Tsitsikamma: ACTIVITIES

Knysna, Tsitsikamma, Wilderness

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Jakkalsbessie
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Tsitsikamma: ACTIVITIES

Unread post by Jakkalsbessie »

Storms River mouth's beauty goes much further than the magnificent scenery. The bay creates the perfect shore dive!
Rock reefs form a bay providing many dive opportunities within the Tsitsikamma National Park. The area is protected from all forms of exploitation resulting in abundant fish and invertebrate life.
A unique river dive in the Storms River Mouth provides for the ultimate shore dive experience with frequent shark sightings. Most of the fish species are endemic to the South Eastern Cape - that is they occur nowhere else in the world!
Easy access to the sea, bright reefs and fishes provide the perfect opportunity for underwater photographers.
This is a naturalist's dream - over 50 different fish species occur in this small bay alone... and Raggertooth and smooth-hound sharks are frequently seen. Other residents of the bay include: red roman, mussel cracker, black tail, zebra, juvenile, poenskop, steepies, sand sharks and eagle rays.
In addition to this a wide variety of colourful sponges, ascidians, sea urchins and anemones are found. For the more adventurous, dives with up to 30 smooth hound sharks can occur.
SCUBA FACILITIES
Scuba Courses - NAUI Accredited Dive Instructor
Full Equipment Rental
Tank Fills
Guided Dives
SNORKELING
Magnificent snorkeling opportunities exist within the bay.
All the equipment can be rented and trained guides are available.
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Jakkalsbessie
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Unread post by Jakkalsbessie »

The Tsitsikamma is a National Park known not only for its forests, but also for its marine reserve. Its rocky shore is home to a vast array of plants and animals which can provide many hours of fascination, whether exploring the inter-tidal zone or tidal pools.
The more adventurous, can do snorkelling and scuba diving excursions from the Dive Hut at Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, and experience the weightless, silent world beneath the turquoise waters of the sea.
Only divers who possess a valid SAUU (South African Underwater Union) Certificate or recognised equivalent will be permitted to dive the Scuba Trail.
Complete kits are available for hire, and are checked by the dive master, who then ensures that each diver tests the apparatus as well.
He leads the way on the scuba trail, into clear waters, over sandy gullies and rocky reefs, which run parallel to the shore. Along the way, divers stop off at suitable spots to marvel at the soft corals, bright purple, orange, red and yellow sponges, and nudi (branch- like coral).
Reef fish are especially plentiful as they are protected in the reserve, and one is able to admire their electric colouring as they dart to and fro, or ferret about in search of a tasty morsel. One fish to note is the Cape Doric, endemic to the Eastern Cape.
The divers make their leisurely way to the deepest section of the trail, which is about twelve to thirteen metres deep, then turn back about a quarter of the way to the wall. They cross a sandy area with soft corals, where sole, sand sharks, brown eagle rays, and smooth hound sharks are likely to be lurking.

Old anchors and other bits and pieces from old wrecks add interest. The remains of the old buoy that was once used for the famous little coaster Clara to lash onto, can still be seen. She used to tie up at Storms River, when it was used as a port, and collect logs and railway sleepers for transporting to Port Elizabeth.
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Jakkalsbessie
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Unread post by Jakkalsbessie »

For the divers a bit more info:

Reef: The Scuba Trail

This site isn't really a diving destination and should be seen as a bonus to visiting the park.

The rocks on the trail are covered with invertebrate life, sponges and star fish. Dogfish and galjoen is often spotted.

Depth:
Avg: 6 m Max: 10 m
Conditions:
Normally rough and visibility is rarely better than 10m.
Temperature: 16°C
Likely Aquatic Encounters:
Gas Flame Nudibranch
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pbsouthwood
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Unread post by pbsouthwood »

Jakkalsbessie wrote:Only divers who possess a valid SAUU (South African Underwater Union) Certificate or recognised equivalent will be permitted to dive the Scuba Trail.

Along the way, divers stop off at suitable spots to marvel at the soft corals, bright purple, orange, red and yellow sponges, and nudi (branch- like coral).

They cross a sandy area with soft corals, where sole, sand sharks, brown eagle rays, and smooth hound sharks are likely to be lurking.


Hi Jakkalsbessie,
1. SAUU no longer issues certificates, this is now done by CMAS-ISA. Most certificates issued recently in SA are by PADI, which has become the de facto standard, whatever one may think of their standards.
2. In the second quoted paragraph are you referring to nudibranchs?
3. What kind of soft coral lives on a sand substrate?
Cheers,
Peter
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Tsitsikamma Diving

Unread post by Seahorse »

The diving at Tsitsikamma can be very rewarding. There's always fish to be seen, but try and look carefully at the rocks and seaweed on the bottom. Many stunning invertebrates hide from the casual observer through camouflage.
Also take a peep under the rock ledges. One often finds a cuttlefish or two waiting in the shadows.
go through the Coraline algae on the rocks. Tsitsi has some divine Wrasses living amongst the weed. They look just like the seaweed.
A night dive, under ideal conditions can also deliver a once in a lifetime experience.
Be careful though, the sea can get rather moody in that bay and one has to keep on your toes. Particularly exiting after the dive. Slipways are not called that name for nothing.
There are also some very colourful soft corals and anemones on the rock walls.They are really showy when the water is a little green. They feed on the suspended soup.
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Tsitsikamma boardwalk

Unread post by harrywessels »

Please settle a dispute for me.

What material was used in the construction of the boradwalk at Stormsriver Mouth leading to the suspension bridge?

Thanks
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Re: Tsitsikamma boardwalk

Unread post by HoepHoep »

According to the press release by SANPARKS a product called "polywood" was used. This is basically a special plastic product that is produced from waste products. If you Google "polywood" you get this very informative website:
http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2002/s ... lywood.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.
The specific applications of the boardwalk looks like wood and obviously have the advantage that it wont rot and the algae don't grow on it which help it not to be slippery. For the wet under forest conditions this seems ideal.
If you go to the following website you can actually see photo's of the boardwalk, except that they misspell "Tsitsikamma"!
http://www.timberplastics.co.za/products.aspx
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ribuck
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Re: Tsitsikamma boardwalk

Unread post by ribuck »

Maybe the new boards don't grow algae, but they are particularly slippery under wet conditions. I assumed this was due to a paint applied to the boards, but maybe it's just due to the plasticness of the boards.

In a few areas, regular wood has been used which has not (yet?) been treated, and it was much less slippery on the drizzly day when I walked it last month.

Regards,
Roger
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Tsitsikamma: Where's good picnic spot & 2 hours easy hike?

Unread post by DevonBloke »

Hello,

I'm a first timer to SAN Parks. I have already used the Frontiers Park "room" of this site and found the people there gave me really helpful and useful advice - so I'm hoping that you guys here in the Garden Route section will be just as good! :)

My partner and I will be driving from Addo Elephant Park to Knysna (Phantom Forest Eco Reserve) . I wanted to stop off at either Storms River Mouth or Nature's Valley for a lunch-time picnic and a light/easy hike for a couple of hours...needless to say with great views!

I couldn't make out from the Tsitsikamma National Park official site, exactly where one can access and park as a day visitor (as opposed to someone staying at one of the rest camps). :?

Anyone got any suggestions, ideas and advice please?

Cheers

Andy
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ribuck
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Re: Tsitsikamma: Where's good picnic spot & 2 hours easy hike?

Unread post by ribuck »

Hi DevonBloke,

I'd recommend Storms River Mouth. Day visitors use the same entrance as overnighters, and park near the restaurant (at the eastern end of the camp).

If you want great views, I suggest to walk to the suspension bridge, go across the river, then follow the trail that climbs up the other side. At the top and along a bit is a lookout platform with ocean views which would make a great picnic spot if the wind isn't too strong.

If it's a strong wind, start the return journey and have your picnic when the trail goes round the corner, bringing into view the three suspension bridges.

Regards,
Roger
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Re: Tsitsikamma: Where's good picnic spot & 2 hours easy hike?

Unread post by ndloti »

At Storms river mouth there is another option - walk in the opposite direction to the suspension bridge , thus towards the Otter trail , there is a waterfall about an hours good walk from the starting point alongside the oceanettes on the western extremity of the built up area .
Only Otter trail participants may proceed further than the waterfall ..
Last edited by ndloti on Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tsitsikamma: Where's good picnic spot & 2 hours easy hike?

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld »

I'm not certain whether its inside the SANpark, but there's a nice hike called Salt River Cove near Nature's Valley.

As ndloti suggested, the start of the Otter Trail is a great option, but it may take you a bit longer than 2 hours (it took me longer last time if I remember correctly)
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ribuck
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Re: Tsitsikamma: Where's good picnic spot & 2 hours easy hike?

Unread post by ribuck »

The walk from the Oceanettes to the waterfall is signposed as "three and a half hours return". It took us more than that, but we explored caves and stuff along the way.

I think a fit person moving at a brisk pace could do it in two hours easily enough, but with not much time for a picnic at the waterfall.

Regards,
Roger
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Re: Tsitsikamma: Where's good picnic spot & 2 hours easy hike?

Unread post by DevonBloke »

Thanks for your advice and suggestion. We'll take it! We're also thinking of doing "Monkey Land"/ "Birds of Eden" the following day. Any thoughts?

Cheers

Andy
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ribuck
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Re: Tsitsikamma: Where's good picnic spot & 2 hours easy hike?

Unread post by ribuck »

We enjoyed those places (and Monkeyland is promoted by SANParks on their Tsitsikamma pages). If you're doing both, it's cheaper if you get a combined ticket. Don't forget to print off the 10% discount voucher from the Monkeyland home page before you go.

Regards,
Roger
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