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From your first steps to your last, with river crossings, lush forests, sandy beaches and breathtaking vistas, the Otter Trail will change your life.
This unspoiled trail in the heart of the Garden Route National Park, where the Tsitsikamma Forest meets the Indian Ocean, will delight you with its incredibly diverse natural beauty. A showcase of the best of forest and coast, with a wide variety of fauna and flora along the rugged coastline of the Garden Route. A five-day hike, the 42km-long trail mostly follows cliff tops along the shoreline, 150m above the sea, returning to sea level for river crossings.
The trail starts off at a relatively easy pace from the Garden Route National Park's Storms River Rest Camp, giving you time to explore a large cave with a majestic waterfall that follows.
TThe next day features the most varied section of the trail. It includes a walk through a stunning forest before reaching the solid quartz outcrop of Skilderkrans, a great place to take a break. Look out for dolphins or whales playing in the waves below.
Start your third day with a river crossing (check the tides), then follow the rocky coastline through pristine fynbos until the Elandsbos River is reached, a great place for a swim.
TThe last day is the longest section of the trail. After a long walk through the Bloukrans estuary, the final leg of the hike is a relatively easy stroll (especially after the previous day's exertions) to Nature's Valley where the trail comes to an end.
It does require a fair level of fitness. Don’t be fooled by the distances given - day 1, just under 5km, day two, a 7.9km hike, day three brings a 7.7km hike and day four at 13.8km. You also need to be aware of the dates and times of high and low tides as although it is not impossible, it is inadvisable to attempt river crossings during high-tide periods.
TThe Otter Trail is extremely popular, so you generally have to reserve a place at least a year in advance. Numbers are also strictly limited to control the impact of hikers on the sensitive environment. Also, remember that this is a one-way route from Tsitsikamma (Storms River) to Nature’s Valley so ensure you arrange transport back to your starting point.
After the trail, take some time to explore and maybe do the Tsitsikamma Waterfall zipline, Canopy treetop tour, Bloukrans Bungee and so forth before or after your hike. If you are a runner, the trail offers one of the most challenging marathon distance trail runs around, The Otter African Trail Run. This route is on the upper end of the scale in terms of technical difficulty and the numerous climbs also make it comparable with the bigger mountain runs of the world but it is so beautiful it will be worth every step.
This is a spectacular hike to do with family or friends in one of the most beautiful areas of South Africa - book today!