The Tsitsikamma 

The Tsitsikamma, (the place of clear and abundant waters) is a region of startling beauty bordering the Western Cape, which forms part of what is generally known as the Garden Route.   This well travelled route with the somewhat ‘confusing name’ does not feature miles upon miles of beautiful gardens as one might expect but the Tsitsikamma National Park, which you approach as you leave the seaside town of Plettenberg Bay is a ‘garden’ in its most natural sense.  It is an area of just over 64,000 hectares divided between vast swathes of indigenous rainforest, deeply eroded riverine gorges and a narrow marine coastal strip of sheer cliffs and strange rock formations.  Seven rivers descend from the mountains through the park, cutting their paths towards the pounding Indian Ocean, providing a plethora of waterfalls, meandering streams and cool dark tannin stained pools en route. Towering trees such as the Outeniqua yellowwood, some over 600 years old, compete with other trees, ferns, grasses and shrubs for survival and quest for light. Whilst the giant herds of elephant, buffalo and zebra of centuries past no longer frequent these forests, the bird life is prolific, several species of antelope prevail, and the cape clawless otter can occasionally be spotted in the streams and tidal pools along the coast.

Wonderful hiking and walking country, the area features an extensive network of trails that beckon visitors of all levels of fitness levels to explore.   Also with the boundary of the Park stretching 5 kilometres out to sea, adventurous scuba divers and snorkeling enthusiasts are offered the opportunity to explore the offshore world from the Storms River Mouth rest camp.

The park prides itself in a host of other ‘airborne’ attractions, such as the world’s highest bungee jump, abseiling in the Storms River Gorge and a highly rated treetop canopy tour.  Guided hikes, mountain bike trails and horse riding also feature in a list of ‘things-to-do’ in this pristine and protected part of the coast.  Spend a couple of nights at The Fernery just passed the Storms River Bridge as your base to explore this beautiful area.

At the end of the Tsitsikamma you have the opportunity to continue along the coastal route where Oyster Bay Lodge, close to St. Francis Bay could be your next staging post.  Here the peace and tranquility in a picturesque setting of dunes, woods and wetlands will give you the chance to catch your breath before journeying onwards.  Alternatively if the rugged valley of the Baviaanskloof appeals, turn inland and rest awhile at Cob Cottage one of the accommodation options at the Cedar Retreat and Guesthouse.