Although not as high or wide as the Bloukrans Bridge, the Paul Sauer Bridge was a major feat of engineering on a global scale, and was built some 30 years earlier when the old N2 road was being upgraded. The construction effort required narrow catwalks suspended 100 metres above the gorge to get men and materials out to the middle. The sheer width...more
To complicate the whole construction, much of the road needed to be cut in the band of shale as this was the least unstable of the local rock formations. Once construction started, it progressed quickly, reaching Bloukrans by 1881 and Storms River by 1884 with that pass completed a year later. It was then relatively straightforward for the new road...more
The Bloukrans River forms one of the many deep, impassable gorges of the Tsitsikamma National Park, and it wasn’t until 1884 that Thomas Bain, the South African master road-builder managed to complete a road from Knysna to Port Elizabeth. Given the huge canyons, the dense indigenous forest and the complete absence of tracks had made it seem...more
Alongside the Protea Hotel is a small row of shops, each painted a different shocking colour. It's so shocking - pink, orange, turquoise - that they are possibly the only shop fronts visible from outer space.One of these contains a showroom-cum-museum of old Cadillacs, including the specials from 1958, 1959 and 1960. There are also several more...more
With commercial timber plantations covering much of the old benchcut platform around the 200 metre contour, the rest of the national park sits on the northern slopes of the Tsitsikamma mountains to the north. Over the years, the decades and the centuries, this forested coastal region has been regularly hit by serious fires: whole mountainsides have...more
The Tsitsikamma is one of those awkward national parks: everyone has heard of it, yet few know what is there. First announced in 1964, it?s a landmark on the N2 between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, yet it is less visited than most parks in Africa. It is probably best known for hosting the world's highest permanent bungee jump, from the 216 metre...more
This restaurant is in the Protea Tsitsikamma Hotel, part of the Protea chain of South African hotels. The restaurant was busy – it was the peak of the peak season – and the food was good, with strongly falvoured local dishes prominent on the menu. Even the kids portions were gargantuan. However, the crowd of diners meant that the room warmed up...more
There are two caf?s at the Bloukrans Bridge bungee jump site, both of which are really pikey, serving poor quality food and an extremely limited selection of food and beer. I don?t know why, but these kinds of sites always seem to have dire food and no atmosphere. There should be no reason why you can?t have good caf?s or restaurants in these...more
In the secluded little hamlet of Storms River Village, the first house on the right is a beautiful little guest-house, Armagh Country Lodge, which has B&B accommodation but they also serve amazingly good breakfasts. They have a stunning garden, teeming with bird life, inclusing a friendly Red-Necked Francolin that struts around the garden,...more
The TFVT provides local employment for a number of poeple, not just through the accommodation available at Bloukrans but also by the establishment of a number of craft workshops.The "tsitsikamma Khoisan Village" as it is also known, is worth a stop to see the products being made. These include hand-made paper, candles and silk-screen and cloth...more
For us, one of the highlights of our stay in the Storms River area was a short, post-breakfast walk through the bush at the back of The Armagh guest-house, escorted by the owners' friendly Doberman who showed us along the paths between the village and the main raod. It was a peaceful walk though the protea bushes and the tall grasses and shrubs.
There are several loop walks but each takes only around 30 minutes to complete. Although we had plenty of insect repellant, we weren't bothered by insects anyway.
Bloukrans Bridge is home to the world's highest permanent bungy jump operation, from the 216 metre high Bloukrans bridge. While drivers sail across the bridge in 30 seconds, underneath them, the adventurers face a big drop into the abyss on a piece of rubber band.For those that can't face leaping into the void, there are trips out to the launch...more
The Storms River Adventures company has quickly grown to be the biggest activity operator in the area, offering tree top canopy tours, bungee jumping and a variety of other forest-related activities.This is not just your ordinary company, exploiting the masses and fremoving as much cash from your wallet as possible. This is a very 'right on'...more