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The Definitive Guide to Activities in the Area of Nature's Valley, Plettenberg Bay Area, South Africa

HIKING

The entire Garden Route is a paradise for hiking but Nature's Valley is particularly beautiful. From Nectar Cottage there are spectacular day walks, for example to Salt River Mouth, a route with impressive views via the coast to a remote bay and returning across the mountain. The famous Otter Trail starts at the imposing Storms River Mouth and ends with the spectacular view of the beach, lagoon and ocean of Nature's Valley. Where permits are required these are usually issued at entrance.

The following are some of the day hikes and longer trails:

Name Info distance difficulty permit needed
Otter Trail see below 48 km difficult yes
Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail

See a 2007 IAfrica article article on the Tsitsikamma Trail.

See online overview of terrain with this link

landline: 042 2811 712 cell: 072 7045640
E-mail: nsw@mto.co.za
www.mtoecotourism.co.za/tsitsikama.htm Beginning in Nature's Valley and ending 60-km further at either the Storms River Bridge or Village, this six day, unidirectional trail takes hikers through the heart of the Tsitsikamma Mountains . Shorter variations (2,3,4 or 5 days) are possible as each overnight hut has its own unique access route with safe parking at the start.
61 km
Moderate to difficult Yes
Kalanderkloof Trail Starts at Nature's Valley. Gorgeous walk through the forest gorge with ancient Outeniqua Yellowwoods (also known as Kalanders) and rock pools, then up through the fijnbos with views over the lagoon. You can also extend this walk by branching off to Salt River mouth. See Salt River via Keurpad Trail
Starts opposite De Vasselot camp site, a 2 km walk from Nectar Cottage
4,8 km /
2,5 hrs
Moderate no
Groot River Trail Starts at Nature's Valley 6 km /
2,5 hrs
Moderate
circular
no
Forest Hall Info: De Vasselot Camp Site 15km /
5hrs
circular
Salt River mouth route Starts at Nature's Valley 9 km /
2,5 hrs
-
Salt River via Keurpad route Starts at Nature's Valley
Info: De Vasselot Camp Site
15 km /
6 hrs
Difficult
Circular
no
The Crags via Brak River Starts at Nature's Valley 17,1 km /
7 hrs
route not circular no
Kranshoek Hiking Trail It starts at the Kranshoek picnic site. Take the Harkerville exit and follow the signs for about 7km till Kranshoek. You can leave your car at the picnic site. There is an optional shortcut up to the Kranshoek viewpoint and back to the picnic spot (about 4km) shortly after reaching the coast. 9 km but reckon on at 5 hours for the longer route The longer trail is difficult but beautiful Fee at entrance
Varinghoek via Keurpad and back via the Brak River route Starts top of Groot River pass on Plett side on R102 16 km / 6 hrs no
Nature Valley Trails 044-531 6700 differs varies yes
Harkerville Trail Book at Forestry Department 044 382 5466 2-days forest, coast and fynbos
Outeniqua Trail Book at Forestry Department 044-382 5466 7 days indigenous forest and fynbos trail
Robberg Natures Reserve. Highly recommended. Very diverse walk, there is a short trail and a longer one. 044-533 2125 4 to 6 hours dependent on route Moderate to difficult Fee at entrance.
Keurbooms-Matjies River walk 044-533 3732 3 km Moderate no
Keurbooms Forestry Station 044-533 2125 Differs easy yes
Rugbos Trails 0422-91 0393 differs varies Self-issued
Stinkhoutkloof Trail 0422-91 0393 8.4 km difficult Self-issued
Plaatbos Trails 0422-91 0393 Differs Mod. Self-issued
Dolphin Trail: luxury hiking trail 042-280 3588, fax: 042-280 3577
www.dolphintrail.co.za
20 km Easy to
moderate
yes
Storms River Mouth Trails 0422-81 1607 Differs varies Pay at entrance


  • Check availability hiking trails with South African National Parks
    For more hikes along the Garden Route call the Plettenberg Bay tourist info line on 044-533 4065 or see one or more of the following sites:
  • www.plettenbergbay.co.za/experiences/hikes-walks
  • www.gardenroute.co.za/info/trails/hiking
  • www.george.co.za/hiking-trails-garden-route-south-africa_content_op_view_id_2838
  • www.capenature.org.za/Nature_Reserves

    Hiking trails from Nature's Valley

    Salt River Mouth

    OTTER TRAIL

    This five-day trail was the first official hiking trail to be opened in South Africa and ranks tops as one of South Africa's most famous and spectacular hiking trails. The trail meanders along a unique and unspoilt coastal stretch of the garden route in the Tsitsikamma National Park coastal forest. It traverses 48 kilometres of mountains, forest, fynbos, beaches, crosses 11 rivers and estuaries, and is graded as one of the more difficult hikes. The trail supports a maximum of 12 persons one way and hikers should be reasonably fit.

    The trail takes 5 days and, as this hike is extremely popular, reservations for huts need to be made well in advance, preferably a year. There are 2 huts; each with 6 bunks and mattresses. All provisions such as sleeping bags, gas stoves, cooking utensils, etc, need to be taken with and carried on the trail. Barbecue facilities and chemical toilets are provided, as is firewood, which is left on the path and can be collected along the way. Water is either available at the huts or can be taken from the streams. No person should hike alone and care should be taken crossing rivers after heavy rains.

    The trail starts at Storms River Mouth. Directions indicating the entrance to the Tsitsikamma National Park can be seen on the N2 near the Paul Sauer bridge over Storms River. The trail starts about 2 km west of the restaurant and car park at Storm's River and is clearly marked with blue otter signs.

    DAY 1(4,8 km, 2 to 3 hours). Passing a Khoisan cave you reach a pool and waterfall near the first night's stop at the Ngubu huts. Great swimming.
    DAY 2 (7,9 km, 4 to 6 hours). The second day starts with a steep climb up Olienboomkop onto a plateau of forest and fynbos with impressive Outeniqua Yellowwood and Stinkwood trees. Passing Skilderkrans with views of ocean and perhaps whales and dolphins, you cross the Kleinbos River towards Scott's Hut where fresh-water swimming can be enjoyed at the Geelhoutbos River that flows into the sea. This is a demanding climb with ascents and descents but if you have the stamina consider a detour down to Bloubaai.
    DAY 3 (7.7 km, 4 to 6 hours). The third day offers more undulating walks and is very scenic. The trail crosses two rivers, the Elandsbos and the Lottering, with wonderful swimming opportunities. Oakhurst hut can be reached either by swimming the Lottering or by hopping from boulder to boulder.
    DAY 4 (13,8 km, 6 to 8 hours). Although this hike from Oakhurst to the next hut is the longest it is not too strenuous. Start early to enable you to take your time crossing the Bloukrans River at low tide. (It is advisable to check the tide table at the information centre before the start of the trail.) Should you miss the low tide or feel unsure about the crossing, you can travel inland along a clearly marked route and backtrack to Andre's hut. At Andre's hut you can replenish your fresh water supply on the banks of the Klip River.
    DAY 5 (6,8 km, 2 to 3 hours) Approximately 100m after crossing the Klip River, ascend to a plateau of wooded areas and fynbos. Crossing the Helpmekaar River (fresh water supply) you reach the cliff top overlooking the pristine Nature's Valley.

  • Check availability South African National Parks
  • Contact Information South African National Parks
    PO Box 7400, Rogge Bay, Cape Town, 8012
    Reservations can be made up to a year in advance: SANPARKS, PO Box 787, Pretoria, 0001
    Telephone: +27 12 426 5111
    Fax: +27 12 343 0905
    E-mail: bridgetb@sanparks.org
  • See Ezine for an article on the Otter Trail
  • See Otter Trail Map

  • Storms River
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