The Tsitsikamma National Park (TNP) is situated on southern Cape coast, and straddles the boundary between the Western- and Eastern Cape provinces. The centre of the park is approximately 80 km west of Humansdorp and 50 km east of Plettenberg Bay.
Tsitsikamma is a Khoi word meaning “place of abundant or sparkling water”. The area is covered in large tracts of indigenous forest and fynbos. Deep river gorges cleft the plateau as they make their way down to the sea, creating spectacular waterfalls and deep kloofs.
Indulge in Tsitsikamma’s unparalleled pleasures – visit the National Park with it’s abundance of birds & wildlife, watch whales & dolphins along the rugged untouched coastline or explore the Khoisan rock art and many walking and hiking trails. Take a treetop canopy tour – spread your wings and glide like a bird from tree to tree! Adrenalin junkies can enjoy white water tubing, or a 7 second free fall from the World’s Highest Commercial Bungee Jump! Take a walk on the wild side in the indigenous Tsitsikamma forest – home to the giant Outeniqua Yellowwood or simply relax & unwind in a completely serene wonderland of forest, mountain & sea.
The terrestrial section of the park is approximately 29 000ha in extent.
The sectors are as follows:
- The long (60 km) and narrow (0.9km) ‘eastern’ sector (c. 2 000 ha), stretching along the coast between Oubosstrand and Nature’s Valley.
- The broader (3-5 km) De Vasselot sector (c. 2 600 ha), extending westward from Nature’s Valley to Grootbank.
- The large (c. 24 400 ha) contractual Soetkraal area, which is situated in the Tsitsikamma Mountains Range some 15 km inland from the coast, and
- The small contractual areas near De Vasselot (viz. Erven 382, 444 and the Remainder of 434, Nature’s Valley, and portions of Farm 299 and Matjies River 295 )
The marine section of the park is about 35 100 ha in extent, and consists of:
- The large (34 300 ha) TNP Marine Protected Area (TNPMPA), which extends
between 0.5 and 3 nautical miles offshore along the length of eastern sector of
the park, and is a no-take or restricted zone.
- The smaller (c. 800 ha) the marine section, which is adjacent to the TNPMPA
and extended 0.5 nautical miles off the De Vasselot coast, where resource
utilization is permitted in accordance with the legislation of the Marine Living
Resources Act (Act No. 18 of 1998).
What to do
Amidst the tranquility there is still room for adventure. Tsitsikamma offers everything from hiking trails to quad-biking, 4×4 routes, canoeing, white water tubing, treetop canopy tours, bird watching and abseiling in the Kouga Mountains. A scenic helicopter flight from Storms River Bridge and a leap from the World’s Highest Commercial Bungy Jump is a definite must!
Through guided walks in the forest and fynbos, you will learn about fascinating forest dwellers and see elusive bird species, plants, trees, animals and insects.
Tel: +27 (0) 72 299 1760
THE OTTER TRAIL
The Otter Trail is South Africa’s most popular multi-day trail. Starting at Storms River mouth and traversing 45 km’s of coastline over 5 days, it ends in Nature’s Valley.
Otter Trial contact Tel: +27 (0) 42 281 1607 | Web: www.sanparks.org
THE DOLPHIN TRAIL
The Dolphin Trail stretches over 2 days and 3 nights, offering hikers the luxury of upmarket overnight accommodation and meals, while being challenged by the rugged coastline of the Tsitsikamma along which they walk.
Dolphin trial contact Tel: +27 (0) 42 280 3699 | Web: www.dolphintrail.co.za
TSITSIKAMMA TRAIL (MTO )
This 2 to 6 day hiking trail offers a magical journey through forest, fynbos and many rivers in the spectacular Tsitsikamma Mountains. A hiking paradise awaits the adventurous. 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 is supplied with bunk beds and mattresses accommodating a maximum of 24 hikers per night. Spacious balconies with undercover wooden table and chair combinations provide for a congenial patio setting.
Contact Tel: +27 (0) 44 874 4363 | Web: www.mtoecotourism.co.za
Face your fears with a 7 second free fall from the 216 m Bloukrans Bridge – the World’s Highest Commercial Bungy Jump! The more faint-hearted can go on a bridge walking tour, experience the thrill of walking on a catwalk 216 m above the ground, and see the engineering feat of the Bloukrans Bridge up close.
The bungy jump takes place from the top of the arch of Africa’s biggest bridge. To get out to the jump point we send you out on a zipline from the bank to the arch. From there, it’s time for your bungy jump – the worlds best bungy!
Two more unique experiences happen in order to get you back to land. First of all, we offer you a winch ride back up to the top of the arch after your jump. Then you get to walk the suspended walkway back off the bridge. The walkway is bolted to the underside of the road deck 216 meters above the Bloukrans River with spectacular views and a final exposure to the full height of the bridge.
Tel +27 (0) 42 281 1458 | Web: www.faceadrenalin.com
Tsitsikamma Information Centre
Tel: +27 (0) 42 280 3561
E-mail: email@example.com | Web: www.stormsriver.com
R62 Lamgkloof Information
Tel: +27 (0) 83 471 6702
TOWNS IN THE TSITSIKAMMA AREA
Established in 1907 on a piece of farmland, Joubertina is the main town of the old Langkloof farm. The first building in Joubertina was the Dutch Reformed Church in 1911, which still stands today. The area is also home to early Bushman paintings and the famous Kouga Mummy, the only mummy ever found in the southern hemisphere. Other than the historical significance, Joubertina has 30-odd mountain bike and hiking trails. The experienced mountain climber will enjoy Formosa Peak.
Kareedouw is named after a tree with the name Karee. Meaning Karee Dew. Kareedouw is the operational centre for the municipality, and Joubertina is the business centre for the agricultural industry.
The name is a Dutch word for fighting, and is an imitation of the noise that the water makes at this point where the two rivers meet and flow strongly. Almost all the houses are situated on the banks of the Krakeel River. The river originates on the northern slopes of Formosa Peak (1 675m), which is the highest point of the Tsitsikamma Mountains, and flows into the Kouga River at Krakeel.
LANGKLOOF ( R 6 2 )
Better known as the Fruit Route, the Langkloof fruit region is the second largest deciduous fruit-producing area in South Africa.Its fertility is visible as most of the valley is lined with fruit orchards, with beautiful mountains and perennial streams as a backdrop. This used to be the home ground of Bushmen and Gonagua Hottentots, and today the ‘Apple Express’ runs through the valley, linking all the fruit-growing villages and towns.
Located just outside the National Park, this area has become a hot spot in South Africa for many tourists. The wildlife in this area can be described as nothing less than lush, green and rich. Activities include bungee jumping at the Bloukrans River Bridge, canopy tours, various exciting hiking trails and the Storms River Mouth Walks. Tsitsikamma Information Centre, Tel: +27 (0) 42 280 3561 Web: www.stormsriver.com
History – Tsitsikamma National Park
After extensive negotiations between the National Parks Board and the then Secretary of the
Department of Forestry and his Minister, the Tsitsikamma Coastal and Forest National Parks were
proclaimed in 1964 (Knobel 1989, Robinson 1989). The size of the park has changed over the
years, with the following proclamations:
- The seaward boundary of the park between the Groot (east) – and the Bloukrans
rivers was extended to three nautical miles offshore (Government Gazette No
8871, Notice 125, 3 September 1983).
- De Vasselot Nature Reserve was added to the coastal park (Government
Gazette No 11068, Notice No 2814 & 2815, 18 December 1987)
- The small Tsitsikamma Forest National Park was deproclaimed in 1989
(Government Gazette 1989), and the name of the coastal park was shortened to
the Tsitsikamma National Park (Government Gazette No 17298, Notice 1077,
28 June 1996).
- In October 1991 a 30 year lease was signed with Rand Mines Properties Limited
to contractually manage the Soetkraal area, and in 1997 Soetkraal was
proclaimed a contractual park in terms of the National Parks Act, 1976
(Government Gazette No 17728, Notice 100. 17 January 1997, National Parks
Act, 1976 (Act No. 57 of 1976).
- The seaward boundary of the De Vasselot section was extended 0.5 nautical
miles (0.9 km) offshore (Government Gazette No 17073, Notice 538, 4 April
1996), and in December 2000 the marine section of the park (excluding the
above De Vasselot marine area) became the Tsitsikamma National Park Marine
Protected Area (Government Gazette No. 21948, Notice 1429, 29 December
2000, Marine Living Resources Act 1998 (Act No. 18 of 1998).
Climate – Tsitsikamma National Park
The climate along the coast is mild, and frost is rare. The mean monthly maximum air temperatures recorded over a 12 year period (1992 – 2003) at Storm River Mouth ranged from 19.0 – 24,8 C, and the minimum air temperatures from 9.9 – 17.8 C. The annual rainfall of 743 mm was fairly evenly distributed throughout the year (Hanekom 2005). The rainfall and ranges in maximum and minimum temperatures increases further inland on the coastal plateau and southern slope of the Tsitsikamma Mountains. A year round feature of the south coast is the prevailing westerly winds (Stone et al. 1998), while onshore easterly winds are prevalent during summer (Schumann et al.1982).
Mammals Tsitsikamma National Park
Thirty-nine terrestrial mammal species have been recorded for the coastal sector of the park, including two species of special concern: blue duiker Philantomba monticola and honey badger Mellivora capensis. The park is narrow and largely unfenced and mammal species move freely in and out of the reserve. This is particularly true of the primate- (chacma baboon and vervet monkey), carnivore (leopard, caracal and honey badger) and antelope (bushbuck) species. Furthermore, fynbos and forests in the Southern Cape occur on nutrient-poor soils (Van Daalen 1981; 1984), and therefore have a low carrying capacity for sustaining large herbivores (Cody et. al. 1983 in Rebelo 1992; Koen 1984). Consequently, the population density estimates of the two antelope species in these forests, blue duiker (c. 1 individual.5.5 ha-1) and bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus (c. 1 individual.20 ha-1), as well as the bushpig Potamochoerus porcus (c. 1 individual.25 ha-1) are very low (von Gadow 1978; Odendaal & Bigalke 1979; Seydack 1990; Bowland 1990; Hanekom & Wilson 1991).
Other noteworthy mammals are the Cape clawless otters Aonyx capensis and Egyptian fruit bats Rousettus aegyptiacus. Some 30 otters occur along the coast of the eastern sector (van der Zee 1982; Arden-Clarke 1983), while substantial numbers (c 3 000 individuals) of fruit bats have been noted in a cave along the Storms River gorge (Herzig-Straschel & Robinson 1978). The Vulnerable hump-back dolphin Sotalia plumbea appears to frequent the Tsitsikamma coast throughout the year, the bottle-nosed dolphins Tursiops truncatus mostly during spring and summer, and small numbers of the southern right whales Eubalaena australis during winter and spring, (Saayman et al. 1972; Best 2000).
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