Otter Trail in Tsitsikamma Section, Garden Route National Park, Western Cape
The Otter Trail is situated in the Tsitsikamma Region in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.
This trail is undoubtedly the most popular of the South African hiking trails and serious hikers consider it the best in the country. The trail lies within the Tsitsikamma section of the well-known Garden Route National Park, starting at the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp and ending at Nature’s Valley.
It is a 42 km, five day hiking trail of incredibly diverse natural beauty. Hikers navigate through the best parts of the Tsitsikamma forest and over the cliff tops along the shoreline where hikers find themselves clambering over rocks, crossing rivers, exploring caves and walking along sandy white beaches.
Day One of the trail is 4.8 km long. Hikers will get to explore a cave, hike along cliff tops and clamber over rocks at sea level before coming upon a beautiful waterfall. Hikers need to know the high and low tide times for this stretch as it is impossible to attempt the river crossing at high tide.
Day Two is the most varied section of the trail and includes mostly forest walking before reaching a solid quartz outcrop. This section is 7.9 km long.
Day Three is a 7.7 km hike starting with a river crossing and then hiking along the rocky coastline and through fynbos until reaching the Elandsbos River where a much deserved swim can be taken.
Day Four is the longest section of the trail, 13.8 km long which includes a walk through the Boukrans Estuary. The final leg of the hike, Day Five, is 6.8 km and is relatively easy and ends on the exquisitely beautiful Nature’s Valley Beach.
The Otter Trail is not considered the most difficult in the country, but a fair fitness level is required. No children under the age of 12 years and no adults over the age of 65 are allowed on the trail.
Things to See and Do
- Waterfall Trail
- Indigenous Forest
Booking is essential and the trail cost is in the region of R1 000 per person, however, prices are subject to change and extra costs depending on the size of the group, accommodation type and seasonal bookings can be incurred. Please contact the SAN Parks directly to confirm the prices.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 11˚C and 30˚C with the highest rainfall during October.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 7˚C and 21˚C with high rain usually in May.
Commercial Airlines offer flights into Port Elizabeth Airport, Eastern Province and George Airport, Western Province, the closest Airports to this region. The N2 from both the East and West will lead you into the Tsitsikamma region and car hire facilities are located at both Airports.
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