Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail - Gardenroute
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Directions to Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail
Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail – Overview
The world renowned Tsitsikamma Trail is a hiking trail in the mountains on the eastern section of the Garden Route. The world renowned Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail has been awarded the Green Flag Certificate for a hiking trail under excellent management – an award of which MTO Forestry, the custodians, can be truly proud. Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail was South Africa’s first officially accredited hiking trail and was accredited by The South African Trail Owners Association (SATOA) as a trail:
- In a pristine environment
- With standard to luxury accommodation
- With a moderate through to difficult grading
- With excellent trail facilities
Experienced and new hikers are always in awe of the breathtaking beauty of this hiking paradise as they pass through river gorges, much indigenous forest and the wonderful fragrant fynbos for which the area is famous. The stunning river gorges which have taken many many centuries to gouge their path through the mountains and rocks remind visitors of the power of the abundant running rivers and streams and this is where the origin of the word Tsitsikamma “place of much water” came from.
MTO Forestry is responsible for and committed to sustainable forestry for the health of the environment and the economy.
Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail – What to expect
The trail starts in Natures Valley and follows the banks of the Groot River Lagoon from where you venture inland towards the foothills of the Tsitsikamma Mountains. Most of the trail meanders through these mountains and ends at either Storms River Bridge or Village, 60km away from the starting point. (There are shorter 2 - 5 day trail options as well).
Some of the largest and finest yellowwood trees in the world watch over this forest canopy while the privileged hikers are able to clamber over their gigantic roots below. Over 40 m in height the Outeniqua yellow-wood or Kalander is truly a forest giant. To make the hikes even more enjoyable and informative trees in the forests are often numbered or labelled to identify species and hikers should look for the magnificent specimens of the ironwood and stinkwood trees.
There are 4 different starting points which enable hikers to choose the length of hike (2, 3, 4 or 5 days) they are happy with. For full details of what each day entails, the very important and detailed list of safety precautions to be taken and the information list of everything you need to be aware of please enquire using the form below or visit the excellent and detailed MTO Ecotourism website.
You may encounter baboons, vervet monkeys, large-spotted genets, bushpigs and bushbuck on route to the overnight huts. Seldom seen but in the area are leopards, caracals, honey badgers and the shy blue duikers. The forests is ideal habitat for the more secretive forest bird species, such as rameron pigeon, narina trogon, sombre bulbul, forest buzzards, and colourful sunbirds and flycatchers. The abundance of indigenous fynbos harbours elusive endemics such as Victorin's warbler, protea canary and the Cape siskin.
Apart from animals and birds, hikers will come across a variety of ferns including the ‘seven week fern’ which thrives in the Tsitsikamma region. Keep a look out on tree trunks and the rocks for the colourful lichens and a variety of mushrooms grow in profusion.
Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail - Porterage
The option for hikers to make use of equipment porterage (slackpacking) provides them with the chance to have all their equipment transported between overnight huts. This allows hikers the opportunity of hiking with just a day pack making the trail accessible to a wider range of hikers and gives more time for swimming, photography, bird watching and other activities. Field guides and binoculars are definitely recommended.
Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail – Accommodation Facilities
Each of the five overnight huts provide guests with excellent overnight accommodation facilities and have been upgraded to a high standard. The stunning views and relaxing surroundings ensure guests are able to enjoy their overnight stops.
The huts are supplied with bunk beds and can accommodate a maximum of 24 hikers per night. The spacious undercover balconies have wooden table/chair combinations making the seating area a great place to enjoy the company of fellow hikers.
Each hut has an adjacent lapa/cooking shelter and guests have the use of braai grids, kettles, cast iron pots, a large pan and a washing-up basin. There is an undercover and an outside braai area at each lapa, so hikers are able to make a fire even in adverse weather conditions. Firewood is supplied at all overnight huts (except Kalander Hut.)
The ablution facilities at each hut have two showers, two flush toilets and a wash basin. A novel hot water shower-bucket is available at all five overnight huts. The rain water tanks supply a good supply of clean fresh water.
Additional firewood at overnight huts can be pre-arranged on request. (There is sufficient firewood in place for cooking and showering at each hut - this request refers to additional wood for other reasons). Please note that firewood cannot be supplied to Kalander Hut as the access road for vehicles has been washed away. Hikers must please carry in their own firewood or charcoal to Kalander Hut.
Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail - Location
The Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail’s official starting point is at Devasselot Restcamp in the Tsitsikamma National Park in Nature's Valley. Take a look at a map of the Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail here.
Directions to any of the four trail starting points can be obtained from the MTO Ecotourism office in Tsitsikamma or from their website. Please use the enquiry form below to get in touch or the contact details at the top of this page.
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