Kranshoek picnic site - overlooking cliffs and sea (15 km / 20 minutes from Plett Central) To reach the trail take the Harkerville turnoff the N2 close to Plettenberg Bay and follow the signboards to Kranshoek. The trail starts from the picnic area and after meandering for a while along the cliff tops through some indigenous forest it eventually descends steeply down a gorge.
This part of the trail has a profusion of steps constructed to prevent erosion and aid the hiker.
Garden of Eden - picnic site, circular walk and Big Tree (10 km / 10 minutes from Plett Central);
Prince Alfred Pass - sweeping mountain views along a historical, gravelled pass between Plett and Uniondale in the semi-arid Klein Karoo (Plett to Uniondale 40 km / 1 to 2 hours depending on road conditions);
Bloukrans Pass - beautiful tarred pass though indigenous forests (Plett to Nature's Valley 25 km / 30 minutes);
Plettenberg Bay Arts & Crafts Route / Historical Route
Majesty of Keurbooms River - Experience the majesty as the Ferries glide over shimmering waters, through souring gorges of the pristine Keurbooms River Nature Reserve. Celebrate an eco-experience and savour the sights and sounds unique to this splendid area. - Surrounded by cliffs of Table Mountain Quartzite to which indigenous flora cling precariously. Stop and hear the sounds of lyrical birdcalls and view mammal species from this majestic river.
Arch rock - Keurbooms - Arch Rock, Cathedral Rock and the recently discovered Strandloper Cave. Many visitors to the area drive for miles to see this natural wonder but few know its tale. Many confuse Arch Rock with Cathedral Rock and you can't blame them, but the truth be known that the larger of the two arched rocks is actually Cathedral Rock. You would have to pass underneath Arch Rock, cross the Matjies River to get to Cathedral Rock - a fact has been somewhat blurred over the years.
Natures Valley - Nature's Valley is a small village situated at the mouth of the Groot River at the bottom of the Groot River pass alongside the Groot River estuary and forms part of the Tsitsikamma De Vasselot nature reserves.
The famous Otter trail ends in and most hikers seek accommodation in Natures Valley after doing the Otter trail to rest up before moving on.
Nature's Valley is 29 km from Plettenberg Bay on the Port Elizabeth side next to a beautiful lagoon on the Indian Ocean, enfolded with mountainous forest with rich fauna flora and a bird watchers paradise. The Knysna loerie is plentiful in the forest and trains of bottle nosed dolphins can be seen in the waves with whales visiting frequently, especially the southern right whale is common here in early summer.
Arguably the most beautiful part of the Garden Route in South Africa, Nature's Valley is unique in that it lies nestled in the Tsitsikamma National Park coastal forest, - the only residential area within a South African National Park. Southern Cape Bushbuck, Bushpigs, and wild birds can frequently be seen in the gardens of Nature's Valley village.
There are plentiful scenic walks and you can be revitalised by soul inspiring walkabouts in this true garden on the Garden route. Rest assured you can enjoy a safe exploration of nature.
Natures Valley is flanked by an escarpment on the one and the Indian Ocean on the other side and forms part of the Tsitsikamma National Park. The Kouga, Kammanassie and "Groot Swart" mountain ranges stand guard over the valley
The Groot river flows into the Indian ocean and the estuary forms a lagoon where swimming sailing and canoeing is very popular with holiday makers.
The ecology is closely monitored and managed
Tsitsikamma National Park and Storms River Mouth - This land lies between the sea and the Tsitsikamma Mountains and stretches from the Bloukrans River in the West to Clarkson in the East. Beautiful indigenous forest, protected by the State, is home to century old trees such as Yellowwood, Stinkwood, Hard Pear, Ironwood, Kamassi and many others.
A mild all year round climate allows one to make the most of all the outdoor activities that are on offer, whilst a high rainfall ensures the lushness of vegetation that the area is renowned for.
The Park incorporates 80 km of rocky coastline with spectacular sea and landscapes, a remote mountainous region with secluded valleys covered in mountain Fynbos and temperate high forests with deep river gorges leading down to the sea.
The Tsitsikamma’s spectacular scenery includes the Indian Ocean breakers, pounding rocky shores beneath 180 m high cliffs, ever-green forests and fynbos (proteas and heath) rolling down to the sea in a lush carpet where ancient rivers have carved their path to the ocean through rocky ravines.
Tsitsikamma National Park protects a wonderland of inter-tidal and marine life. This is one of the largest Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the world, conserving 11 percent of South Africa’s Temperate South Coast rocky shoreline.
Approximately 30% of the park is covered in fynbos (Cape Floral Kingdom), scattered amongst the forest vegetation, boasting a wide variety of beautiful flowers, including proteas and heath. Many species of forest, fynbos and sea birds are present.
The Tsitsikamma National Park incorporates various cultural heritage sites ranging from Khoisan cultural heritage sites such as caves, shell middens and rock art to more recent cultural historic sites such as the ruins of small fisher settlements, remnants of the past forestry industries and grave sites.
Storms River Mouth is the starting point of the wonderful Otter Trail – a five day hike west to Nature’s Valley, and the fabulous slackpacking Dolphin Trail, which heads east.
There are also shorter day walks that take in the forest and a stone age cave. There is a laid out snorkelling trail and a dive operator at Storms River Mouth. You can do a scenic boat trip up the Storms River Gorge from the mouth.
Storms River Village - Storms River Village is the only one of the main Garden Route towns that is situated in the Eastern Cape, not the Western Cape. It’s a cute little town nestled down among some big old trees, and brooded over by the Tsitsikamma Mountains. Be careful not to confuse the town of Storms River with Storms River Mouth, which is in the Tsitsikamma National Park, and very close by.
Knysna - The name Knysna is a Khoi word but it's uncertain as to its exact meaning. It could mean 'place of wood', or it could mean 'fern leaves', but its most probable meaning is straight down' - an obvious reference to the Heads. Knysna Heads must be the most striking geological features along the entire southern African coastline. They flank a deep but potentially treacherous channel through which the sea pours in to flood the wide and breathtakingly pretty lagoon at the mouth of the Knysna River
Knysna Featherbed - The Featherbed Company gives visitors to the Garden Route 'an unforgettable experience on the Knysna Lagoon'. The Lagoon, more accurately defined as an estuary, has five fresh water rivers flowing in from the surrounding Outeniqua Mountains meeting with the surge of sea water from the Indian Ocean through the mighty headlands – known as the 'Knysna Heads' - the grand sandstone cliffs towering above the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon
Oudtshoorn - From the wonder of the Cango Caves at the foot of the formidable Swartberg Mountains and the Rust en Vrede Waterfall to beautiful old sandstone buildings and of course Ostrich Show Farms, Oudtshoorn has numerous attractions to keep you entertained.
Cango Caves - 29km from Oudtshoorn, at the head of the picturesque Cango Valley, lies the spectacular underground wonder of the Klein Karoo - the Cango Caves. Situated in a limestone ridge parallel to the well known Swartberg Mountains, you will find the finest dripstone caverns, with their vast halls and towering formations.
Lost in absolute darkness, a deep stillness, a constant temperature and high humidity, it is a world with its own unique scenery of calcite masterpieces formed by gently dripping water.
The tour includes a few natural chambers and takes one (standard) or one-and-a-half hours (adventure) to explore. Each chamber displays a limestone masterpiece; created by the forces of nature. There are five basic limestone deposits found along this route namely Dripstone, Flowstone, Rimstone, Roof Crystals, and Shelfstone.
Over a period of 20 million years, this 24 km limestone band with cracks and fissures formed in the ridge. The water percolated into the fissures, gradually dissolving limestone and forming the incredible formations that we see today.
When they opened the cave entrance, the water and air drained out, leaving the chambers silent and empty.
Rainwater, seeping through the upper-surface of the cave absorbed carbon dioxide, producing a mild carbonic acid, which is able to dissolve small quantities of the calcium carbonate in limestone, changing it into soluble calcium bicarbonate.
In the cave it encounters air with a lower carbon dioxide partial pressure. To restore its balance, a water droplet discharges carbon dioxide. As the calcium bicarbonate can no longer be retained in the solution, it is deposited in the form of tiny limestone crystals known as calcite. This ongoing process builds up calcite deposits, which in turn produce the cave formations.
Dripstone is the most commonly found. With slow droplet formation calcite is deposited against the ceiling, resulting in the growth of stalactites hanging downwards. With more rapid droplet formation, water containing calcite in solution falls to the floor, resulting in the building up of a stalagmite from below. Scientific tests showed that stalagmites in the Cango Caves grow at a rate of 5 to 6 millimetres per 100 years and stalactites 2 to 5 millimetres per 100 years and still tourists visiting this natural beauty continue to damage these formations.
Stalactites and stalagmites that form vertically opposite each other may eventually unite to form beautiful Completed Columns.
Safari Ostrich Show Farm - Safari Ostrich Show Farm welcomes you to the Klein Karoo, the world’s foremost supplier of ostrich related products on the international market.