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.
There are some pretty amazing Tsitsikamma hikes that allow you to explore this beautiful national park on foot.
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.
Check out our gear guide to hiking.
Tsitsikamma hikes: The most popular hiking trails
Nature – Storms River suspension bridge
The forest walkway to the bridge has recently been upgraded and the development of a circular route with some more suspension bridges is underway.
Short Tsitsikamma hikes
Here’s two short trails (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 Tsitsikamma 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.
- Dolphin Trail. 20 km, 2 days and 3 nights. Fully catered accommodation. Visit their website.
- Tsitsikamma Trail. 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. Visit their website.