Tsitsikamma National Park
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These are communal facilities capable of sleeping 2 people.
Capable of sleeping 2 people per cabin, these units are also self-catered.
Far larger than the other units, these open plan chalets are equipped with 2 single beds which can be bunk beds if you prefer, a bed in the lounge and a double sleeper couch.
These self-catered units are on the ocean edge and they are available with either 3 or 4 beds.
These self-catering units, with their own equipment, are free standing and have 3 beds.
Ideal for visiting families, the family cottages can sleep 4 people in 2 bedrooms.
Between the eclipsing green mountains of the Eastern Cape and the rolling blue Indian Ocean lies the magical Tsitsikamma National Park. With the rocky coastline, ancient breath-taking forests, sites of cultural significance and the famous Storms River Mouth, this park is one of the most visibly spectacular destinations that South Africa has to offer.
The earliest inhabitants of the area were the Khoi people who gave the region its name. The word Tsitsikamma roughly translates to âplace of much waterâ in the Khoisan language.
Tsitsikamma National Park is situated around 615kms, or 382 miles, from Cape Town. The main access route, which is the N2, is tarred as are all of the parks internal routes. The nearest airport is at George.
The park sits neatly in the midst of the famous Garden Route, South Africaâs very own natural botanical garden, in the Eastern Cape Province. The park is one of the best places to view some of the provinces indigenous plants and flowers, while it is also the perfect place to escape from the world and immerse yourself in the untouched nature of the forest, coastline and rivers which are simply brimming with life.
The Tsitsikamma includes around 80km of rock filled coastline which provides the most exquisite views of the ocean and the unique landscapes that have made the area so beloved by South Africans and tourists alike. Travel further inland and one is confronted with gorgeous mountainous scenes and hidden valleys, each home to Fynbos and other local plant life. River-carved deep gorges dot the coastline, and create otherworldly natural attractions.
A trip to the Tsitsikamma National Park is one not to be missed when you are visiting South Africa.
Like most of the nationâs national parks, the Tsitsikamma is a conservation effort which was created for the preservation of plant and marine life. As the park includes so much of the coastline, it has become home to one of the largest âno takeâ units in the area. As a Marine Protected spot, it conserves about 11% of South Africaâs Temperate South Coast shoreline. It has become a base for researchers and is home to a number of endangered fish species. The Tsitsikamma has become the continents first Marine National Park.
All of the great South African parks have a history, generally in the area of conservation. The history of the Tsitsikamma is closely connected to the Garden Route and all of its small towns.
The area which the park now covers has a very long history of both forest and marine utilisation, with the local communities relying on one or the other for their survival. The communities were not forgotten once the park was proclaimed. The past use of the parkâs resources brought various economic advantages to the communities and the park continues to contribute economically to the community, albeit, in a different way.
Tourism is the parkâs main source of income and this alone provides an abundance of economic opportunities for local businesses while the park also acts as an implementing agency for poverty relief. Through this part of the parks function, the Tsitsikamma creates both employment and training opportunities for the communities. The two current programmes include Working for Water, which focuses on clearing invasive plants, and Coasts Care, which is focused on coastal conservation.
The park offers plenty of things to do while guests can also look forward to staying in some of the regionâs best, most secluded, accommodation. If it is an adventurous but private escape you are after, you will certainly find it here.
There is no denying that getting outdoors and absorbing the clear, cool air of the Tsitsikamma will do wonders for the soul. There are a number of gorgeous hiking trails deep within the Tsitsikamma National Park, each more than capable of showcasing the awe inspiring forests, deep water filled gorges, and beyond that, the white waves of the Indian Ocean.
Along with hiking routes, guests to the park can also enjoy the cycling routes, go horseback riding, or go tubing down the river. Each option provides a fascinating look at the natural vibrancy that characterises the Tsitsikamma. You wonât need to book time on a hiking trail, but it is a good idea to bring along a mobile phone should you get stuck and need help.
Floating along in a hurry down the rushing dark waters of the Storm River is an exhilarating experience like no other. Taking guests through the gorge, past lush forests above which is a deep blue sky, the option of tubing is without a doubt one of the most unforgettable ways to see the best sights the park has to offer. A tubing tour can take around 5 hours to complete and guests will need to book it in advance.
One of the most unique ways to explore the forest is from above. And this can be done with a canopy tour. Guests are taken up into the trees, roughly 30 meters, and swing from one tree to the next. Along the way, guests learn about the flora and fauna living in the forest.
Another great way to explore the forest trails is on the comfort of a horse. The horses are really familiar with the trails and donât need much guidance to navigate the path. Guests who are uncertain about riding a horse can take comfort in knowing that the horses are tame and guests donât need experience to enjoy this activity.
Accommodation for the park is mostly found in the Stormâs River Mouth Rest Camp. This accommodation is serviced on a daily basis and guests are provided with soap, towels and bedding.
Forest Huts â These are communal facilities capable of sleeping 2 people.
Forest Cabins â Capable of sleeping 2 people per cabin, these units are also self-catered.
Chalets â Far larger than the other units, these open plan chalets are equipped with 2 single beds which can be bunk beds if you prefer, a bed in the lounge and a double sleeper couch.
Oceanettes â These self-catered units are on the ocean edge and they are available with either 3 or 4 beds.
Cottages â These self-catering units, with their own equipment, are free standing and have 3 beds.
Family cottages â Ideal for visiting families, the family cottages can sleep 4 people in 2 bedrooms.
Honeymoon Cottages â Perfect for the romantic getaway and honeymoons, these cottages come with a double bed.
The other accommodation option is camping. Guests have access to communal washing up facilities, laundry and communal ablution. Each camp site can accommodate around 6 people. The sites are ideal for one caravan with a side tent and vehicle or one tent and one vehicle. The sites are also the perfect size for a motorised caravan.
Vegetation is without a doubt the parks biggest attraction. The indigenous plants along with the beautiful landscapes make for unbelievable views as well as the best photo opportunities.
The park is divided into two sections with the wilderness section being home to the forests and the Tsitsikamma section, which is more ocean focused.
The Wilderness Section is split into 3 zones; wet mountain forest, indigenous forest and river catchments. Within these areas, there are also four types of fynbos that grow between the trees, rocks and other plants such as proteas and heath. Short Asteraceae Fynbos, Tall Fynbos, Passerina or annual herb and Restoid or grassy dune fynbos are the types of fynbos youâll see.
Aquatic flora is another thing that guests will see. The lakes and channels in the park are filled with aquatic plants of all kinds such as reeds, bulrushes and sedges. Generally, these plants can only be seen during times when the water levels are quite high. Aquatic and semiâaquatic plants can also be found on the floodplains.
Various animals call the Tsitsikamma home. Some of the animals you might come across include the Cape clawless otter, the African wild cat, the African weasel, Caracal, dolphin, baboon, whale, honey badger, leopard, shrew, and all kinds of rats and moles.
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