Places of Interest in Tsitsikamma
Storms River Village
Storms River Village stemmed from a shooting box built by Lt TH Duthie in 1841, then developed into a construction camp for the road builders and was declared a crown village in 1885. The village is the “hub” of the region, offering a police station, supermarket, newsagent, liquor store, curio shop, various restaurants and a choice of accommodation options.
Fynboshoek Cheese Farm
A not to be missed lunch spot! The Cheesemaker of the Tsitsikamma invites you to come and enjoy a lunch of the cheeses made on his farm. Relax on the terrace overlooking the dam, whilst you are served a variety of Fynboshoek cheeses with freshly baked breads and salads. Round off your meal with coffee or tea and something sweet. View other Tsitsikamma Restaurants.
The Paul Sauer Bridge
The Paul Sauer Bridge (also known as Bridge Storms River Bridge) is a concrete arch bridge spanning the impressive Storms River Gorge. It is a marvel of architecture and engineering and was designed by Italian Riccardo Morandi and completed in 1955.The arch, which spans 328 feet, was constructed in a unique fashion. The halves of the arch were built with climbing form works in essentially a vertical position on opposite sides of the river canyon and then rotated and lowered into position to meet at the centre and so form the completed arch structure. There is a pedestrian walkway next to the bridge which offers views down into the gorge from both sides of the bridge.
The Old Passes
It is amazing to think that in days gone by, ox wagons and motor cars traversed these mountain gorges.
The Tsitsikamma Plateau is split by its rivers and the deep ravines that they have carved into the landscape. In by gone years, master road builders designed roads and passes that linked the towns of Plettenberg Bay and Knysna with the city of Port Elizabeth.
The Bloukrans Bridge is the highest concrete arch bridge in Africa. When it opened in 1984, the Bloukrans held the record for being the world’s highest concrete arch bridge. Since then it has been surpassed by others.
It was constructed, using the free suspended cantilever system, between February 1980 and June 1983 and stands at a height of 216m above the Bloukrans River. Its central span is 272m and the bridge is 451m in length in total.
The Bloukrans River below forms the border between the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces
There is a well sign-posted turn off to a view site adjacent to the bridge. Here you will find an informative display on the construction of the bridge, public toilets, a daytime restaurant and a number of curio sellers.
Bloukrans Bridge is home to the world’s highest bridge bungy jump.
The Big Tree
The well sign-posted "Big Tree" is situated on the N2, just east of the entrance to Storms River Village. A 500m wooden board-walk through indigenous forest leads to the Yellow wood giant. Walking to the tree takes about 10 minutes. The tree is estimated to be ±800 years old; it stands 36.6 meters high and has a circumference of almost 9 meters. It is accessible by vehicle for those with lack of mobility, by special permission.
The Ratel Nature Walk follows on from the Big Tree. This trail offers either a 2.6km or 4.2km walk through wet and medium moist High forest, both options are relatively easy.
Natures Valley, surrounded by the National Park, is an oasis of peace and a good Bird Watching area, offering forest, lagoon and sea habitats. It has a beautiful sandy beach, great for walking on, and also various other walks such as the very popular walk to Salt River. Natures Valley also has a shop and restaurant.
De Vasselot / Natures Valley Rest Camp
Very aptly named, this is indeed the valley of nature. At the mouth of the Groot River, this section of the Tsitsikamma National Park is a bird lover´s paradise. Dense indigenous forest sweeps down to the edge of the lagoon, whilst endless sandy beaches tempt one to walk endlessly.
Oudebosch Farm Stall
Your one stop shop! This farm stall on the R102 to Eersterivier not only serves as an information center, curio shop and coffee shop, but also a petrol station and grocery store.
The Fernery at Forest Ferns
Experience this floral wonderland... The Fernery at Forest Ferns offers a magnificent display of indigenous ferns and running water, with a tea garden and restaurant as well as a nursery.
Tsitsikamma National Park
The Tsitsikamma Section of the Garden Route National Park was declared in 1964 and encompasses a marine reserve made up of over 80km of coastline.
The Storms River Mouth section of the Tsitsikamma National Park is very scenic and a must-visit. A number of short trails (2-6km) allow you to explore the coastal bush and rocky shoreline. Storms River Mouth offers the visitor magnificent scenery, a small beach, restaurant and shop. The famous Storms River Suspension Bridge spans the river mouth and this walk is the most popular.
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.
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.
What to do at Storms River Mouth
Spirit of Tsitsikamma boat cruises:
Enjoy a boat trip out to sea and along the coast, or up the Storms River Mouth till where the gorge narrows and almost blots out the sky ablove one. Very dependant on sea conditions.
There are a variety to choose from, but all are enjoyable.
This 6 km walk is the start of the Otter trail, and takes one along the rocky shoreline for 3 km to where a spectacular waterfall cascades into a large pool before draining into the sea. You return along the same path. Suitable footwear is vital as there are sections over rocks. Allow at least 3 hours. Great picnic site and swimming is possible n the large pool of the waterfall.
Agulhas Look out
A steep walk takes you up to a wonderful deck overlooking the coast, before meandering along through forest and back down via a pretty stream crossing.
A short walk through the coastal forest.
Suspension Bridge and Lookout
Cross the small beach and then follow a boardwalk as it meanders up and down through coastal forest, allowing views of the sea, coast and river mouth. The highlight is the …..m long suspension bridge crossing the Storms River Mouth, taking you to a pebble beach, before ascending steeply to a viewpoint over the coast – well worth the effort! One does not have to go to the viewpoint, but can return immediately via a circular route that takes one over 2 smaller bridges before rejoining the boardwalk.
The small beach is suitable for swimming and in the summer there is a raft moored about 50m out for the adventurous to swim too. This is also the area to snorkel and scuba dive.
Scuba Dive or Snorkel
The park is well known for these activities, and equipment and tours are available.