The Tsitsikamma Trail - 5 Days


Activity Description

A spectacular 5 day, 60km hike through the heart of Tsitsikamma Mountains & Tsitsikamma Forest, from Natures Valley to Storms River Village.

Tsitsikamma means place of water and the abundance of streams and rivers that flow from the heights of the mountains, carving massive valleys and feeding the ancient forest will be evident on this trail through the magical heartland of the Garden Route.

The Tsitsikamma Trail is beautiful and varied and has a remote feel to it as there is seldom anyone else in the vicinity, the huts have been exceptionally well located, along scenic rivers with deep pools to relax in, on top of cliffs overlooking dramatic gorges, at the fringe of the forest or overlooking the mountains.

The trail runs from the Groot River Lagoon at Natures Valley to Storms River, parallel but in the opposite direction to the Otter Trail. It’s a magical trail and rates as one of South Africa’s best. We offer this trail as a guided backpacking hike or as a slackpacking trail (your gear is transported between huts and you only carry a day bag). The five days of the trail are well worth it, but if your time is limited, you can do shorter sections of between 2 and 5 days.

The trail begins at the SANParks rest camp called De Vasselot in Natures Valley. We start the Tsitsikamma Trail by walking along the Groot River bank. This is a short forested walk and you’ll soon arrive at Kalandar hut. In the afternoon your guide will take you to the view point on the Otter Trail or perhaps the Salt River estuary depending on conditions and tides. You’ll be able to spend time swimming in the lagoon or in the ocean at Natures Valley beach both very close to the hut. There are beautiful views of the lagoon, the forested hills and dramatic coastline. In the evening you can head back to *the hut for your first night. Dinner is prepared by your guide.
Natures Valley Beach to Kalandar Hut
Distance approximately 3.6km 1 and a half hours
*If you select the slack packing option, the first night is normally spent at the De Vasselot rest camp, not Kalander Hut

After breakfast you’ll wind up the escarpment out of the Groot River and up onto the plateau below the Tsitsikamma Mountains. The forests of Yellowwood, Common Saffron, Wild Peach, Ironwood and Candlewood trees provide a shady tranquil hike before reaching the fynbos on the escarpment. The shy forest creatures that may make an appearance include Bushpig, Blue Duiker, Genets, Honey Badgers and Baboons. The Blaauwkranz hut has spectacular views, you’ll see Peak Formosa 1675m, the highest peak in the Tsitsikamma and aptly named (Formosa is beautiful in Portuguese) and the hut is set atop a cliff where a magnificent waterfall and tremendous natural pools just beg for exploration.
Kalandar Hut to Blaauwkranz Hut
Distance approximately 15km about 7 hours

The Tsitsikamma trail heads through forest and closer to the remote Tsitsikamma Mountains. There is an exciting river crossing of the Bloukrantz River at Waterwitelsgat and you are most likely to get wet. After climbing out of the Bloukranz River gorge you’ll reach fynbos plateau and the rest of the day’s hike is relatively level. You’ll reach the Keurbos forest, an area dense in white and red alders and close to the hut are natural rock features in the river that resemble Jacuzzi’s. The hut is situated in the Keurbos forest.
Blaauwkranz Hut to Keurbos Hut
Distance approximately 13,4km about 6 hours

Prepare for a varied day of fantastic hiking. The trail descends to the Lottering River 293m and once across a challenging ascent up to Rushes Pass 645m. The views are worth the effort, not everybody has the opportunity to be so far into the beautiful Tsitsikamma Mountains. Over the saddle you’ll access a remote area with untouched sections of indigenous forest. The trail follows the Elandsbos River before crossing it and you’ll enter the Heuningbos Forest before reaching the Hut. The Kleinbos River is very close to the hut and provides a beautiful swimming spot.
Keurbos Hut to Heuningbos Hut
Distance approximately 13,4km about 6 hours

There are two delightful climbs in the Tsitsikamma Mountains on this day of the trail. The first is to the top of Splendid Pass, not only are the views ‘splendid’ but the Mimetes Splendidus a beautiful and rare Fynbos specimen is visible in endemic to this area. After your first climb, there is a delightful patch of forest at Mostertbos and then the second 300m+ ascent for the day to the top of Nademaalsnek starts. Views over the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Storms River Valley from both high points are memorable. Descend to Storms River Bridge where GoVertical will transfer you to your last night’s accommodation, either at the dramatic Storms River Mouth rest camp or if accommodation is not available, then at the beautiful forested Storms River Village. Dinner and Breakfast at accommodation is for your own account.
Heuningbos Hut to Storms River Bridge, accommodation at Storms River Mouth or Storms River Village

Distance approximately 16km about 7.5 hours

After breakfast, a transfer back to your vehicle at Natures Valley.


ProviderGoVertical Mountaineering & Trekking
DurationOpen Ended
WhenAll year round
WhereStarts at Devasselot/ Natures Valley Rest Camp and ends at Storms River Mouth.
WeatherAll weather
What to WearPlease see kit list
Things to BringRECOMMENDED KIT LIST • Back Pack approximately 70+ liters ** Available for hire see below • Sleeping bag + 5 degrees C recommended ** Available for hire see below • Warm weatherproof jacket with hood • Hiking boots & socks • Water bottle 2 liters • Changes of clothing- layering is best with a good fleece for warmth • Towel • Sun block • Sunglasses • Sun hat/ Cap • Insect repellant • Toiletries (eco friendly) • Toilet paper • Torch + batteries, preferably headlamp • Personal first aid • Personal energy sweets and drinks OPTIONAL • Swimming costume • Kikoi • Sandals • Camera • Binoculars • Hiking poles • Light weight waterproof rain pants AVAILABLE FOR RENTAL • Sleeping bag R 100.00 per day • Backpack R 80.00 per day • Hiking poles R 50.00 per day
Guests or SpectatorsOnly paying guests allowed


Minimum Age12 years
Minimum Height0.0 m
Maximum Height0.0 m
Fitness LevelFit
QualificationsNot Applicable
Maximum Weight0.0 kg
CertificationNone Required
Experience LevelNo Experience Requirement

Inclusions and Exclusions


• GoVertical Mountaineering guide
• Dinner on day 1, to Lunch on day 5
• 5 days hiking on Tsitsikamma Trail
• 4 nights Trail hut accommodation. The trail huts have bunk beds with mattresses, flush toilets and hot water showers. Clean fresh drinking water is available.
• 1 night in SANParks rest camp accommodation at Storms River mouth or in the Forested Storms River Village, depending on availability – dinner and breakfast for own account
• National Park fees
• Transfer from Storms River car park to Trail Head in Natures Valley for start of trail if required


• Medical/ rescue insurance
• Alcoholic beverages


The age limit on this trek is a minimum of 12 years old, maximum 65 years old. If you or members of your party are younger or older, it is possible to have this waived, but on a case by case basis, additional documents may be required.

• Accommodation at local lodge before or after the Trail, ask us for recommendations.
• Transport to/ from Airport or local lodges to Trail head or return
• Gear hire

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