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Hiking trails in Tsitsikamma National Park

By Guest
Posts: 36

Posted on: January 30, 2011 at 8:00AM

As you have probably heard there are two famous 5-6 day long hiking trails in Tsitsikamma national park - Otter trail winds along the coast and Tsitsikamma trail goes through the indigenous forests. As only 12 people a day are allowed on these trails, you have to reserve at least year in advance if you wan to take part in it. For those, who didn't know about these trails long before the trip or didn't get a permit, there are a few other day long hiking trails. From Storms river rest camp you can take around 1 km boardwalk suspension bridge trail - it leads you through indigenous forest to two long suspension bridges at Storms river mouth. You'll see panoramic views of the bridges and the coast. Going to the opposite direction from the rest camp, you'll see the start of the Yellow Lourie trail, which later branches into Blue duiker trail - these take you through indigenous forests up the hill and down hill all the time, so it's pretty tough. There is one panoramic view site stop and you'll come across a dam (lake) in the forest. As for everything else - the forest are really ugly - nothing in common with botanical gardens, so I would recommend to go up to the view site, see ocean panorama and get back down to the road. Further up the road from the rest camp to the main gates, around the midpoint, there are descends to the ocean. You can go down and do the first day of Otter trail. It is some 3 km to the waterfall. The downside is that you are going to do pretty seasoned hiking - there is no actual trail or road - you'll have to look for yellow marks indicating direction and hop on rocks. In the toughest places there will be some stairs or wooden beams for support, but set your mind for a really tough hike. Waterfall is brown colour and cold, but there is plenty of space to sunbath if you don't feel like taking a brown dip. From the Nature's Valley rest camp we took two trails - the short version (4 km) of Salt river trail - goes up the hill to panorama view site then along the indigenous forests until you descend to the brown (surprise!) river which flows into the ocean. This trail is recommended only during the low tide, as you have to do rock hopping again in the part when you return back to the camp on the oceanside. The second trail we took was Grootkloof trail - it was closed, but we decided to go anyways ;]] we walked through indigenous forests, crossed the collapsed bridge (that's why the trail was closed), saw a snake and finally got out to the Grootkloof river mouth. The return is via tarred roads. So my advice would be - take the suspension bridge trail, see if you like indigenous forests and then think if you want to do those trails in them. Waterfall tour is worth the effort, but don't take trails uphill-downhill the forests, it ruins your feet. Also, upon returning from the waterfall, you may notice stairs, near the grotto, going up to the forest - do not take it!!! Go back the way you came. It leads to the official start of the Otter trailm which begins at the park gate and it's 2 km uphill with nothing else but indigenous forests. And guess how you return from the gate to the rest camp - walk again. So we did 20 km of walking that day, which was way too much for the first day. report a problem

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