Lovely Garden Route beckons…

NATURAL SPLENDOUR: The Outeniqua Trail offers the very best of the Southern Cape coast
NATURAL SPLENDOUR: The Outeniqua Trail offers the very best of the Southern Cape coast

Sanparks offers a number of trails on the Garden Route taking just a couple of days or up to a week. These include:

OUTENIQUA TRAIL

This spectacular trail can be conquered as a series of day walks or over a full seven- day period, starting at Beervlei in the upper reaches of the park and ending at Harkerville in the East between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

This trail carves its way through the cool shade of undulating indigenous forest with rustic huts providing a stop-over, for those taking on the seven-day trek, or as an alternative starting point for day walkers depending on the level of challenge you desire. The overnight cabins are regularly stocked with firewood. Water and rudimentary bedding are supplied to complete that outdoor experience.

As darkness falls, the once blue sky turns black, pitted with billions of stars, and buffered with the sounds of nocturnal activity. It’s perfect, whether you are a stargazing astrologist, someone seeking a romantic getaway or simply want to bond with friends.

Ideal for those who have a love for the sea, this trail makes its way down to the coast, where beautiful rock formations may be explored, photographs taken or picnics enjoyed. Sea caves are often visible along this portion of the trail and tell of the sheer landscaping power of the Indian Ocean. This trail offers an unforgettable experience sure to leave walkers reeling with euphoria.

Permits can be obtained from the Knysna Regional office on Thesens Island.

MILLWOOD OVERNIGHT TRAIL

This trail forms part of the Outeniqua hiking trail. The 15,5km section can be walked as a two-day hike to Millwood Hut from Goudveld entrance kiosk and 15km back the second day.

OTTER TRAIL

This is a five-day hiking trail that starts at the Storms River mouth rest camp and ends at the small resort village of Nature’s Valley in the De Vasselot section of the park. The total length of the trail is 42km and it has six escape routes which have forest huts for resting. This trail hugs the Tsitsikamma coast close to the pounding surf and in other parts zigzags up to where the coastal plateau rises to elevations of 200m and cliffs drop steeply into the sea. The following are the escape routes for the five-day Otter Trail:

Escape route 1: 2.8km from the rest camp into the natural forest leading to the Ngubu huts deep inside the natural forest.

Escape route 2: the Kleinbos River escape route is 4,8km from the Ngubu huts.

Escape route 3: The Bloubaai escape route is 4.6km and allows for overnight stops in the forest huts.

Escape route 4: Scotts hut/ Geelhoutbos Rivers is 3.6km and has overnight stops at the forest huts.

Escape route 5: The Jan Swart escape route is 3km and it has overnight stops at the forest huts.

Escape route 6: At Bloukrans River towards the end of the trail. This also has overnight stops at the forest huts.

DOLPHIN TRAIL

This unique guided, luxury hiking experience is a spectacular two-day trail along the Tsitsikamma coast. One can have luggage portaged and spend each evening relaxing in comfort in three different luxury cabins.

The point of departure is the Storms River Mouth rest camp. This trail is made possible by a partnership between the Tsitsikamma National Park, Forest Ferns lodge and Misty Mountain Reserve.

The result of this is a hiking experience that will both challenge and pamper you. It covers a distance of 17km, starting at Storms River mouth and moving east through natural fynbos and indigenous forest, ending on the banks of the Sanddrift River at Forest Ferns.

All meals, guides, a 4×4 drive through old Storms River pass and transportof luggage are included in the cost. Other activities include whale- and dolphin- spotting, otters, bird-watching, swimming and snorkelling.

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