Best Hiking Trails in Tsitsikamma

View of the Coastline of South Africa's Tsitsikamma National Park

If Hiking is your forte, look no further! The Western Cape in South Africa is home to the cutest Cape clawless otters, picturesque scenery, and the most fantastic Hiking trails in the Country. Tsitsikamma offers short Garden Route Walks, a range of Knysna Hiking Trails and longer overnight Tsitsikamma trails. In this article, I list the six best hiking trails in Tsitsikamma on the Garden Route of South Africa that promise an unforgettable experience. Expect to walk in the lush green indigenous forests and observe birdlife, fauna, and flora. Most of these hikes are challenging, with many uphill climbs every day. This article also provides information about the cost and distance of the Tsitsikamma hiking trail.

Bloukrans River hiking trail in Tsitsikamma National Park
Bloukrans River Hiking Trail in Tsitsikamma National Park

Tsitsikamma Garden Route Hiking Trails

1. Otter Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail

The Otter Trail is a world-famous hiking trail that has been voted as one of the best trails in South Africa. Situated in the stunning Tsitsikamma National Park along the picturesque Garden Route, this exceptional hiking trail offers breathtaking views of the ocean, takes you through beautiful indigenous forests and is home to the Cape clawless otter and a variety of flora, fauna, and marine life. What to Expect Hiking the Exceptional Otter Trail!

2. Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail

The Tsitsikamma Trail is one of the top 10 hiking trails in the Country and is an excellent alternative to the popular Otter and Outeniqua Hiking Trail. The trail spans 62.3km and takes 6 days to complete, starting at the De Vasselot rest camp in Nature’s Valley. It’s a stunning trail that rivals the beauty of the Otter Trail.

The species-rich forest hike offers beautiful Mountain views and some of the finest species of the Outeniqua yellowwood tree. Expect to spend six days hiking through extensive lush green Southern Afromontane forests with River streams and gorges. The trail finishes at the Storms River Village, near the bridge.

  • The first day of the Tsitsikamma hike involves a 3.6 km trek through the forest before reaching Kalanderhut. A highlight of this trek is that arriving at Kalanderhut early allows for time to swim and spend a few hours on the beach.
  • On Day 2 of the trail, you will cover a distance of approximately 17 km, the longest trail day. The day will end at the Bloukrantz Hut, which offers a spectacular view. One of the highlights of Day 2 is the Waterfall located at 10 km, which provides an ideal stop to take a swim and have lunch.
Tsitsikamma National Park
  • The Tolbos River, near the hut, is ideal for soothing one’s tired body.
  • On Day 3, expect a long hike until you reach the Bloukranz crossing. Unlike the Otter, where the River crossing is quite challenging, one walks over rocks to the other side. Overnight at Keurbos hut.
  • Day 4: Keurbos to Heuningbos 13.4 km – Highlight: The spectacular view from Rushess Pass.
  • Day 5: Heuningbos to Sleepkloof 14km – Highlight: Swim in the mountain pools on the hiking trail in Tsitsikamma.
  • Shorter variations, from 2 up to 5 days, are possible. Each of the five overnight huts has its unique access route with safe parking at the start.
  • The Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail also has an equipment porterage option to transport your equipment to your overnight hut, also known as a slack pack.
  • If you choose this option, I strongly suggest you carry a small daypack with a warm top, rain jacket, hat, towel, and swimming costume.
  • Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail difficulty: Moderate to challenging.

3. Waterfall trail Tsitsikamma

The Waterfall day hike spans 6km and covers the initial 3 km of the Otter Trail, offering a scenic view of the rugged coastline. It then culminates at a breathtaking waterfall, making it an ideal choice for a day hike. Complete your walk with a picnic at the Waterfall; whereafter you can return via the same route that you’ve started from.

What to Expect on The Waterfall Hike

  • The Waterfall hike is relatively easy, except for some goat-style manoeuvring over some rocks.
  • Take your bathing costume, towel, suntan lotion, sunglasses, hat, and camera, and most importantly, take enough water and these fantastic Healthy Munchies to keep you energised.
Knysna Forest Loerie Trail

4. Loerie Trail

The Loerie Trail is one of the most leisurely and short Tsitsikamma hikes. On the 1 km Loerie trail, you will experience the spectacular indigenous coastal forest.

What to Expect on the Loerie Hike

Watch out for the famous Knysna Loeries, usually found in pairs. They are long-tailed, round-crested white-tipped birds with bright red feathers only seen when they fly.

After a brief uphill climb, the trail emerges onto a plateau at the Agulhas lookout point. Have you ever wanted the experience of the Otter but can’t see yourself carrying a heavy Backpack?

5. The Dolphin Trail

The 17km Dolphin trail starts in the unrivalled Garden Route National Park, taking you through indigenous forests with an experienced guide. On the Dolphin Trail, one experiences a taste of the unspoilt Otter without carrying any heavy gear.

What to Expect on the Dolphin Hike

Many hikers are discouraged by the strenuous Otter, especially about carrying a heavy backpack, so go for the Dolphin Trail. You only have to carry your daypack, containing your bathing suit, sunscreen, camera, water bottle and munchies.

Overnight in luxury at charming lodges, there is no need to stress about what to eat and food preparation, as The Dolphin hiking trail Tsitsikamma includes all meals.

6. Storms River Mouth Trail

The short 2 km hike starts next to the restaurant at Sandy Bay and will take you through the indigenous forest across the Storms River Mouth.

What to Expect on the Storms River Mouth Hike

Experience the suspension bridge, the Stormsriver Mouth Cave Khoisan Heritage Site, and, lastly, hike to the top of the cliffs. Your Ultimate hiking checklist includes essential factors and elements when choosing a hike.

The Dolphin Trail Tsitsikamma route
  • First, determine which trek is best for you and your fitness level.
  • Improve your stamina and fitness level.
  • Find out how to prepare for short hikes and long, strenuous hikes.
  • Altogether, choosing the right hiking gear and hiking clothes is essential.

Always familiarise yourself with updated information before any Hiking trails in Tsitsikamma. Familiarise yourself with the route of any Hiking Trail before undertaking or even booking a trail. For Bookings and availability, go to Sanparks for Booking.

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