TSITSIKAMMA WATERFALL HIKING TRAIL
South AfricaPosted by Natasha Potter | Aug 07, 2016 | Hiking Trails, Garden Route
3 – 4 hours
Out & Back
The Tsitsikamma Waterfall Hiking Trail, which makes up the first 3 kilometers of the famous Otter trail, offers a little something for all tastes: lush forest, sensational coastline, caves, and rock hopping.
The trail begins at the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, which is in the Tsitsikamma Section of the Garden Route National Park (found between Plettenberg Bay and Jeffrey’s Bay). Since the trail is within a National Park you will need to purchase a permit beforehand. If you are staying at a SanParks Rest Camp the permit will be covered in your accommodation costs. Otherwise, a day permit will set you back R62 per adult and R31 per child for South African citizens. (Prices valid until October 2020.) View additional or updated tarriffs on the SANParks website.
Getting started on The Tsitsikamma Waterfall Hike
You can expect the hike to take around 3 hours, excluding the amount of time you opt to spend at the waterfall. You'll start out with an easy stroll through mixed terrain – half through shady indigenous forest, half on a footpath along the dramatic coastline of the Indian Ocean. Before too long the rock hopping begins. For about two kilometers you'll be navigating your way over boulders and across rock faces. Look out for the painted yellow footprints along the path showing you the best way to go. We suggest that you hike during low tide as this section can get tricky once the tide starts coming in.
You’re quite exposed to the elements once you leave the forest and begin the rock hopping. Thankfully there is a cave along the way that offers a great place to find shade, have a rest, and snap a few photographs.
When you’re ready to venture on, you'll find a staircase with a sign saying 500 meters to the waterfall. These 500 meters will seem like a breeze after the previous two and a bit kilometers! But you'll probably be itching to get to the waterfall by now. Don’t worry, you will, and it will be absolutely worth it.
The unique combination of a waterfall to one side and the ocean to the other is the perfect end spot to a beautifully challenging hike. You can choose to swim (warning – it’s cold!) or simply dip your feet into the pool while enjoying a snack. You’re likely to come across a few hikers passing through on their Otter Trail adventures. Encourage them – they’ve got a long way to go!
When you're ready to leave, just go back the way you came and relish in this beautiful and fun hike all over again!