The Tsitsikamma Trail was South Africa's first officially accredited hiking trail and has recently been allocated the Green Flag Certificate for a trail under excellent management.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION: The Tsitsikamma Trail is truly a southern Cape hiking paradise, journeying through extensive indigenous afromontane forest and mountain fynbos. Ancient river gorges and abundant rivers and streams continually remind us of the creative power of water and the origins of the word Tsitsikamma.

GPS Information:
Garmin GPS Users:
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Rushes Pass

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This is an enchanted world where echoes of past giants such as elephant and buffalo can still be felt. Some of the finest specimens of South Africa 's national tree, the Outeniqua yellowwood, keep sentinel over the forest canopy while hikers clamber over their enormous roots beneath.
Accredited Hiking Trail
Beginning in Nature's Valley and ending 60-km further at either the Storms River Bridge or Village, this six day, unidirectional trail takes hikers through the heart of the Tsitsikamma Mountains . Shorter variations (2,3,4 or 5 days) are possible as each overnight hut has its own unique access route with safe parking at the start.

Optional equipment porterage (slackpacking) now provides hikers with the chance of having all their equipment transported between overnight huts, allowing you the luxury of carrying only daypacks on each day's journey. This makes the trail accessible to a wider range of people and provides all with more time for swimming, photography, birding and other activities usually limited by time or weight constraints. Field guides and binoculars are definitely recommended along this exciting and unpredictable journey. Many of the forest giants are labeled with their tree names and hikers can have much fun with guessing and identification games along the route.
Tolbos River Rock Pools below Bloukrans Hut
Tolbos River Rock Pools below Bloukrans Hut

Other activities now permitted include vehicular and mountain bike access to certain overnight huts. We also provide a transport service for hikers between huts and various other points along the trail.

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Country Life Article September 2004 Zipfile Download


Flame coloured Watsonia's along the Lottering River

Kite Spiders Abound

Bloukrans Hut Deck

Ericas

ACCOMMODATION FACILITIES :

The trail's overnight accommodation facilities have been upgraded to an excellent standard and you can truly enjoy magnificent views and relax in comfort at each of the five overnight huts.

Each hut is supplied with bunk beds and mattresses accommodating a maximum of 24 hikers per night. Spacious balconies with undercover wooden table and chair combinations provide for a congenial patio setting.

Each hut has an adjacent cooking shelter/lapa and is supplied with braai grids, kettles, 2 cast iron pots, a large pan and washing-up basin. There is both an undercover and outside braai area at each lapa, affording hikers the opportunity to make a fire even in adverse weather conditions. Firewood is supplied at all overnight huts.

The ablution facilities at each hut have two flush toilets, two showers and a wash basin. A novel hot water shower-bucket is available at all five overnight huts. Clean, fresh water is readily available from the rain-tank taps and at basins.

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 WE CANNOT SUPPLY FIREWOOD TO KALANDER HUT AS THE VEHICLE ACCESS ROAD HAS WASHED AWAY. ALL HIKERS MUST PLEASE CARRY IN THEIR OWN WOOD OR CHARCOAL TO KALANDER HUT.

Along the route little contact is made with the outside world, except for the odd forestry activity here and there. Baboon, vervet monkey, large-spotted genet, bushpig and bushbuck are often encountered along the route and at overnight huts. Leopard, serval, caracal, honey badger and blue duiker also occur, but are seldom seen. The forests provide ideal habitat for lesser seen bird species, such as rameron pigeon, narina trogon, sombre bulbul, forest buzzard, and colourful sunbirds and flycatchers. The fynbos harbours elusive endemics such as Victorin's warbler, protea canary and the Cape siskin.

ACCREDITATION:

The Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail was South Africa’s first officially accredited hiking trail. (It may possibly be the world’s first officially accredited hiking trail as well).
It is accredited by The South African Trail Owners Association (SATOA) as a trail:

  • In a pristine environment,
  • With standard to luxury accomodation,
  • With a moderate - difficult grading,
  • With excellent trail facilities.

A definite high level of fitness is required as some of the days score 8 out of 10 on the difficulty rating scale.

ROUTE DESCRIPTION AND DISTANCES BETWEEN OVERNIGHT HUTS:

Day 1:
Nature's Valley-Kalander Hut:
3,6km +/- 1 hour 30 mins

The first day follows the eastern bank of the Groot River lagoon. Sounds from the plentiful birdlife and the Indian Ocean at Nature's Valley accompany you through tall, dry indigenous coastal forest to the Kalander hut. The hut is nestled in the dune forest at the base of the spectacular Douwurmkop. The Ocean and lagoon are a mere stroll away.   

BE ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR:

 

  • Tall Outeniqua Yellowwood trees in dry coastal forest.
  • Milkwoods; White Ironwood; Cape Ash; False Olive; Cape Plane; Cape Teak; Red Currant and Bastard Saffron.  
  • Abundant Old Man’s Beard Lichen.
  • Knysna Louries; African Finfoots; Crowned Eagles; Emerald Cuckoo; Terrestrial Bulbul; Knysna & Olive Woodpecker; Olive Thrush and Chorister Robin.
  • Leopard (seldom seen but present); Bushpig; Baboon; Large – Spotted Genet & Cape Clawless Otter.
  • Whales & Dolphins

Day’s Highlights:

  • Tall Dry Coastal Forest
  • Nature’s Valley Beach and Groot River  Mouth

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ACCESS ROAD USED ON THE FIRST DAY TO KALANDER HUT HAS A BRIDGE WHICH HAS WASHED AWAY. A NEW ROUTE TAKES HIKERS AROUND THIS BRIDGE MAKING IT POSSIBLE TO USE THE ORIGINAL DAY ONE TRAIL AS INDICATED ABOVE. A SMALL RIVER IN THE FOREST NEEDS TO BE CROSSED SHOULD HIKERS MAKE USE OF THE ORIGINAL ROUTE. PLEASE BE VERY CAUTIOUS WHEN DECENDING INTO THE RIVER AND DURING THE ACTUAL CROSSING. IT IS A TRICKY DECENT AND THE RIVER SHOULD NOT BE CROSSED AFTER HEAVY RAINFALL.


ANOTHER OPTION TO ACCESS KALANDER HUT VIA THE WESTERN BANK OF THE GROOT RIVER IS E-MAILED TO ALL HIKERS MAKING A TRAIL RESERVATION. THIS IS THE RECOMMENDED ROUTE FOR THE FIRST DAY. CAUTION NEEDS TO BE TAKEN WHEN CROSSING THE GROOT RIVER, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE RIVER IS FLOWING SEAWARDS AND DURING HIGH TIDES OR AFTER HIGH RAINFALL. THIS ROUTE IS APPROXIMATELY TWO KILOMETRES HIKE. 
  


The crossing of the Groot River on route to Kalander Hut is usually not a problem. The river mouth is often closed and at other times may only involve removal of footwear. Hikers need to be aware that this crossing can be problematic after very heavy rainfall.

Groot River Mouth, day one      

NATURE'S VALLEY
Nature's Valley
 
Day 2:
Kalander-Blaauwkrans Hut:
15km +/- 7 hours

The day begins with a climb up the escarpment. Panoramic views and changing vegetation herald the arrival of the plateau and its wealth of fynbos. Most of the day's hike however, will take you through indigenous afromontane forest as you venture inland towards the foothills of the Tsitsikamma Mountains . The Blaauwkrans hut is situated on the verge of a cliff and offers incredible views of the river gorges below and Peak Formosa and the Tsitsikamma Mountains to the north. A couple of hundred metres beneath the balcony a coca-cola coloured waterfall tumbles away. Here private rock pools and falls provide an awesome swimming experience. A large-spotted genet pair and bushpig male are regular overnight visitors as well.   

 

BE ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR:
  1. Outeniqua & Real Yellowwoods; Ironwood; Common Saffron; Candlewood; Cape Holly; Wild Peach; Forest elder; Bladder-Nut; Wild Forest grape & an abundance of lianas in the medium-moist plateau forest.
  2. Interesting & Colourful Fungi.  
  3. Wild Forest Iris; Black-Whitch Hazel & Forest Tree ferns
  4. Starred Robins; Cuckoo Hawk; African Goshawk; Forest & Jackal buzzard; Green-backed Bleating Bush Warbler;  Narina Trogan & Red-billed Woodhoopoes.
  5. Bushpig; Baboon; Large-Spotted Genet; Bushbuck; Honey Badger and Blue Duiker.
  6. Boomslang & Puff-Adder.

Day’s Highlights:

  • Viewpoints from Apiesrug.
  • Medium-Moist Plateau Forest.
  • Staircase Waterfall.
  • Views of the Bloukrans River Gorge.
  • Bloukrans Hut & Tolbos River Rock Pools. 

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ORIGINAL KALANDER HUT WAS SITUATED IN DEVASSELOT RESTCAMP AND THAT WAS WHEN THE CURRENT TRAIL MAPS WERE PUBLISHED. THE DISTANCE SHOWN ON DAY ONE OF THE REVERSE SIDE OF THE CURRENT TRAIL MAP INDICATES 16,6KM. THIS REFERS TO THE OLD LOCATION OF KALANDER HUT WHEN THE FIRST DAY’S HIKE WAS FROM DEVASSELOT RESTCAMP. KALANDER HUT HAS NOW SHIFTED EASTWARDS TO THE EAST OF THE GROOT RIVER LAGOON. PLEASE SEE ABOVE NOTATIONS.        

Kalander Stoep
Kalander Stoep

Bloukrans Waterfall
Bloukrans Waterfall

 
Day 3:
Blaauwkrans-Keurbos Hut:
13,4km +/- 6 hours

Day three takes one deep into the  Tsitsikamma Mountains and forest. This is a wetter and more remote world where a true sense of isolation begins to take hold. Buffelsbos is where the last buffalo of the Tsitsikamma was shot and killed in 1886. In this eerie and enchanted patch of indigenous forest the trail begins its eastward course through the mountains. The crossing of the Bloukrantz River at Waterwitelsgat is always exciting and provides a wonderful swimming and resting place. The rest of the day follows predominantly flat terrain through flower-rich fynbos and relic forest. Shortly before reaching Keurbos hut there are rockpools resembling natural jacuzis at the twintubs. The hut is situated in the wetter Keurbos forest. Here both red and white alder are plentiful and the narina trogon's plaintiff call is sometimes heard.   

BE ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR:

  1. White Elder; Red Alder; Wild Pomegranate; Black Stinkwood; Rock Alder; Iron Martin; Mountain Cedar; Cape Beech; Tree Fuchsia and White Pear.
  2. Strawberry Everlastings & Seven-Week Ferns.
  3. Cape Rock Thrush;
  4. Rameron Pigeon; Victorin’s Warbler; Cape Siskin; Grey-Backed Cisticola and Cape Batis.

Day’s Highlights:

    • Buffelsbos.
    • Waterwitelsgat.
    • Benebos.
    • The Twin Tubs.
    • Keurbos Forest.

Rushes Pass
Rushes Pass

Blaauwkrantz Hut
Blaauwkrantz Hut

 
Day 4: 
Keurbos-Heuningbos Hut:
13,4km +/- 6 hours

Day four passes through very diverse habitat types and has a number of exciting river crossings. After an approximate 1,5km gradual descent from Keurbos hut through very tall fynbos the Lottering River is reached. Hikers should proceed slowly up Rushes Pass , pausing regularly to appreciate the majestic views. Once over the saddle, large pockets of untouched indigenous forest become visible in remote mountain regions. The path then descends for a similar distance to follow the western bank of the Elandsbos River for almost a kilometre before reaching the Elandsbos River crossing point. Heuningbos indigenous forest has many hidden secrets awaiting hikers further ahead. After the final descent towards Heuningbos Hut, hikers will cross the Kleinbos River twice before reaching the hut. A very pleasant swimming pool lies within rolling distance away. (Please be sure to read all warning/ logistical information with regard to river crossings during/ after heavy rainfall).   

BE ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR:

  1. Silky Bark; Blossom Tree; Spoonwood; Assegaai; Kamassi & Water White Els.    
  2. Varied Protea & Erica Species
  3. Fountain Bush (Psoralea) and Pelargonium Species.
  4. Cyclopia Species (Heuningbos)
  5. Rock Kestrel; Black Eagle; Grey Cuckoo-Shrike; Swee Waxbill; Half-Collared Kingfisher and Malachite Sunbird.
  6. Leopard (seldom seen but present); Baboon; Grysbuck and Grey Rhebuck.
  7. Berg Adder.

Day’s Highlights:

  • Lottering River.
  • Views from Rushes Pass.
  • Elandsbos River.
  • Heuningbos Forest.
  • Kleinbos River - very close to Heuningbos Hut. 

Keurbos Hut
Keurbos hut

 

Vehicular Access
Vehicular Access

 

Hikers below Kleinbos River Waterfall

Staircase Waterfall, Platbos Forest (day-2)
Day 5:
Heuningbos-Sleepkloof Hut:
13,9km +/- 7 hours

The longest day of the trail will see hikers negotiate two saddles on route to Sleepkloof hut. Most of the day passes through pristine mountain fynbos where many interesting species occur. Splendid Pass is such an example, named after a beautiful Mimetes Protea which grows towards the higher reaches of the pass. The wet indigenous forest at Mostertsbos is a stark contrast from the open mountain slopes. The crossing of the Witteklip River marks the day's half-way point and the second saddle's ascent begins shortly thereafter. The view from the top of Nademaalsnek is a just reward. The spectacular Storms River gorge, Sleepkloof hut and the final two-kilometre indigenous forest stretch are both visible from that point. Sleepkloof hut nestles on the slopes of a densely forested gorge where wood was dragged out during the woodcutter era. The hut has magnificent views of the Tsitsikamma mountains lurking in the distance.    

BE ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR:

  • Mock Silky Bark; Wild Gardenia; Cape Blackwood; Wild Mulberry; Cape Beech; Red Alder; Black Stinkwood; White Els and False Ironwood.
  • Varied Leucandendron Species & The King Protea.
  • Mimetes pauciflorus.
  • Klipspringer; Baboon; Leopard; Caracal; Large
  • Spotted Genet and Bushpig.
  • Black-Headed Oriole; Cinnamon Dove; African Wood Owl; Sombre Bulbul and Black
  • Black Backed Puffback.


Day’s Highlights:

  • Views from Splendid Pass & Mostertshoogte.
  • Mosterdsbos.
  • Witteklip River.
  • Views from Nademaalsnek.
  • Indigenous Forest close to Sleepkloof Hut.


Heuningbos Braai Area

One of many rocks pools on the trial
One of many rocks pools on the trail

 
Day 6:
Sleepkloof Hut-Paul Sauer Bridge :
3,2km +/- 1 hour
OR
Sleepkloof Hut -Storms River Village:
5,5km +/- 2 hours

The final day provides hikers with the option of either finishing at  Paul Sauer   Bridge or Storms River Village . Both route's share the first kilometre's walk through dense forest pioneer vegetation. The shorter route to  Paul Sauer Bridge is a very easy two kilometre descent through forest pioneer species and fynbos. The slightly longer walk to Storms River Village takes one through tall indigenous forest. This second option forms part of the Plaatbos Forest  and joins up with other existing day walks in the area. 

BE ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR:

  1. Hard Pear, Cape Ash; Coalwood; Outeniqua & Real Yellowwood; Assegai; Forest Elder; Cape Blackwood & large Hard Pear specimens.
  2. Caracal; Baboon; Vervet Monkey; Bushpig; Bushbuck; Blue Duiker and Honey Badger.
  3. Knysna Lourie; Narina Trogan; Scalythroated & Lesser Honeyguide; Paradise & Blue-Mantled Flycatcher; Olive Bush Shrike and Forest Canary.  

Day’s Highlights:

  • Plaatbos Indigenous Forest.
  • Storms River Village or Storms River Bridge (Petroport).

Sleepkloof Hut
Sleepkloof Hut

 


Formosa Peak

 

 

EQUIPMENT PORTERAGE INFORMATION:

To download this information please [Click Here]

Please note that equipment porterage was introduced to assist certain hiker groups with the carrying of equipment between overnight huts, and therefore make the Tsitsikamma Trail more suitable to a wider variety of persons.
The storage of perishables in fridges and freezers is possible but hikers need to be restrictive in this regard as space is limited. This is especially applicable over South African school holiday periods.
Please take note that you are paying for the actual transport service and not for the refrigeration or freezer space. This is a luxury which allows groups to bring along items not normally going in the backpacks on an overnight trail. Please be restrictive in this regard and discuss with us prior to your arrival.

Location:

The trail's starting point is in the Devasselot Restcamp of Tsitsikamma National Park which is situated in Nature's Valley. This can be easily found by traveling along the R102, - follow the clearly marked signposts to Nature's Valley from the N2. If approaching from the west ( Plettenberg Bay side), the Nature's Valley turn-off will be to your right a short distance after the Kurland Estate entrance in ther Crags area. If approaching from the east (Storms River Village), the Nature's valley turn-off will be to the left immediately after going through the N2 toll-gate. The Devasselot Restcamp is situated adjacent to the R102 and is clearly marked with large green and yellow signage.

Directions to any of the other four trail starting points can be easily obtained through contacting the MTO Ecotourism office in Tsitsikamma.
Please note that porterage is not possible to Kalander Hut at present due to flood damage to the Hut’s access road. All groups making use of equipment porterage must meet the MTO Ecotourism crew at Lottering Forestry Station (not Nature’s Valley), unless another location is pre-arranged.   
The Tsitsikamma Trail porterage team will meet your group at any of these starting points, and a brief talk with regard to safety, river-crossings, porterage procedures and so forth will then take place.
Porterage procedures:

* Hikers are requested to leave their backpacks inside the overnight hut and to ensure that all doors and windows are closed on departure.

* Backpacks will be placed inside overnight huts on drop-off by MTO Ecotourism staff.

* Please ensure that your backpack has a rain-proof cover/ black plastic bag to provide waterproofing during heavy rainfall. (We have waterproof covers for the vehicles, but need to ferry the equipment short distances between vehicles and overnight huts on foot, - therefore this is merely an extra precaution against a little extra dampness).

* The collection time for equipment and backpacks will be between 07h30 and 14h30. Backpacks and equipment are safe provided they are left inside the overnight huts. Baboons will investigate otherwise.

* Please try to arrive before 15h00 at the Devasselot Restcamp or any other trail starting point. Not only is it preferential to hike during daylight hours, - sufficient time is also required for the preparation talk; loading and sorting of equipment and transport of equipment to overnight huts. (Groups hiking to Keurbos Hut must arrive before 12h00 on the starting day).

* Hikers are requested to carry emergency rations and warm, waterproof protective gear, in case an unforeseen emergency arises. (These rations should be for a minimum of two days). We will contact you a few days prior to your arrival in this regard, but should you wish to communicate with us earlier, please contact Graeme Pienaar on either:
Tel: 042 2811 712
Cell: 072 70 45640
E-mail: gpi@mto.co.za


Food and drinks:
(Please bear in mind that porterage was originally introduced to assist hikers with the carrying of heavy items/ backpacks between overnight huts. The transportation of food items requiring either freezer or fridge space must please be planned in advance with space limitations in mind).   

We have refrigeration and freezer storage capacity at the Lottering Forestry Station. Your group can therefore bring along foodstuffs and drinks requiring freezing or refrigeration during your journey in the mountains. (Please contact the MTO Ecotourism reservation office for further information with regard to the quantity of food and drinks permitted per group. There are space constraints when more than one group makes use of porterage at any one time on the trail).

Please place the different food/ drink items for each different night in separate containers/ cooler boxes before handing the items over to us. Please ensure that each different container is clearly marked with regard to when required on which particular evening/ day. (It is best to use the environmentally friendly bags available at most supermarkets in this regard. It is easy to mark such bags with a permanent marker pen and they are a suitable size for storage purposes).

Please note that we have experienced problems in the past with groups bringing too many freezer & fridge items, -thereby exceeding our storage capacity. This is even more of a problem during peak periods, - (holidays etc) when more than one group makes use of porterage at a time.   

Please remember to purchase all food and general hiking supplies prior to your arrival at Nature’s Valley, as the local shop only stocks basic supplies.

Limitations on baggage amounts: 

  • We request that each hiker bring only one unit per person. A backpack, suitcase or kit-bag should suffice in this regard. It would be even better if two persons could share a unit when the porterage group consists of 12 persons or more. This is because we utilise one standard bakkie per hut and there are space constraints in this regard.
  • Hiker groups are allowed cooler boxes or containers additional to the above-mentioned items for food, cooking, cutlery and beverage transportation, - but please bear in mind that only one standard bakkie transports these items and large groups (12 + people), are requested to share units with regard to clothing and sleeping gear.
  • Due to time constraints the transport vehicle can only ferry equipment between huts once per group, and we therefore request that you plan in advance with regard to the amount of gear your particular group brings along on the trail.
  • If you can place the food items and drinks required for each night into clearly marked separate containers/ cooler boxes, - this will facilitate the storage and transport process tremendously.
  • Please try to limit the number of loose items, - not only does this assist us with general loading and transport, but it also decreases the chance of any items going missing.

* Please note that our vehicles can only transport a maximum of 400kg per group. 

* Groups in excess of 12 persons must please try to share units so that space is not compromised and overall weight is thus reduced.

* Please contact the MTO Ecotourism reservation office for further information with regard to the quantity of food and drinks permitted per group. There are space constraints when more than one group makes use of porterage at any one time on the trail

•  Remember that each hiker should carry a daypack containing food and drink for the day's walk. Warm, waterproof gear should also be in the daypack. Binoculars, field guides and cameras can be carried by stronger group members and are recommended.

Hikers are requested to plan in advance with regard to porterage. Space is limited and large groups must please use discretion in this regard. Our vehicles can become damaged on the rough mountainous roads and we therefore request that all porterage groups ensure that their participants are notified in this regard. (The maximum load per group must not exceed 400kg).


Please contact the Ecotourism Reservation Office for additional information and advice in this regard.
Here is a list of a few miscellaneous items that groups should bring along on the actual trail:

* Braai tongs
* Toilet Paper - Hikers should provide own toilet paper.
* Crockery & Cutlery (We supply cast iron pots; pans and basic kettles for heating water at each overnight hut. We also supply firewood & braai grids).
* Matches (water proofed)
* Torches & headlamps (gas lamps also optional). There is no lighting or electricity at overnight huts.
* Gas stoves with fuel
* Candles

Recommended in your daypack:
* First Aid Kit (1 per group)
* Emergency blankets
* Rain gear
* Survival bag


Lottering River
Important notice to all hikers:

The full Tsitsikamma Trail has reopened as from September 08.
Please note that your group's hike may be disrupted during times of heavy rainfall. You may need to utilise escape routes or exit the trail completely. You must please read and take note of all correspondence sent to the person making your trail reservation/ booking. This information includes important logistical advice on the Tsitsikamma Trail during times of heavy rainfall. Please note that there is a realistic chance of becoming trapped between rivers during bouts of heavy rainfall. It is therefore essential that all persons familiarise themselves with contingency plans/ escape routes pertinent to each day of the trail.     

If you are only using one vehicle you will need to make use of a shuttle service provided to get return transport to your vehicle after completing the trail.

Please contact us for any further information in this regard.
The crossing of the Groot River on route to Kalander Hut is usually not a problem. The river mouth is often closed and at other times may only involve removal of footwear. Hikers need to be aware that this crossing can be problematic after very heavy rainfall. 

Tariffs:

Our tariffs are R135,00 per person per night for overnighting at any of the five huts. (There are special rates for group and school bookings during off-peak times as well).

Porterage Tariffs:

A day hike along the Tsitsikamma Trail without overnighting will cost R30,00 per person per day. Should you wish your groups' equipment to be transported between overnight huts the cost will be R800.00 per hut/ trip for 1 – 6 persons and  R1100.00 per hut/ trip for 7 – 12 persons. Please note that we can only provide porterage for a maximum of 12 persons per hut.
If you would like to drive to certain huts yourself, the cost will be R350,00 per hut.

New activities now available along the trail include the following:

  • Equipment and backpack porterage: You can have all your kit transported between overnight huts, while you carry only the essentials during the day.
  • Exciting and flexible mountain biking with equipment porterage options.
  • Tsitsikamma mountain experience: Vehicular access to Blaauwkrantz, Keurbos and Heuningbos huts for 4x4 and 4x2 enthusiasts. (Such bookings will not coincide with normal hiker bookings at overnight stops).
  • Other possibilities include the transport of groups to overnight huts without their participants hiking between huts.  

PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING SUGGESTIONS:

  • A hike demands a great deal of exertion because of the broken topography of the terrain, and a fair degree of fitness is essential. Consult the contour sketch of the route so that you will be well prepared to tackle the more challenging sections. 
  • Begin the day’s hike preferably before 09h00 to ensure that the next hut is reached before dark.
  • Keep to the route. Short cuts are prohibited and you will only tire or endanger yourself unnecessarily.
  • The Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail has been designed to include several weekend excursions. Consult the trail map (or see below) for further information on  begin and end points allowed.
  • When packing your rucksack please remember the following necessities: raincoat, warm, water-proof clothing, knife, a piece of string, plasters, pain killers, hat, water bottle, torch & spare batteries (important), camp stove, cutlery, cooking utensils, candles, matches and sleeping bag.
  • Wear sturdy hiking shoes and thick woolen socks – your feet are doing all the work!
  • Take precautions against ticks. Wear leggings or use a repellent.
  • Water must be drunk regularly, especially on hot days.
  • The mass of the rucksack must not be more than one third of the body mass of the hiker.
  • Wear a hat for protection against the sun and wind. Take wind-resistant warm clothes along.
  • Stay calm in an emergency. Sit down and consider alternatives.
  • Consider turning back when there is a problem. Don’t try to be heroic – the elements are merciless.
  • Should you get lost in fog or darkness, stay together, seek shelter against the wind, dress warmly and stay where you are until conditions improve.
  • Please read the “Entry Conditions" and "Important Safety Advice Documents” before beginning the trail. (They will be sent to you after confirmation of your reservation). Please make sure that you and your group are familiar with possible disruptions to your hike during times of HEAVY RAINFALL". Please contact the MTO Ecoturism Office for further information in this regard.

Two items which warrant further discussion are the survival bag and space blanket. The survival bag is an essential item should you become stranded in adverse weather conditions without sufficient protective cover. This is a large, brightly coloured waterproof bag which can be used as cover by cutting a hole for your head and pulling the bag over oneself.  A space blanket is a very light fibre net with an aluminium film lamination on either side of the fibre which can be used for a variety of purposes. It’s most important function is to provide warmth during situations. It can be also be used as a makeshift tent, poncho, groundsheet, heat reflector and to signal others.      
(It is essential to consult hiking literature for comprehensive equipment lists before setting out on the trail).    

Proper preparation also means that hikers should know what to do in the event of an emergency. There is much literature currently available on emergencies and it is strongly advised that all hikers have practical knowledge on the correct course of action to follow should an emergency arise. Potential emergencies include ailments, illness and injuries; being lost; being stranded; flooding; dangerous river crossings and hypothermia.     
Never attempt to cross a flooded or heavily flowing river. Please contact the below contact details for further information pertinent to the Tsitsikamma Trail in this regard.


The Groot River Mouth is in close proximity to the Kalander Hut (Day 1)

Staircase Waterfall (Day 2)

Enjoying the view from Bloukrans Hut deck

Hiker chopping wood at Bloukrans Hut lapa

Kalander Hut provides quick access to Nature's Valley beach

Leaf of wild Forest Grape creeper

Rustic evening scene at Bloukrans lapa area

 

Trail Logistics/ Starting/ Ending Points:

  • Should any hikers wish to walk shortened variations of the trail, i.e- 2 – 5 days, then the starting point will not be the previous overnight hut, but the beginning point of the escape route/ forestry access route for the hiker party’s first overnight hut.
  • Hikers finishing the trail before the official end point will also finish at these escape route starting points.

These are as follows:

  • Bloukrans Hut, - access route begins/ ends at Bloukrans Forestry Station. (6km distance)
  • Keurbos Hut, - access route begins/ ends at Lottering Forestry Station. (12 km distance)
  • Heuningbos Hut, - access route begins/ ends at Boskor Sawmill. (5,5km distance)
  • Kalander Hut is the trail’s first overnight hut and Sleepkloof Hut the trail’s last overnight hut.
  • Access to Kalander Hut begins at the trail’s official starting point, the Devasselot Restcamp of Tsitsikamma National Park. (3km)
  • The distance to the trail’s official end-point is either 3,2km (Storms River Bridge) or 5,5km (Storms River Village).

Parking Arrangements:
There is safe & secure parking at all of the above-mentioned trail entry/ exit points:
Devasselot Restamp of Tsitsikamma National Park. (Vehicle with a South African National Park Restcamp). 
Bloukrans Forestry Station (Parking adjacent to SANParks Bloukrans administration offices)
Lottering Forestry Station (Parking adjacent to MTO Forestry Lottering administration offices)
Boskor Sawmill (parking in the Boskor Sawmill main parking area)
Storms River Bridge (Parking behind the Petroport gas/ filling Station).
Storms River Village (Parking opposite Storms River police Station).

Hikers are requested to plan there hike so as to avoid walking during darkness. Please familiarize yourself with the above access route distances.
Remember that the above access routes can be utilized during trail emergencies.
Mangold se Pad (between Keurbos & Heuningbos Huts) and Mostertsbos se Pad (between Heuningbos & Sleepkloof Huts) are two further escape routes which can be utilized during emergencies.

Indemnity forms must be completed by all hikers prior to trail commencement.
* Please note that vehicular access to Kalander and Sleepkloof Huts will NOT be permitted.
* All Vehicular access to Bloukrans, Keurbos and Heuningbos Huts is subject to prior reservation and arrangement."  

DEPOSIT AND CANCELLATION RULES:
Deposits:

A hiker deposit of 50% of the total cost of the reservation must be made one month from the initial reservation date.
Reservations made on short notice (2 months or less from trail starting date) will also require a 50% deposit within two weeks of the initial reservation date. 
Failure to comply with the above deposit rules will result in a lapse/ cancellation of the booking on our reservation system. 
Reservations:
Reservations cancelled less than 21 days prior to arrival (trail starting date) will incur a cancellation fee of 100 % of payments made. Reservations cancelled 21 days or longer before trail starting date will be refunded 70% of the booking fees.  There will be no refunds  applicable for reservations not cancelled timeously, and  for non-arrival of persons.   A 30% postponement fee is applicable to confirmed bookings changed within 21 days before arrival (trail starting date).

Please contact the below numbers for further information and reservations: 

Contact details:
For reservations and enquiries please contact:
Nadia Swigelaar at the MTO Ecotourism Reservation Office, Lottering Forestrty Station, Tsitsikamma on:

Tel: 042 2811 712
Fax: 042 2811 778
E-mail: ivy@cyberperk.co.za / nsw@mto.co.za
Visit our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/tsitsikammahikingtrail

For enquiries only please contact Graeme Pienaar on the above numbers or cell-phone 072 7045640.

E-mail: gpi@mto.co.za

If you would like to download or print this document please [CLICK HERE]

For additional information go to

[www.footprint.co.za]

[www.nectar.co.za]

For other trail information visit [www.sanparks.co.za]

[www.tsitsikamma.info]
Additional Links

[www.bestofthebay.co.za]

[www.kurtsteelphotography.com]

Visit our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/tsitsikammahikingtrail

GPS Information:
Garmin GPS Users:
Tsitsikamma staproete GARMIN GPS LINK
Users will need Garmin software to open and utilise the link (*.gdb)  Mapsource, Garmin software.

For all other users, please could you insert the following links for access to GPS waypoints:


Heuningbos Indigenous Forest

 


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