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Kalanderhut balcony

 

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Heunigbos Lapa View

 


Lottering River

 


Kalander Tree

 

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Nature's Valley

 

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Kalander Hut with Douwurkop

 


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Waterfall at Blaauwkrantz

 


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Blauuwkrantz Hut

 


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Pool at Heuningsbos

 

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Rushes Pass

 

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Sleepkloof

 


Equipment portaging; guided hikes; offroad experiences and mountain biking are some of the new activities possible along the Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail.

The Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail is a six-day, 60-km, linear trail, beginning at Natures Valley and ending at the Storms River bridge or village. It journeys through the heart of the Tsitsikamma mountains where extensive patches of indigenous afromontane forest and mountain fynbos still occur. The mountains form the watershed for a myriad of streams and rivers, many of which are fountainheads for the wider, slower-flowing and magnificently sculptured rivers of the Tsitsikamma coast.

Shorter variations of the Trail exist (2,3,4,5 or 6 days) and a range of novel ecotourism activities and luggage transportation options are now available.

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 has an adjacent cooking shelter/lapa and is supplied with braai grids, kettles, 2 cast iron pots and a large pan; two flush toilets; two showers; 24 bunks and mattresses and clean, fresh water. A novel hot water shower - bucket is available at all five overnight huts.

Novel ecotourism options now available along the trail include the following:

  • Equipment and backpack porteraging: You can have all your kit porteraged between overnight stops, while you carry only the essentials during the day.
  • Informative, guided hiking excursions unearth many forest and fynbos secrets.
  • Exciting and flexible mountain biking with equipment portaging options.
  • Tsitsikamma off-road experience: Vehicular access to Blaauwkrantz, Keurbos and Heuningbos huts for off-road 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.

Along the route little contact is made with the outside world, except for the odd forestry activity here and there. Baboon, vervet monkey, caracal, honey badger, large-spotted genet, bushpig and bushbuck are often encountered along the route and at overnight huts. Leopard, serval 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.

There are many streams and pools along the route providing ample opportunity for swimming and re-filling water bottles.

Accreditation:
The Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail was South Africa's as well as the world's first officially accredited hiking trail.
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.

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.
   
Day 2: Kalander - Blaauwkrans Hut:
13,5km +/- 6 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.

   
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.
   
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 kilometere before reaching the newly constructed swing bridge. Care must be taken when negotiating this 20m river crossing. Heuningbos indigenous forest has many hidden secrets awaiting hikers further ahead. After the final descent towards the hut a stream and the Kleinbos river run across the path. A very pleasant swimming pool lies within rolling distance away.

   
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 the beautiful Mimetes splendidus. 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.
   
Day 6: Sleepkloof Hut - Paul Sauer Bridge:
3,2km +/- 1 hour OR 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.
   

ROUTE MAP

 

FOR RESERVATION ENQUIRIES :

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Disclaimer (www.trails.co.za) :   Information provided on this website  is supplied by the trail owner or agent and is not validated. We do not hold ourselves responsible for any inaccuracies or mis-representation for information provided in good faith. 
Please check with trail owner at time of booking.


 


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