Kindly note that the Admin staff in Tsitsikamma are currently moving offices. They can be contacted on e-mail, and will respond when connected. No telephone lines available. For any urgent queries, the following people can be contacted on their cell phones, Area Manager Miss Bulelwa Msengi can be contacted on 0837568976 or Hospitality Manager Mr. Obed Maluwa 0833660133.
Millwood Museum & Mother Holly closed
Please note that the Millwood Museum and Mother Holly Tea Garden will be closed as from 1 December 2016 until further notice.
The Farleigh Mountain Bike Routes
The Farleigh Mountain Bike Routes will be temporarily closed for the next few weeks (weekends included). The routes are closed due to the current harvest of timber in areas traversing the routes and due to the hazardous nature of the work it will not be safe for mountain bikers. The alternative route that was used in the past is also affected, thus leaving us with no other alternative but the temporary closure. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.
Remember to bring along a bathing suit, angling equipment, hat, sun block, walking shoes, binoculars, bird and mammal reference books. Hikers must always carry sufficient water.
For summer (September – March), cool comfortable clothing is recommended along with sunhats and sun protection cream. For winter and autumn (April – August), warm clothing is recommended for the night times.
As outdoor lighting in camps is limited, a torch/headlamp is required when walking outside at night.
You can choose to stay in a number of different accommodation units in the different
camps, Storms River (Tsitsikamma Section), Nature's Valley (Tsitsikamma
Section), Knysna (Knysna Lakes Section) and Wilderness (Wilderness Section). To view
this accommodation, simply select
a camp and then view 'availability' on the left hand navigation
bar in order to see what the units the camp offers.
All accommodation, ablution and kitchen facilities are serviced by cleaning staff on a
Currently bedding is supplied in all accommodation (except camping).
Cooking utensils and refrigeration are provided in most accommodation units. Exceptions
will be indicated when booking.
Adult is 12 years or above.
Child (2-11 years), under 2 years - Gratis
Additional Person Supplements are applicable to those units where number of beds
exceeds the base occupancy, if these beds are occupied.
Description of Garden Route Accommodation
Garden Route National Park offers a variety of camp-run accommodation. Each camp has its own
unique selection of accommodation types.
Knysna Lakes Section Accommodation
Diepwalle Forest Camp
Set amidst the treetops of the Diepwalle Forest, this elevated camp affords the visitor an
opportunity to feel at one with the forest whilst providing that perfect balance of outdoor
living and basic amenities which the ardent camper will love.
These decks accommodate a three-man tent, come with braai and dining areas, and have
electric points. Tents and mattresses are available to rent from the Diepwalle
Forest Office. Communal ablutions have hot showers. Visitors have access to communal
fridge, washing machine and tumble dryer. Firewood is available for purchase at the
Comes with a fixed tent which houses two beds, each with basic mattress (no bedding)
and a bar fridge. Communal ablutions have hot showers. Visitors have access to a
machine and tumble dryer. Firewood is available for purchase at the Forest
These campsites are not suitable for Motorhomes, Roof-top Tents or Caravans. It is only
appropriate for tents to be pitched on the timber decks.
Old Forester's House (Diepwalle)
This historical building was once forester D.E. Hutchins’ house. He was responsible for
constructing stone houses at the Gouna, Diepwalle, Harkerville and Fisantehoek Forest
Stations between 1888 and 1920. Rustic finishes add to the age-old charm of the building. An
indoor fireplace warms during winter. Sleeps 6 and comes with fully equipped kitchen,
lounge, and TV with DSTV (limited channels). Visitors have access to a washing machine and
tumble dryer. Firewood provided.
Harkerville Forest Treetop Chalet
This 4-star chalet has two double rooms, each with its own bathroom and sleeps four in
comfort. This magical hideaway is tucked away at the head of a wide valley situated in the
Harkerville forest. From this vantage point you can bird-watch, botanise, explore the
walking trails close by or hop on your bike for an exhilarating cycle through the forest.
Fully appointed with indoor and outdoor fireplace, dishwasher, washing machine, tumble
dryer, DSTV, telephone and alarm system.
Overnight visitors have access to all day trails and cycle trails listed above for the
duration of their stay.
All with communal ablution, laundry and washing up facilities. A maximum of six persons, one
caravan with a side tent and one vehicle, or one tent and one vehicle, or one autovilla or
motorised caravan will be permitted per site. These are all available in the Knysna Area as
well as the Storms
River Mouth, Wilderness and
Valley rest camps.
The Tsitsikamma Section is situated some 615km from Cape Town, 195km from Port Elizabeth and 68km from Plettenberg Bay.
The access route from the N2 highway and all internal roads are tarred. Car hire is available at Plettenberg Bay, which is also the nearest airport (limited scheduled flights). Airports are also found in George and Port Elizabeth.
The Knysna Lakes Section lies on the scenic Garden Route, some 500km from Cape Town and approximately 300km from Port Elizabeth. Rental facilities and a national airport can also be found at George, some 70km from Knysna.
Distance on the N2 from Knysna into Uniondale Road (R339) to Diepwalle (camping sites and guest house) is 23km. Travel on the gravel provincial road.
All the major car hire companies have offices at the George Airport and there are specialised companies in Knysna that provide airport transfers. The upgraded road between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth is very good, making road travel along the scenic Garden Route a pleasure.
The Wilderness Section is situated close to the N2 highway, 15km from George, 2km from Wilderness village, 410km from Port Elizabeth and 450km from Cape Town. The closest airport is at George, where car hire facilities are available.
Guests visiting Wilderness Ebb & Flow camp, please note the road sign on the N2 to the Park reads "Wilderness National Park" (but is currently known as the Wilderness Section) and not Ebb & Flow. Guests can also use the western access through the town of Wilderness across the rail road bridge and turn right for the reception.
Nature has blessed the Garden Route National Park (Tsitsikamma, Knysna and
Wilderness Sections) with a pleasant, temperate climate; it is unique in Africa as the
only area in which rainfall occurs throughout the year.
And, to cap it all, most of our rain falls at night! It's the ideal climate for a visit -
at any time of the year!
The park is ideal for day visitors with various picnic sites at the rest camp and at the
Fuel Stations: Petrol/ Diesel
Vehicle fuel is available in all parks (or is available on the park periphery):
South African legislation stipulates that fuel stations will accept legitimate petrol/fuel/garage/credit/debit
cards or cash as a form of payment for any fuel purchase.
The Cattle Baron Seafood Grill and Bistro Concept operates in the Storms River Mouth Rest
Cattle Baron is home to The Original, famous, ever-popular flaming Chateaubriand fillet steak
served perfectly every time. Other signature dishes include the legendary 600g Fat Tuesday
Rump/Sirloin, the exclusive 600g T-Bone steak as well as the renowned Green Pepper Fillet
Madagascar and unique Carpet Bag Fillet steak.
Cattle Baron Seafood Grill and Bistro prides themselves in offering exceptional
quality and unsurpassed standards of service in relaxed surroundings. The restaurant
features a comprehensive Wine Lists
offering the very best local wine selections from each region.
So, whether you visit for lunch, dinner or a private function, the Cattle Baron is the
perfect venue to relax, unwind and enjoy dining perfection.
Camping in the Forest Timber Decks and bond with nature, some of the decks are wheelchair friendly.
More than 280 species of birds are listed in and around Knysna and many water birds abound Thesen Islands, Steenbok Park and further afield at Groenvlei and Swartvlei Lakes along the Rheendal Ramble. You can read more about Knysna Lakes Section birds and birding.
Mountain Bike Routes
The picturesque town of Knysna provides a wide variety of facilities and curio shops. Fishing, water skiing and pure relaxation are all part of Knysna, where conservation and recreation subtly harmonise. Private enterprises provide water sports such as sailing, angling, boardsailing and power boating in specifically zoned areas.
Knysna has a number of shopping centres, which provide for all a shopper's needs. There are supermarkets, boutiques, restaurants, coffee bars, pharmacies and a host of specialised shops. One centre is geared more towards the local arts and crafts and is housed in an up-graded historical building that was once a timber sawmill.
The diner has a wonderful choice of restaurants, dining in elegant surroundings by candlelight or looking out over the Knysna Lagoon. There are intimate bistros or the opportunity to eat "al fresco", a popular activity due to Knysna's gentle climate and warm evenings. A host of coffee bars and pubs offer good wholesome "pub-grub" or South African fare as well as the locally brewed beer Mitchells Brewery, a legend in its own lifetime.
Galleries/Arts & Crafts
As a result of a relaxed lifestyle, Knysna has over the years, attracted a wide variety of art and crafters, creating an artists' paradise. There are numerous galleries where one can enjoy the local arts and crafts and appreciate the talent and work that is produced here.
Access to the facilities is gratis by means of self-issue permits at various unmanned access points.
Certain access points are however manned at times, when entry fees will be levied.
1. The Garden of Eden
A superb example of Wet Highforest, an unusual forest-type with many examples of tall stinkwood (Ocotea bullata), kalander (Podocarpus jalca/us), wit-els (Pla/ylophus trifoliatus) and other tree species of the moister forest types. Short, circular walks traverse the area and an 800 metre trail for those in wheelchairs is route-marked. This site was first opened in 1926.
2. Kranshoek Viewpoint and Picnic Site
One of the most beautiful spots on the southern Cape coast. Kranshoek offers the visitor cliff-top views of the coast and a warm, sheltered picnic site. There is even a stream, with frogs, for the children to play in.
3. Kranshoek Coastal Day-Walk
A nine kilometre, circular walk which traverses coastal forest and some spectacular coastal scenery. The full walk is fairly tough and demands a descent and ascent of 200 metres. Good walking shoes are essential. A shorter loop of approxin1ately three kilometres can also be taken.
4. The Harkerville Coast Hiking Trail
This two-day, 24 kilometre hike, starts and ends at the Harkerville Forest Station. It passes through some prime examples of high-forest, crosses sections of coastal fynbos and takes the hiker along some breathtaking natural scenery along a cliff-coast. Bookings for the two huts, the Harkerville and the Sinclair, should be made with the Forestry Regional Office in Knysna, Tel: (044) 3825863.
5. The Harkerville Mountain-bike Routes
These routes offer some of the finest mountain-biking in South Africa. There are three route-marked tracks, colour coded Red (23 km), Green (15 km) and Blue (12 km). All three include sections of "off-road" riding along forest paths. The Red route includes some of the most dramatic scenery in the country.
A number of horse-trails 'have been marked through the indigenous forest.
7. The Harkerville Youth Group Centre
Basic budget accommodation is provided for youth groups. A kitchen area, an outdoor boma for braais, dormitory-type sleeping accommodation and ablution facilities with showers are available.
Reservations are through the SANParks Regional Office in Knysna.
8. The Harkerville Forest Chalet
A getaway in the tree-tops. The chalet is spacious, has two bedrooms with bathrooms en suite and is superbly appointed. It is the ideal place to enjoy the peace of the forest.
Reservations are through the SANParks Regional Office, Knysna.
Harkerville Forestry Station
Tel: (044) 532 7770
Fax: (044) 532 7770
Tel: (044) 302 5606
Fax: (044) 3025627
GRNP offers the visitor a wide range of outdoor activities. This leaflet highlights only those in Harkerville Forest.
For more detailed information on recreational facilities in other State Forests in the southern Cape you are welcome to visit our Regional Office, in Demar Centre, Main Street, Knysna.
This spectacular trail can be conquered asa series of day walks or over a full seven
day period, starting at Beervlei in the upper reaches of the Park and ending at
Harkerville in the East between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
This trail carves its way in the cool shade ofundulating indigenous forest with
rustic huts, a stop-over, for those endeavouring the seven day trek, or as an
alternative starting point for those day walkers relative to the level of challenge
you desire. The overnight cabins are regularly stocked with firewood. Water and
rudimentary bedding are supplied to complete that outdoor experience.
As darknessfalls, the once blue sky, through pockets of forest, fynbos and different
vegetation types during the day; now exposes a brilliant black sky pitted with
billions of stars, buffered with the sounds of surrounding nocturnal activity.
Perfect whether you are a stargazing astrologist, star-crossed lovers just seeking a
romantic getaway or simply bonding with friends.
For those who have love for the sea, this trail makes its way down to the coast where
beautiful rock formations may be explored, photographs taken or picnics enjoyed. Sea
caves are often visible along this portion of the trail and tell of the sheer
landscaping power of the Indian Ocean.
This trail offers an unforgettable experience sure to leave walkers reeling with
Permits can be obtained from the Knysna Regional office on Thesen's Island.
Greeted by lush dense overhangs of thicket this trail is a jewel for bird watchers
and aspiring botanists alike. A 2.5km walk, ends at a waterfall, a walk which
playfully snakes through the Duiwe River valley and crosses the Duiwe River five
times along its length. The trail lends itself to picnickers, at various points
sheer-faced cliffs can be viewed or in the shade of the forest trees whilst you
enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
The Knysna Turaco and sometimes the African Fish Eagle frequents the large trees of
this peaceful valley and if you're quiet enough, you may just get to marvel at this
regal predator from close-up.
Time duration: A three hour linear route totals 5km (2.5km each way) is sure to leave
you visually, breathless.
This trail is within walking distance of the EBB & FLOW Rest Camp. An immense wall of
green punctured only by a human sized opening welcomes walkers into this cathedral
of mature forest. The most popular trail in the Wilderness region it has many picnic
points and lays nestled not more than 15 meters from the riverbank and may be
accessed by canoe or foot, both promising a unique experience of this exquisite
The Half-collared crosses the Touw River by means of a pontoon to join the Giant
Kingfisher trail. Trees are appropriately numbered to facilitate tree spotters in
finding their favourite trees. Mostly shaded by ancient giant trees, walkers can
relax as they walk comfortably on the trail to its heart boasting a magnificent
waterfall where, again, picnics may be had.
Many birds especially the well-known Half-collared and Giant Kingfisher, Knysna
Turaco, Fish Eagle and Black-headed Oriole may be seen. Bushbuck is also known to
make graceful appearances stunning walkers with their beauty.
Time duration: A three to three and a half hour linear route totalling 7km to the end
and back guarantees a benevolent experience.
The Bosduif loop is a short challenging trail, it is an elevated artery branching
from the Half-collared Kingfisher trail. This trail climbs sharply along the
hillside into the forest where the vegetation changes slightly into ghostly drapes
of lichens and mosses. In total the Bosduif is unique for the short hour it takes to
complete and hikers will be breathless due to its astounding beauty and steep
Duration: One hour, challenging walk upward to the top of a forested valley with
stunning, sunlit views of the Wilderness Lakes looking eastward over Rondevlei in a
Be sure to take liquid refreshments along on this trail, there are several options on
this trail e.g. there is a 6km loop and a 3km loop which overlaps. A beautiful,
scenic trail traversing through a few different vegetation types. The sandy trail is
soft under foot in some places. Portions of the trail overlook Rondevlei and
Part of the Outeniqua Hiking trail this is a 15,5km section but can be walked as a
two day hike to Millwood Hut from Goudveld entrance Kiosk and 15km`s back the second
day. This can be done as part of the Outeniqua Trail.
This two day, 24 km hike, starts and ends at Harkerville Forest Station. It passes
through some prime examples of high-forest, crosses sections of coastal fynbos and
takes the hiker along some breathtaking natural scenery along a cliff coast with low
water pools and pebble beaches. Hiker sleeps over at two huts, called Harkerville
and Sinclair hut, with basic facilities, including ablution, single bunks with
mattresses, water, fire wood and an axe. Hikers are spoiled with sceneries over the
forest and Indian Ocean after a day of hiking. The hike accommodates a minimum of
The section provides for everyone, from old and youth, to the fit and physically
disabled. Stop at Garden of Eden and learn the marked indigenous trees by name as
you stroll the forest on a comfortable 800m boardwalk. Picnic, water and ablution
facilities are available. The facility is situated between Knysna and Plettenberg
Bay, on the N2.
Other short walks included the scenic Kranshoek day walk and picnic site, with
spectacular views over the Indian Ocean, and transects through Afromontane Forest,
Coastal Scrub Forest, low tide pools and Coastal Fynbos. This walk is 9km long and
takes you 4 to 5 hours of walking. The Perdekop day walk is also 9km long and
provides the hiker with a shady forest walk, ideally for educational and spiritual
Distance: 9.5km; 3 - 4 hours; circular route
GPS Coordinates: S34 02.848 E23 13.851
Description: The trail starts from the Harkerville forestry station and follows
an easy path along a circular route back to the station. Sections of the walk
are shared with the Hakerville Coastal Hiking Trail.
Green flag accredited hike by the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA).
Black: 9km; easy circular route; starts at the Diepwalle office
White: 8km from forest station or 6.5km from Diepwalle picnic site; easy
Red: 7km; moderate circular route; starts in Diepwalle close to the
GPS Coordinates: S33 56.909 E23 09.434
Description: All three trails add up to just over 18 kilometres, Black (9km),
white (8km) and red (7km).
Green flag accredited hike by the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA).
Distance: 6.5km; circular route; also known as Wandelpad
GPS Coordinates: S33 56.716 E23 03.244
Description: It starts and ends at the Grootdraai picnic site, ideal for a
picnic before or after the hike.
From the Grootdraai picnic site the trail heads in to the forest sharing the
path with the Outeniqua overnight trail so be sure to keep right at the fork
shortly after the start.
Distance: 9km; circular route
GPS Coordinates: S34 04.702 E23 13.672
Description: It starts at the Kranshoek picnic site at the top of a tall
waterfall, then winds it's way through the forest down into the gorge through
which the waterfall's stream flows. It follows this stream towards the coast and
then leads along the coast before going up the slopes to the plateau and back to
the picnic site via the Kranshoek viewpoint.
Distance: 1km; circular
GPS Coordinates: S34 04.696 E23 13.671
Description: The educational walk starts in the Kranshoek picnic site. Check
info boards for a flora guide of the trail.
Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden walk is approximately 500 m and starts and ends in the Garden of
Eden, accessible from the N2.
This is a five (5) day hiking trail which starts at the Storms River Mouth rest camp
and ends at the small resort village of Natures Valley in the de Vasselot section of
the park. The total distance for the trail is 42km and has six (6) escape routes
which have forest huts for resting. This trail hugs the Tsitsikamma coast closely to
the pounding surf and zigzags where the coastal plateau rises to elevation of 200
metres and cliffs drops steeply into the sea. The following are the escape routes
for the five day otter trail:
Escape route 1-is 2.8km from the rest camp into the natural forest leading to
the Ngubu huts inside the natural forest.
Escape route 2-the Kleinbos River escape route is 4.8km from the Ngubu huts to
Escape route 3- Bloubaai escape route is 4.6km and has overnight stops which are
the forest huts.
Escape route 4-Scotts hut/ Geelhoutbos Rivers is 3.6km and has overnight stops
which are the forest huts.
Escape route 5- Jan Swart escape route is 3km and has overnight stops which are
the forest huts.
Escape route 6-Bloukrans River towards the end of the trail and has overnight
stops which are the forest huts.
This unique guided, luxury hiking experience a 2 day spectacular trial on the
Tsitsikamma coast, have luggage portaged and spend each evening in comfort of three
different 4 & 5 * luxury accommodation. Point of departure is from Storms River
Mouth Rest Camp at the Restaurant to fernery at Forest Ferns. This is made possible
by a partnership between the Tsitsikamma National park, Forest Ferns and Misty
mountains. The result of this is a hiking experience that will both challenge and
pamper you. It covers a distance of 17km, starting at Storms river mouth and moving
east through natural fynbos and indigenous, ending on the banks of the Sanddrift
River at forest ferns. This includes all meals, guides, 4x4 drive through old Storms
River pass and transportation of luggage. Other activities include spotting whales,
dolphins and otters, bird watching, swimming and snorkelling.
The Witelspeak Captain Harrison Trail is a circular route going in the direction of
the Humansdorp turnoff. The duration is one day or 4hours, distance being 9km. This
route takes you through natural forests, streams and ferns, starts and end at the
Witelsbos state forest. There is also a picnic and braai area on the route.
The Cadeau Hiking Trails are situated in the Witelsbos region and it includes two
trails. The Elands river trail is a very challenging one day trail. It takes up to
5hours and the distance is 5,9km. The Bloubaai trail is 5.2km long and takes up to
6hours to walk. Both trails offer views of the shoreline since it is situated along
This trail traverses to the forest and has three escape routes which are colour
coded. There is the yellow coded which is 1.4km, green coded which is 1.3km and
there is the blue coded which is 3.1km. The green and the blue coded routes starts
from the Tsitsikamma Khoisan Village and the yellow starts and ends at the Rugbos
picnic site on the Bloukrans pass.
Consists of three walks, the yellow route is 8,09km, the red route is 7,78km, and the
green route is 5,09km. All three routes start at the Forestry office in Storms river
village. On the yellow route you can have a picnic and a swim in the storms river at
the old bridge picnic site. The walks are relatively easy.
Birding in Tsitsikamma offers a variety in choice of habitat.
There is the open shoreline as typified by the environment at Storms River Rest Camp. There is the more sheltered water ways of the Nature’s Valley Lagoon and the Groot River. There is the forest experience of the Tsitsikamma Forest. Then there is the mountain fynbos one can explore in the Tsitsikamma Mountains in the Soetkraal section.
At Storms River Rest Camp, cormorants ( Cape and White-breasted), Kelp Gulls and African Black Oystercatchers are prominent along the coastline. Scanning out to sea, one should pick up Cape Gannet plummeting into the water. Pied and Giant Kingfishers can both be seen hunting fish at tidal pools or in the rivers that drain into the Indian Ocean . More inconspicuous, but also inhabiting these rivers are Half-collared Kingfisher and African Finfoot. (Although the most reliable place to see these species is on the Groot River at Nature’s Valley.) The forest edges should produce Chorister Robin-chat, while the scarlet wings of Knysna Turaco (Lourie) may well be seen bursting from the cover of forest. White-necked Raven are frequently seen overhead while Karoo Prinia is prominent in the patches of coastal bush.
At Nature’s Valley is probably the best place in the park to bird. Chorister Robin-chat is usually on hand in and around the accommodation. Also common in the rest camp are Lemon (Cinnamon) and Red-eyed Dove, Olive Thrush, Terrestrial Brownbul (Bulbul) and Dusky Flycatchers. In the forested areas, also look out for Knysna Turaco, Emerald Cuckoo, Knysna and Olive Woodpecker, Narina Trogon, Sharp-billed Honeyguide, Grey Cuckooshrike, Knysna Warbler, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, White-starred Robin, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher and Cape Batis, although some of these species are elusive.
The Tsitsikamma Forest also hosts African Crowned Eagle and African Wood Owl, plus some of the accipiters such as African Goshawk and Black Sparrowhawk.
In the mountains one should look for Cape Canary , Cape Sugarbird , Orange-breasted Sunbird, Black Saw-wing and Ground Woodpecker. Also present, though difficult to locate are Protea Canary, Victorin’s Warbler, Striped Flufftail and Cape Siskin .
Birding in the Wilderness Section
The tidal nature of the Touw River adjacent the Ebb and Flow Rest Camp exposes mudbanks that host White-fronted Plover.
The series of lakes connected by the Touw River (Eilandvlei, Langvlei and Rondevlei) host a variety of aquatic species and is an internationally proclaimed Ramsar site.
Major concentrations of Great Crested and Black-necked Grebe are present on Rondevlei and Bo Langvlei.
Reed Cormorant,Grey and Purple Heron, Little Egret, African Spoonbill, Little Bittern and Red-knobbed Coot are prominent.
Wildfowl is prolific including Yellow-billed, Maccoa and White-backed Duck, Cape Shoveler , Southern Pochard and Cape , Red-billed and Hottentot Teal.
There is a hide at Rondevlei, from where careful scanning of the reeds could produce Purple Gallinule, African Rail, Black and Baillon’s Crake.
The Swartvlei Estuary immediately east of the Touw River lakes hosts many of the species listed above.
It is also a better venue for viewing waders. Caspian Tern and Kelp Gull are prominent.
The forested hillsides that surround the area are home to several raptors, including: Cuckoo Hawk, Crowned Eagle, Forest Buz za rd, Black and Rufous-chested (Red-breasted) Sparrowhawk and African Goshawk.
Look for Red-necked Spurfowl along quiet roads with overgrown verges.
The park has several walking trails, several of which are named after kingfisher species and not without reason, as Brown-hooded, Malachite, Giant, Pied and Half-collared can all easily be seen.
The tidal lagoon and open estuary of the Knysna River provides an excellent place to view waders in the summer months. Grey Plover, Marsh Sandpiper, Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper and Whimbrel are prominent. All year, but particularly in winter, the lagoon hosts some non-migratory larger species (egrets, spoonbills, gulls, cormorants, ibises). The threatened African Black Oystercatcher is present all year, but their numbers increase in winter to what is regarded as a globally significant population. Cape Shoveller , Kittlitz’s Plover, PiedAvocet and Black-winged Stilt are also present in good numbers. African Fish Eagle and Osprey should also be watched out for.
Although Tsitsikamma boasts a magical world of intertidal life and reefs in its marine part, there is also the famous terrestrial part of the park with its lush forest, delicate fynbos and sheer cliffs. One of the most conspicious trees is the Outeniqua yellow-wood, Podocarpus falcata.
The vegetation of the Wilderness Area can be divided into three major components: Terrestrial vegetation, which includes indigenous forests, plantations and coastal fynbos.
Three major zones of indigenous forest are:
Wet mountain forest – occurring in steep kloofs consisting of typical Afro-montain species plateau forest and - occurs on the coastal plateau and includes typical Afro-montain species dry forest – occurs predominantly in steeply insized plateau valleys and along the coast.
Large sections of indigenous forests remain particularly in the Karatara River, Duiwe River and Touw River. A small catchment of indigenous forest lies within the boundaries of the Wilderness National Park.
Large portions of the river catchments are under pine and eucalypt plantations, or are utilized as agricultural land.
Four types of fynbos found in the area include:
Short Asteraceae fynbos, occurring mainly on the seaward slopes of primary dunes and other slopes adjacent to the sea.
Tall fynbos – occurs primarily on more inland dunes and north facing slopes, consisting of fynbos shrubs and small patches of forest trees of the Kaffrarian ticket.
Passerina/annual herbs are restricted to land adjacent to the lakes and Serpentine channel. Passerina spp. Are dominant, with a large number of fynbos annual herbs recorded.
Restoid/grassy dunes are largely restricted to the Rondevlei area and consist mostly of true fynbos elements.
The latter is well represented in the Wilderness National Park, with the area between Rondevlei and Swartvlei Lake supporting this vegetation type.
Semi-aquatic flora of low- lying areas adjacent to the lakes and channels, which is normally inundated at high water levels.
The most widespread semi-aquatic species include reeds (phragmites australis), sedges (Scirpus littoralis, scirpus nodosus and Cyperaceae generally) and bulrushes (Typha latifolia) with the rush juncus kraussii occupying a transitional zone between the semi-aquatic and terrestrial environments, which is inundated only during very high water levels.
Other semi-aquatic species on floodplain area include the grasses paspalum vaginatum and pennisetum clandestinum with the intertidal saltmarsh areas in Swartvlei being colonized predominantly by Sarcocornia natalensis, Salicornia meyerana, Triglochin striata, Cotula coronopifolia and Stenotphrum secundatum.
Aquatic plants of channels and lakes
One of the most striking features of the waterbodies of the Wilderness National Park is the presence of extensive tracts of submerged aquatic plants. These plants occur in monospecific and mixed stands, of which the most abundant and widespread include members of the family Characeae (Chara globuaris, Lamprothamnium papulosum), the “pondweed” (Potamogeton pectinatus), seagrass (Ruppia cirrhosa), and epiphytic algae.
The staff of Garden Route National Park is committed to manage this park for the pride and joy of all South Africans.
Through our Environmental Interpretation and Education programme, we aim to instill a conservation ethic in the people of our beautiful country with its rich cultural and natural heritage.
The variety of activities on offer has been developed in liaison with various educators, conservationists and adventure operators in order to cater for various user groups. Trained staff and eco-guides from local communities are available to ensure that meaningful environmental learning takes place amid the fun and adventure of the outdoors. All organised groups that have pre-booked an educational excursion are granted free entry into Garden Route National Park and charged only for the specific activities and services rendered by staff and guides.
If we can be of assistance in any way to make a visit to Tsitsikamma possible for your group, feel free to contact us on:
As at July 2010 there are five units in Garden Route National Park that have adaptations for guests with mobility challenges, three in the Tsitsikamma section and two in the Wilderness section.
These units need to be booked directly with SANParks as they are held on reserve for guest who require them and cannot be booked through satellite offices or through the on-line mechanism. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +27 (0)12 428 9111 and request a unit accessible to the mobility challenged. Do not book another unit and expect that you can swap when you get to the park.
There are also three adapted accessible campsite ablutions (one in Tsitsikamma section and two in Wilderness section) – see access profiles for images and detail. There is also a selection of privately run accommodation, in the greater area encompassed by the park and some of these private operators have adapted their accommodation to be universally accessible.
The cabin is 30m from the communal ablution which has been adapted for the disabled. It comprises two single beds, ramp, bathroom with shower,a fridge and utensils. There is a communal kitchen facility.
The unit is accessible to the mobility challenged. The cottage features one bedroom with two single beds, on bedroom with a double bed and a bathroom with a shower. DSTV (limited channels) is available. It also includes a kitchen and fireplace.
Tsitsikamma Section - Storms River Mouth Rest Camp:
The unit is accessible to the mobility challenged. The open-plan chalet features a double bed and bathroom with a shower. The unit comprises of a fully-equipped kitchen, braai facility on deck and DSTV (limited channels) is also available.
The unit is accessible to the mobility challenged. The oceanette features two bedrooms, each with two single beds. Also included is a bathroom with shower, kitchen and DSTV (limited channels).
Accommodation images may differ from the actual units as refurbishment of various accommodation types occur on an on-going basis.
Accessible Activities & Facilities
There are trails in the park that are suitable for wheelchair users and others with mobility challenges:
At Nature’s Valley there is a short circular route adjacent the Groot River. This trail is a boardwalk made from recycled polywood, which means there is no impairing impact from tree roots, leaf litter, muddy or sodden ground etc. There is a kick-plate on the one side of the path and a banister on the other. The trail passes through virgin forest and is a great way for a wheelchair user to leave the signs of human development behind and with a bit of stealth get some great sightings of forest birds and mammals.
At the Garden of Eden (immediately adjacent the N2 between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna) there is marked 800m circular route accessible to wheelchair users.
At the Big Tree – an ancient Outeniqua Yellowwood (There are a couple of trees labelled the Big Tree in the area, but this one is also on the N2 between the turn off to Storm’s River Camp and where the highway crosses the Storm’s River over the Paul Sauer Bridge) which also has a boardwalk from the parking area to the tree and the track takes one through lush indigenous forest.
Some other forest tracks in the greater park may also be partially or fully accessible to a person in a wheelchair.
Although not a designated trail, wheelchair users looking for a suitable surface and gradient may wish to travel to the village of Nature’s Valley (especially outside of school holidays when many of the holiday houses are empty). The narrow tarred road network of the village is perfect for moving around and in many places the forest encroaches into the garden so much that it is almost like being in the forest itself. The village is adjacent a lagoon and people can also make their way along the water’s edge down to the beach.
Wheelchair users wanting to enjoy great views of the Indian Ocean can also make use of the tar road through Storm’s River Rest Camp.
There are a variety of privately run activities in the vicinity of the park that afford access opportunity. Two that offer good access opportunity are:
A visit to Monkeyland (in a 12 hectare plot in the Tsitsikamma Forest just off the N2) is highly recommended. Most of the reserve is accessible, while guides are more than willing to assist where paths are difficult. The sanctuary is a rehabilitation place for primates, including gibbon, spider monkey and howler monkey. Accessible ablutions are available. http://www.monkeyland.co.za/
Just adjacent this and under the same ownership is Birds of Eden, the largest free-flight aviary in the World. The pathway is accessible throughout the entire facility. It does descend down into a steep ravine, so assistance may be required by some. A plethora of bird species roam the aviary. Accessible ablutions are available. http://www.birdsofeden.co.za/