stay here.

The surroundings are gorgeous! They serve breakfast and dinner on-site. They will be happy to assist you with arranging transportation and making a booking for any activity. I enjoyed my stay there and definitely recommend them.

For accommodation that’s closer to the park, search below.



Booking.com

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

To enter Tsitsikamma, the fee is R235 ($16) for foreigners. Cheaper for locals.

If I get a chance to return back to this side of the Garden Route, I would like to:

  • Hike the entire Otter trail
  • Bungee Jump the Bloukrans Bridge
  • Go Black Water Tubing
  • And do the Canopy Tour (Ziplining)

 

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you do book through my link, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!


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Garden Route National Park: Tsitsikamma

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