I suggest you to go for this trail in the morning. Why? Because you won't walk through the forest and there is nothing to protect you from the hot sun (besides sun screen, of course!!). It can get awfully hot during the day and you can get burned easily (it happened to me, although I don't usually get burned!). In any case, bring plenty of sun screen and water!
Make the trip out to the waterfall on Otter Trail !
From the starting Point at the Oceanettes it is a walk of 3km (takes about 1 1/2 hours one way).
The Trail goes over Cliffs and through junglelike forests. Sometimes you have to climb a little, too.
You will not meet too many people, too. All the trail and just for you!
The waterfall comes down into a natural Basin, where you can also have a swim - so bring your swimmsuits with you).
And you will need it, too, to cool down after that walk.
It is best, to start earlier in the morning, when the sun is not so high and it is not so hot.
Important: good shoes, hat and sunscreen, swimming suit, enough to drink!
If you are visiting Tsitsikamma for a day and would like to take one or two shorter hikes, start out with the Waterfall Trail. It is actually the first day of the Otter Trail, so you will get a little glimpse of that as well!
The Waterfall Trail is between 5 and 6km round trip. You will enjoy some unbelievably beautiful views along this rugged coast until you will reach the waterfall. You are able to swim over there, so take your swimming suit if you wish to cool down. Although it is not a demanding hike, proper hiking shoes is a must because you must do some stone-hopping along the way.
On the photo you can see some additional information about this bridge - about the different cables. Another piece of interesting information is the fact that if you would have 3600 people on the bridge, it would break. My question is, how to fit all those 3600 on the bridge in the first place? Hehee.
Once you have reached to the suspension bridge, you have concluded the Suspension Trail. However, you can cross the bridge and take a very steep climb to a lookout point. It is really worth it as the views from the top are simply magnificent!
Starting at the Restaurant, this is a short Trail (1km).
It is all made of wooden planks and compared to the Otter Trail this is an easy stroll.
It goes to a Cave (Strandloper Cave), the Storm River, the Suspension bridge over the Storm River and a Lookout Point on the other side of the River.
the picture shows the bridge over Storms River photographed from the trail.
the whole Otter Trail is 42 km long.
It takes 5 days and 4 nights to do it.
There are some very limited facilities on the trail.
But you don?t have to do all of it.
From the beginning at the Oceanettes the Otter trail goes all along this wild coast. Sometimes over cliffs, sometimes through jungle-like forest.
After 3km there is a waterfall. And it is worth visiting. (see tip there).
Just take care: the Otter trail goes sometimes right over the Cliffs. The best way is signed with yellow paw-signs on the rocks.
Be prepared with good shoes and a hat against the sun.
A very pleasent and informative boat trip can be taken on the brown/red/black Storms River. The trip starts at the suspension bridge. You have to book seats and buy your ticket before hand. The ticket office is in the area in between the shop and restaurant.
It is a very scenic trip and you will also be shown an interesting bat-colony.
The trip takes about one hour.
This is a short (about 2 hours) walking trail. It is named after a small antelope found in the area. It is not difficult to do, and no special gear is needed, although a pair of hiking boots will help.
It has beautiful indiginous forest, waterfalls, streams etc. The last part is along the seafront, out of the forest area.
It is about 5km. A longer and shorter version is available.
This beautiful hiking trail is extremely popular, and traffic can get a bit heavy with times (during peak season).
It is beautiful and quite easy to negotiate.
The natural beauty of this trail is fantastic. Many treas are clearly labelled, and there are information points along the way.
No special hiking gear needed.
Arriving at the suspension bridge, you can take a boat trip up the river (see boat trip tip). You have to buy tickets at the ticket office BEFORE you walk the trail!
This is also where you end your trip if you do the blackwater tube rides.
When you only have a few hours or less time do the walk towards the suspension bridge over the Storm River. It's a good chance to stretch your legs and the landscapes are good.
The trail starts just behind the restaurant and the first thing you see is a small waterfall coming down from the rocks. And from there on the track starts. Most of it is on a wooden log floor.
During the trail you get some glimpse of the suspension bridge and when you arrive at this bridge, you probably can see why they call this the Storm River.
When you want to know more, see my travelogue: A short walk towards the suspension bridge
But there is also the option to book accommodation or go on a 5 day hike, for more details for these and other activities check their website.
The beach area is quite small, as is the swimming area. There is an anchored raft where you can swim to and catch a suntan.
Scuba and snorkeling gear can be hired. Instructors are also available.
Scuba divers must have a valid certificate
The Park is quite big and the diversity is amazing. There are indigenous forest, fynbos, dolphins, clawless cape otter, blue duiker and many more.
Special mention: you might spot the African Black Oyster Catcher, a beautiful bird which is unforunately on the resd data list mentioned as threatened.
On the hiking trails you will most probably encounter many of these things mentioned.
There are many things to do in the area, within 10 to 30 kilometres from the Park. If you travel a few kilometers on the N2 direction Port Elizabeth, you will find the small village of Stormsriver. It has changes a lot during he past few years, but still have a relaxed atmosphere. From the village you have a beautiful view of the Formosa Mountain, part of the Tsitsikamma Mountain Range.
From here you will be able to organise many adventures including:
Tree top (canopy) tours
Abseiling and climbing
There is accommodation available in the village and a good info centre.