The Tsitsikamma Adventure Route is located in the southern part of the Eastern Cape Province. Tsitsikamma ‘place of abundance and sparkling water’ that stretches from the Tsitsikamma Mountains in the north, the Indian Ocean in the south, Bloukrans River in the west to the Tsitsikamma River in the east. The expedition takes voyagers through natural forests, along beautiful coastline and to top notch adventure activities.
The Tsitsikamma Mountains stretch across 80km from the Keurbooms River in the west to Kareedouw Pass in the east. The Tsitsikamma National Park, Africa’s oldest National Marine Park, lies to the south of this range. The park is a nature-lovers paradise with numerous birds and spectacular wildlife species, while the marine section provides opportunities to view whales and dolphins. Khoisan rock art and many other cultural sites add a touch of history and culture to the Tsitsikamma Adventure Route experience, while walking and hiking trails allow for an close experience of the plentiful natural character of the area.
Garden Route National Park encompasses the world renowned Tsitsikamma, a variety of mountain catchments, indigenous forests and fynbos areas, all valued for their diverse natural and cultural heritage. Managed by South African National Parks, it hosts a variety of accommodation options, unique fauna and flora, places of interest and unforgettable views. This is the place to relax, unwind and reconnect.
The pleasant climate all year around allows visitors to enjoy the plentiful outdoor attractions: bungy jumping, diving, snorkelling, mountain biking or hiking.
The indigenous forest is made of ancient yellowwood trees, magnificent fynbos plants, native flora and rich birdlife. The high rainfall in the area causes an abundance of vegetation that gives the area its name.
Adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers will not be disappointed by the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour, Segway Tour, Blackwater tubing or mountain biking tours.
Lovers of the peace and quiet can just sit back and enjoy the view overlooking the Storms River mouth or take a scenic drive trhough the nearby Langkloof Valley.
And don’t forget Regyne, the world’s largest commercial protea farm, situated just outside of Eersterivier – a truly breath-taking experience!
Natural & Cultural History
The Tsitsikamma Section of the Garden Route National Park is situated at the heart of the picturesque tourist region known as the Garden Route, found in the Southern Cape of South Africa. Tsitsikamma is a Khoisan (early inhabitants of the area) word meaning, “place of much water.”
The Park incorporates 80 km of rocky coastline with spectacular sea and landscapes, a remote mountainous region with secluded valleys covered in mountain Fynbos and temperate high forests with deep river gorges leading down to the sea.
Visit the Tsitsikamma Adventure Route in the Eastern Cape. The Tsitsikamma’s spectacular scenery includes the Indian Ocean breakers, pounding rocky shores beneath 180 m high cliffs, evergreen forests and fynbos (proteas and heath) rolling down to the sea in a lush carpet where ancient rivers have carved their path to the ocean through rocky ravines. All this conspires to attract large numbers of international and local tourist to the Park. Tsitsikamma National Park is the third most frequently visited out of the twenty national parks in South Africa. This makes it one of the few National Parks where tourism revenue is adequately able to match the exhaustive expenses associated with conservation. Such an income source is imperative to help meet the immense financial challenges facing conservation in a developing country like South Africa, where national parks need to be able to have a tangible value both spiritually and economically to the communities around the parks.
The Park conserves a considerable portion of the natural biota (all living organisms) of the Garden Route. The primary vegetation biomes consist of Mountain Fynbos, Coastal Fynbos, Afro-montane Forest and the Marine herb-land-, inter-tidal-, and sub-tidal zones. The mean annual rainfall is 1200 mm.
Tsitsikamma National Park protects a wonderland of inter-tidal and marine life. This is one of the largest single unit ‘no take’ (including fishing) Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the world, conserving 11 percent of South Africa’s Temperate South Coast rocky shoreline and provides a ‘laboratory’ for fisheries baseline research on endangered line fish species. In 1964 when it was proclaimed, it became the first Marine National Park to be proclaimed in Africa.
Approximately 30% of the park is covered in fynbos (Cape Floral Kingdom), scattered amongst the forest vegetation, boasting a wide variety of beautiful flowers, including proteas and heath. Many species of forest, fynbos and sea birds are present.
The Tsitsikamma Section has a long history of Marine and Forest utilisation and most of the local communities relied mostly, in one form or another, on these two ecosystems for their survival. The previous resource utilisation was of obvious economic value gained from the region and now incorporated into the Park. Today, the National Park contributes in a different way to the economic development of the region. Tsitsikamma National Park attracts tourists to the region, provides economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs, (local trail guides, adventure operators, transport services, infrastructure development & maintenance services, etc.) and as implementing agency for poverty relief program’s, creates employment and training opportunities for some of the regions poverty stricken communities. Currently, two of the nationally running, poverty relief programs, namely Working for Water (Invasive Plant Clearing) and Coasts Care (Coastal Conservation) are operated within the Park.
The Tsitsikamma National Park incorporates various cultural heritage sites ranging from Khoisan cultural heritage sites such as caves, shell middens and rock art to more recent cultural historic sites such as the ruins of small fisher settlements, remnants of the past forestry industries and grave sites. The park is currently embarking on a Cultural Mapping project with the aim of identifying and protecting all Cultural Heritage sites incorporated within the Park. An Oral History Collection project is being implemented currently to recover and interpret information relating to cultural heritage. The more recent history of the forestry and fishing industries that is still in the memories of older folk from the region, is the one thing that strongly connects local communities with the park and can enhance park-community relations. These processes will be developed and implemented in conjunction with local community members and the organisations representing community interests, as well as relevant academic institutions and researchers.
Tsitsikamma Adventure Route
Highlights to discover
Discover the Storm Rriver Village and the Tsitsikamma Forest on a Segway. The guided tour takes you around the cool pine forest, indigenous forest over the historical Witteklip Bridge into the local township and to the grand 1000 year old Tsitsikamma BIG tree.
An experience not to be missed!
For more information visit http://www.segwayfun.co.za/tsitsikamma-segway-tours.
Tsitsikamm Canopy Tour
Discovering the Tsitsikamma rain forest on a canopy tour is a one of a kind experience. At 30 metres above the ground, explorers slide from platform to platform along a steel cable.
Visit http://stormsriver.com/canopy_tour_tree_top_tour_stormsriver_tsitsikamma_garden_route.html for a sneak peek.
Did you know? At 217 metres, the Bloukrans Bridge is the world’s highest bungy jumping bridge.
Overlooking the Bloukrans River valley, the spectacular view captures the magnificence and tranquillity of the vicinity. But the jump off the bridge gets your adrenaline pumping and makes it an experience you’ll never forget.
Book the jump of your life here http://www.faceadrenalin.com/.
Tsitsikamma National Park
Top five sights include:
- Dolphins and porpoises
- African Black Oystercatcher
- Knysna Lourie
- Cape Clawless Otter
- Blue Duiker
For more information visit http://www.nature-reserve.co.za/tsitsikamma-coastal-national-park.html.
Did you know? The protea plant is an indigenous South African flower that is represented on South Africa’s coat of arms.
Visit the Regyne Protea Farm for tea and learn everything there is to know about this beautiful flower.