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Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa
Fast Facts
TOURIST INFORMATION
Website
+27 (0)42 281 1607
Email
ACTIVITIES
Walking
Wildlife
Cycling
Birding
Scuba Diving
Camping
Paddling
Airborne & Adrenaline
 
 
Kid-Friendly Hotels
 
Family-Friendly Tours
 
Points of Interest Nearby
ACTIVE ADVENTURE
 
Family Travel Tips
 

View of ocean from rocks, Tsitsikamma, Garden Route, Western Cape Province

 

Photo by South African Tourism

Tsitsikamma, part of Garden Route National Park, is a great place to take adventurous children. It’s a top hiking destination. It boasts a wide range of outdoor adventures. It’s a mosaic of ecosystems. It has more than 80 km of dramatic coastline and extends 5.5 km out to sea. It’s home to a myriad of animals and birds. Take a short hike on a winding boardwalk. Trek the much acclaimed Otter Trail. Zipline across waterfalls. Scuba, snorkel, and canoe. Watch dolphins and whales. Spy on bushpigs, honey badgers, and blue duikers. Catch sight of the elusive Cape clawless otter. Spot the Knysna Lourie and whole host of featured creatures. Explore indigenous forest. Plunge beneath the ocean’s surface. Discover life in a rock pool.
Getting There
 
Tsitsikamma is part of Garden Route National Park. It’s straddles the border between the Eastern and Western Cape. It’s sandwiched between the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Indian Ocean. It spans 80 km of coastline between Grootbank and the Groot River. There are two park entrances - Storms River and Nature’s Valley or De Vasselot – but no roads between the two sections of the park. Storms River Rest Camp is located 615 km (382 miles) from Cape Town, 195 km (121 miles) from Port Elizabeth, and 68 km (42 miles) from Plettenberg Bay. Nature’s Valley Rest Camp sits roughly 30 km (19 miles) west of Storms River. The nearest full service airports are in Port Elizabeth and George. The airport in Plettenberg Bay has limited flights. Baz Bus, the only bus company to services Tsitsikamma, stops in Storms River and The Crags, near the Nature’s Valley turn off. Family Travel Tips: Park roads are tarred and winding. Storms River Village and Storms River Mouth are two different places. The former is situated near the N2; the later is located right on the ocean.
Getting Around
 
Tsitsikamma is best known for the Otter Trail yet this challenging 42.5 km (26.5 mile) 5-day hike isn’t the only walk in the park. The 17km Dolphin Trail is a 2-day slackpacking trip; it’s fully catered and walkers don’t carry their gear. The multi-day Tsitsikamma Trail, 60 km (37 miles) from start to finish, can be hiked in full or in part and packs can be ported from hut to hut. There are six trails at Nature’s Valley of varying length and grade. The easy to moderate nature trails at Storms River range in length from 1 to 6 km. Family Travel Tips: Storms River provides a wealth of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts including hiking, birding, mountain biking, abseiling, scuba diving, snorkeling, tide pooling, boat trips and kayaking. The main activities at Nature’s Valley are hiking, birding, swimming and canoeing. Children must be at least 12 years of age to hike the Dolphin Trail. While there is no minimum age for the Otter Trail, parents must sign an indemnity form for walkers under 12 years of age and hikers aged 65 and over must present a trail specific doctor’s certificate. The Otter Trail can be booked up to 12 months in advance.
When to Travel
 
The climate in Tsitsikamma is temperate coastal. Summers are warm. Winters are mild. The average daytime high ranges from 29°C (84°F) in January to 15.5°C (60°F) in July. The nighttime lows are significantly cooler than the daytime highs. The park receives roughly 1,200 mm (47 inches) of rain each year. The wettest months are February, March and April; the driest are June and July. The peak season - December, January, April, and July - coincides with South African school holidays.
Health & Safety
 
Outdoor activities entail an element of risk. The following tips can help you and your family stay safe and healthy on an outdoor adventure. Carry plenty of water and encourage children to drink regularly. Dress for the weather and the possibility of changing conditions. Wear lightweight layers and the correct footwear. Wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim. Apply high factor sunscreen to all exposed areas. Select activities that are commensurate with the your family’s ability. Stay on designated trails. Supervise children closely. View wildlife at a safe distance and never feed animals, no matter how small. Family Travel Tips Tsitsikamma is malaria free.
Hours & Seasons
 
The gates at Storms River Rest Camp are open daily 6:00 - 22:00. Day visitors are allowed until 21:30. The gates at Nature’s Valley Rest Camp are open daily 7:00 - 18:00. Day visitors are allowed until 5:30.
Admission & Fees
 
A daily conservation fee is charged to all visitors. A reduced rate is available for children. Accommodation is charged separately. A fee is charged to hike the Otter and Tsitsikamma trails. The Dolphin trail can only be hiked as part of package.
Things to Keep in Mind
 
Advance reservations are strongly recommended for all overnight visits. Fishing is not permitted.
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Travel Trivia
Which of the following are descendents of the Anasazi: