Get a small taste of the Otter Trail

Posted on 27 November 2018

This iconic hiking trail has to be booked a year or more in advance, but day visitors to the Tsitsikamma section of Garden Route National Park can do the six kilometre Waterfall Trail, which is the same route covered by hikers on day one of the Otter.

Looking from a fynbos ridge over the ocean. This is the beginning of the open stretch along a cliff before it winds down to Nature’s Valley.

The Storms River area is wild and elemental, where thick forest meets the unrelenting sea in a series of cliff faces. The trail is undulating and offers views of the pounding ocean below and patches of pebbled beach, ending at an impressive waterfall that pools and then flows to the ocean. 

Image by Melanie van Zyl


No cost for hiking, except the park conservation fee R55 per person. Trail maps R16.

Do it

The Waterfall Trail is best tackled as a full-day excursion; it’s a four-hour return trip but don’t rush it. Pack a picnic and take it slowly – the route can get strenuous in places, with rocky climbs and steep stairs. It starts from the Storms River Rest Camp.

Alternative options

To experience the area without the physical exertion, hop on the Spirit of Tsitsikamma, which takes visitors on a 30-minute boat trip to the bottom of the gorge that lies beyond the Storms River suspension bridge. There are often sea mammal encounters on the trip, including Cape clawless otters and whales, and the bridge looks majestic from the water. Young ragged-tooth sharks swim in the black waters of the river (those are not just murky shadows!) as it’s an essential breeding area for them. The boat runs every 45 minutes from the old jetty below the bridge (a half-hour walk to get there along the Mouth Trail from the main of office at the rest camp). From R202 per person to the bridge or R367 to see the waterfall from the sea. 0422811607

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