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


Tsitsikamma, meaning "the place of much water", lends its name to the marine-forest Tsitsikamma National Park, an 80 km remote stretch of fynbos-covered mountains, forests and valleys, and deep river gorges leading down to sea. In 1964 it was proclaimed the first Marine National Park on the African continent and stretches 5,5 km out to sea. This is one of the largest Marine Protected Areas in the world, conserving 11 percent of South Africa's Temperate South Coast rocky shoreline. It also provides a 'laboratory' for fisheries research on endangered line fish species.

The terrestrial part of the park - with its lush forest, spectacular river gorges, waterfalls and sheer cliffs - is one of South Africa's most famous nature reserves and covers an 80 km long stretch of coastline. Nature's Valley is at the western end of the park. Approximately 30% of the park is covered in fynbos (Cape Floral Kingdom) boasting a wide variety of flowers, including proteas and heath. One of the most conspicuous trees is the Outeniqua yellowwood, Podocarpus falcata. Of special interest are the Knysna Lourie and the African Black Oystercatcher, both of which are indigenous to the forest. The latter is one of South Africa's most threatened bird species and several pairs nest along the park's rocky coastline. The Cape Clawless Otter is the source of the name of the Otter Trail, this shy and elusive species hunts crabs along the park's coastline and rivers alike, and the Blue Duiker is a miniature antelope that is found in the forests.

The Tsitsikamma National Park incorporates various cultural heritage sites ranging from Khoisan sites such as caves, shell middens and rock art to more recent cultural historic sites such as the ruins of small fisher settlements, remnants of the past forestry industries and grave sites. The northern part of the park is situated 68 km north of Plettenberg Bay. Nature's Valley, surrounded by the park, lies on the southern tip of the coastal part of the Tsitsikamma National Park and concludes the Otter Trail. On 6 March 2009 the Tsitsikamma National Park was amalgamated with the Wilderness National Park and various other areas of land to form the Garden Route National Park.

The access route from the N2 highway and all internal roads are tarred.

  • Wikipedia entry Tsitsikamma
  • 2004 Article from IAfrica on activities in the area in the Tsitsikamma

    Tsitsikamma National Park
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