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Spot an observant otter ...
Otter trail

The Otter Trail surely sets the scene as part of the heartbeat of the Tsitsikamma National Park, ancient home of the Khoisan.† It conjures up the mystique of a vanished people and forms a small piece of the lush biome in Southern Africa.

The Otter trail from the Storms River Mouth to Natures Valley covers some forty-two kilometres of the most majestic coastal belt imaginable.† A colourful and fragmented rocky landscape which provides such a splendid view of sea and land outcrops.† Sun, sea and wind seem to collide against the coastline and inescapable waves crashing on jagged rocks below.† Seagulls display a macabre dance, flailing around as if in the grip of some capricious puppeteer.††


The accommodation along the Otter trail is in the form of basic, stylish and rustic forest huts which are all superb and located not too far from the waters edge.† On a clear night and in total darkness one is awed by the sheer brilliance, vastness and beauty of the night sky.† Sounds of pounding sea rollers coupled with tired bodies ensure excellent sleep.† Early mornings the birds in tree canopies provide a breakfast chorus together with noisy crickets, beetles and other low life goggas coming to life as if tickled into action by the sunís rays.††
From the high outcrop rocks, the sight of frolicking whales and Bottle Nosed Dolphins crashing through breakers awe one.† The Otter trail rises and descends continuously from the rocky shoreline to cliffs high above the water.† During windless periods the delicate fragrance of fynbos is everywhere.† Activities during the hike include cooling off at waterfalls or crystal clear rock pools and snorkeling in shallow pools where an abundance of large mussels and cushion stars reside.††

The five-day backpacking Otter trail is moderate.† When time permits, examine and explore plants, ancient trees and bird habitats deep in the forest.†

Day one takes one from Storms River Mouth to Ngubu hut, 4,8 km.

Day two covers 7,9km to Scott hut and includes a lot of steep ascents.

Day three is 7.7km with several river crossings so watch the tides especially for the Lottering River mouth.

Day four to the Andre hut is 13,8km and includes the famous Bloukrans River mouth.

The final day is short, only 6,8km to Natures Valley.

Be aware of the Bloukrans river estuary and endeavour to reach it at low tide when one can walk across ankle deep in water.†
On the final day of the Otter trail, one descends the plateau onto the sea sand at Natures Valley, a glistening wave-washed beach graced only with footprints of Kelp Seagulls and white-breasted Cormorants foraging for food.

A conservation forum takes care of the Tsitsikammaís natural heritage and seeks to preserve it for many generations to come. †With the Otter trail holding its own charm along this spectacular wild piece of coast, it enriches the lives of thousands of lucky hikers every year.†

Contact: National Parks Board
Tel: + 27 (0)12 343 1991
Fax: + 27 (0)12 343 0905
E-mail: [email protected]