Tsitsikamma is where adventure meets natural beauty. Picture thick, emerald forests with winding rivers wedged between and pristine shores lapped by the Indian Ocean. This region extends along the Garden Route in South Africa's Western and Eastern Cape. It's a popular destination, particularly for birders, photographic enthusiasts, outdoor enthusiasts, and hikers.
The Tsitsikamma region is a narrow belt of coastline consisting of dense forest and pristine beaches stretching for 80km from Nature's Valley and into the Eastern Cape. A 77m-long suspension bridge extends across Storms River Mouth, leading to pathways trailing past thickets of ferns, orchids, lilies, and coastal fynbos. The right time of year will bring sights of southern right whales and dolphins easily seen from the shoreline.
The Tsitsikamma National Park's evergreen forest is home to ancient yellowwood and milkwood trees – one of which dates back more than 800 years and extends for 40m above the forest floor. Small antelope hide amid foliage while shy otters dart through the gently flowing rivers. Experienced hikers can take on the acclaimed Otter Trail or explore the rugged coastline. Keep an eye out for the area's prolific birdlife – including the endangered black oystercatcher.
If you want more adventure, glide along on zip lines through the treetop forest canopy some 30m in the air or venture across the Storms River Pass on a Woodcutters Journey, where visitors can follow in the footsteps of elephants that once walked the well-worn trail. For those who need to cool off, discover the schools of fish that can be found around the reefs in Storms River Mouth.
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Tsitsikamma
Most people fly internationally to South Africa into Cape Town Airport or Johannesburg Airport – and from here, there are daily flights to and from Port Elizabeth.
The most exciting and flexible way to appreciate Tsitsikamma to its fullest is by hiring a car. This affords you the ability to explore the area at your own pace, as well as the luxury of spontaneity and being able to stop as much or as little as you fancy to get those snaps! It’s also the more wallet-friendly option as you do not pay for a guide, vehicle, or accommodations. This area is the place to do so if you are a fan of self-driving holidays!
According to international standards, the roads are extremely well signposted, in excellent condition, and offer lots of opportunity for gas/petrol stations and loo breaks along the way. Of course, our scenery means the journey itself is half the fun!
Our Rhino Africa Travel Experts are very well-versed in arranging private or group transfers for those who do not fancy driving themselves.
The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour
The Tsitsikamma Treetop Canopy Tour in Storms River lets you channel your inner Tarzan or Jane fantasy. You generally start 30 metres in the air, with canopies built around ancient Outeniqua Yellowwood trees, some of which, according to rumours, are up to 700 years old.
Your only problem with hiking will be trying to pick a trail! Some of the more popular hiking routes include the shorter Mouth, View Point and Lourie Trails, the longer Waterfall and Blue Duiker Trails. Then there are the multi-day (pre-booked and very popular) Otter, Dolphin and Tsitsikamma Trails.
Keep your courage in check and take on the highest bungee jump in the world. Bloukrans Bridge extends over the steep ravines hovering over the Storms River. This is a must for daredevils and thrill-seekers.
Kayak along the steep ravines and meandering waterways of Storm’s River before transferring to a lilo for a leisurely float/paddle up the Storms River gorge. From this angle, adventurers can soak in the scenery at a leisurely pace.
Nearby Animal Sanctuaries
Get acquainted with feathered and furry friends at Birds of Eden and its neighbouring Monkeyland in the Crags. Birds of Eden’s 2-hectare expanse is the largest free-flight aviary globally, while Monkeyland boasts 18 different primate species from lemurs to langurs. Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary is also within walking distance and provides a safe home to big cats.
You can see dolphins all year round. However, the southern right whales only migrate seasonally to breed and calve in the winter months. They are mostly seen between August and October, with possible sightings in June and July as well.
Tsitsikamma is part of the Garden Route and has a Mediterranean Maritime climate, which means moderately hot summers, and mild to chilly winters. It has one of the highest rainfall areas in South Africa. Most of the rain occurs in the winter months, brought on by the humid sea winds from the Indian ocean. The Garden Route's temperate weather falls between two climatic regions of summer and winter rainfall, so it rains mostly at night, which keeps the area perennially green.
Spring (Sept): You can feel spring in the air by the end of August and into September. October can be pretty mixed because just when you think summer has arrived, another cold front moves in.
Summer (Nov - Mar): The months of November to March are warmer, with December to February seeing midsummer daily temperatures of about 24-30ºC /75.2- 86ºF.
Autumn (May): Temperatures start cooling down from about April, but it can still be very pleasant until June.
Winter (Jun - Aug): The days may be bright and warm, but it gets cold in the evening and can be rainy overnight (8 -17ºC / 46.4-62.6 ºF)
No, Tsitsikamma is malaria-free, making it perfect for families with small children and those who would rather avoid those taking prophylactics.