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. And that’s only a snippet of what this adventure-filled vacation has on offer!
All about Tsitsikamma National Park
If you are looking for a gorgeously dramatic lush forestry, coastal scenes and multi-dimensional landscapes to explore, then the Tsitsikamma National Park is where you need to be. It is, without a doubt, a thrill-seekers paradise with the Garden Route granting you access to some of the best hiking experiences of your life.
The name Tsitsikamma is a Khoisan (early inhabitants of the area) word meaning, place of much water. This unspoiled setting that lines the south-eastern coastline of the Western Cape and boasts some of the largest and oldest marine protected areas. This magical location is topping most bucket-list destinations and for good reasons too!
Think we’re overexaggerating? Keep reading as we take you through what your future hiking experience will look like at the Tsitsikamma National Park.
Tsitsikamma Hiking Trails
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 gentler slope. You get a nice view of the Indian Ocean, the mouth, the bridge and the rest camp.
- Waterfall Trail. First half day hike of the famous Otter trail, starting at the Oceannettes on the eastern side of the rest camp. 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 halfway 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.
Accommodation options at Tsitsikamma National Park
Strategically placed on the boundary of the Tsitsikamma National Park, this accommodation spot put you at the door front of the most spectacular views. Taking in this coastal wonder means sipping on a freshly brewed cup of coffee on the terrace as you watch the turquoise waters beneath you.
The Casaplanca chalet is fitted with 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a breath-taking, light-soaked dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio with garden views. Better yet, the chalet also offers a picturesque sun terrace. There is a garden with a barbecue at this property and guests can go diving, cycling, hiking and windsurfing nearby.
If you are looking for a quaint escae that still offers you authentic experiences and modern charm, then Net Hier is perfect for you! Situated on the most exquisite, goosebump-inducing shoreline this property grants you access to uninterrupted nature like never before. Explore your adventurous side with all of the nature-based activities on offer including a must-experience snorkelling session.
The apartment is fitted with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio with sea views. Couples also particularly like the location — they rated it 9.5 for a two-person trip.
No 52 Eersterivier Rd Tsitsikamma
When it comes to No 52 Eersterivier Rd Tsitsikamma, the first words that come to mind are warm, cosy and tranquil. This property is a perfect 12 minutes’ walk to the beach, which is known for its warm waters and clear beaches. This vacation spot also offers a private beach area and a terrace where you can take in those incredible views.
This holiday home also includes 5 bedrooms, a living room and a flat-screen TV, an equipped kitchen with a dining area, and 2 bathrooms with a shower and a washing machine too! Better yet, after a day of hiking, diving or fishing, guests can relax in the garden or in the shared lounge area.