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. Table of Contents GETTING THEREBy carBy busBy planeTHINGS TO DO AT TSITSIKAMMASee Nature’s Valley BeachDo the Kayak & Lilo Excursion with Untouched AdventuresHike the Storms River Mouth trailHike the Waterfall trailOther Hiking TrailsTSITSIKAMMA ACCOMMODATIONFINAL THOUGHTS 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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! Did you enjoy this post? PIN IT!