Time to hit the trails in Plett
While Robberg Nature Reserve may be our masterpiece, don’t forget there are many other trails worth tramping. The mountains, cliffs, forests, fields, and beaches of Plettenberg Bay are crisscrossed with hiking and running trails offering breath-taking views and immersion in nature.
Whether you are a casual day tripper, outdoors enjoying nature, or a seasoned hiker/trail runner on a mission, our area has more than its fair share on offer. Ranging from light strolls to heel-splitting, blister-forming gorges, Plett has it all and its gorgeous.
Pack a picnic and point your compass in the direction of one of the national parks in the area. Plan a day trip to Robberg Nature Reserve in Plett or the one of the beautiful walks along the coast in Nature’s Valley or adventure along SANpark’s Kranshoek Coastal Walk in our Harkerville Forest. You can also enjoy walking along one of Plett’s Blue Flag beaches, or head out to Tsitsikamma National Park and choose one of their meandering coastal trails.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or are simply interested in taking a leisurely walk along the coast, there are plenty of places to wander. Remember to bring your camera, slap on the sunscreen and bring plenty of water. Enjoy your hike!
The Eden to Addo Great Corridor Hike is possibly becoming South Africa’s longest and most difficult hikes.
Imagine a hike that has never been walked before, a route that attempts to follow where elephants once roamed and where they may well roam again. Imagine walking through indigenous forests, over expansive mountains and through winding river gorges, side-stepping buffalo and looking out for sunbirds. You will never get to see the awe-inspiring view from the top if you don’t walk the many difficult miles to get there. This includes taking the wrong turn, running out of water, sleeping under the stars or pushing past your fear of heights. This hike traverses over three floral ‘mega areas’ within 400kms. Across this short distance you will be mesmerised by the enormous geographical variety and the five different floral biomes you will be experiencing. The trail links up the different corridors between existing reserves, existing insect/animal/bird migrations and possibly even those of the elephants. Visit www.edentoaddo.co.za or phone +27 (0)44 533 1623.
Kranshoek Coastal Walk is a tough trail.
For a hike that’s really out there, try this one out for size. What starts off in the Kruisfontein State Forest, meanders slowly down to unspoiled, wild coast with a rocky beach and just when you think it can’t get any more challenging, the windy path takes you up the side of a mountain under a cool, green canopy of trees. Be sure to stop every once-in-a-while though because you really don’t want to miss the breath taking views of the Big Blue behind you. With an option of either 3kms or 9kms of trail to traverse, you have no excuse to jam your pack with water and snacks and get cracking right away. Permits are available at the SANparks gate. Visit www.sanparks.org or phone +27 (0)44 302 5600.
Natures Valley Network offers moderate to challenging trails.
Take your time, generally anywhere from an hour hike to a six-day walk-about. If 60kms of hiking sounds like bliss to you, then this is your chance. Trails start at De Vasselot campsite. Although your eyes will be drawn to the ocean and river views, remember to look around to see the magnificent big yellowwood trees on the Kalander Kloof trail and who knows, you may even be fortunate enough to spot the shy Narina Trogan in all its colourful splendour. Enjoy a picnic and a swim at the Salt River mouth along the way. This is a hiker’s and bird watcher’s paradise with picture-perfect views of the coastline and the mountains to boot.
No permits are required and various maps and info on birds and trees can be obtained at the SANparks office. Visit www.sanparks.org or phone +27 (0)44 531 6700.
Robberg Nature Reserve is one of those rare beauties that offers more than just a pretty view with light hiking (2.2kms), to stonkingly tough trails (9.2kms).
The raw beauty of this peninsula lures enthusiasts from far and wide and is popular with locals and tourists. The churning ocean below shows that day’s wild weather and the biodiversity of the Reserve appeals to a wide audience of wildlife enthusiasts with both unique and awe-inspiring fauna and flora and exciting marine life in full regalia. Robberg has several viewing points and areas that are marked “no entry”, please abide by the signs. So yeah, not a great idea to go off the approved path. Visitors will be required to purchase a permit on entering the reserve so do bring your Wild Card or cash and don’t forget plenty of water and a sun hat, as the brilliant sun can be harsh. Visit www.capenature.co.za or phone +27 (0)44 533 2125.
The Otter Trail. Not for the faint of heart, the Otter bares its teeth every now and again and rips the sense of humour right out of you.
Having said this tough, there are few rivals that are able to better the beauty and sense of accomplishment one feels at the finish line. For five whole days, you are transported to other- worldly paradise par excellence. The adventure starts at the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp where hikers head westward towards the Groot River estuary at Nature’s Valley. This trail has an undeniable ability to drive home simple but often overlooked truths that draw hikers in, challenge them through mountains and rocky coastal paths and push them out of their comfort zones. When your feet can no longer trudge the path ahead, you learn the power of slowing down and gain a new appreciation for admitting that not everything will go your way when you want it to. The oldest official hiking trail in South Africa beckons you to experience her allure, but make sure you pack extra dry socks and a few morale-boosting tidbits. Visit www.sanparks.org or phone +27 (0)12 428 9111.
Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail is for the more experienced.
This trail is a powerful, active force that teaches you important life lessons. Field guides and binoculars are definitely recommended along this exciting and unpredictable journey. The Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail was South Africa’s first officially accredited hiking trail and has recently been allocated the Green Flag Certificate for a trail under excellent management. Visit www.tsitsikammainfo.co.za or phone +27 (0)87 158 2110.
No.1 Kranshoek Coastal Walk
Grade: Fairly difficult
Time: 2 hours or 5 hours
Distance: 3 kms or 9 kms
Features: Forests, pine plantation, fynbos, coastal escarpment, rocky beach.
Permits: None. Please sign visitors book. Open 6am to 6 pm.
The walk is in the Kruisfontein State Forest. The route begins near the map at the picnic site. Follow the white footprints painted on trees and rocks. Once on the beach look out for paths on your left which return to the parking area.
No. 2 Robberg Nature Reserve
Grade: Easy to difficult
Time: 45min, 2 hours or 4 hours
Distance: 2.2kms, 5.6kms and 9.2kms
Features: Coastal escarpments, geological
highlights, fynbos, dolphins and whales.
Permits: Obtained at entrance gate.
The Robberg Peninsula has 3 circular trails. One can enjoy the large variety of coastal dune fynbos and rich marine life. The Informative Board describes the geological evolution of the Robberg. It is advisable to do this walk in cooler weather. Follow the “seal” markers.
No. 4 Hikers Paradise Trails
Grade: Easy to difficult
Time: 45 min, 2hours, 3 hours or 4
Distance: 2 kms, 3.5 kms, 5 kms or 7 kms
Features: Fynbos, rocky sea shores, coastal escarpment, tiergat with stalactites and stalagmites, spectacular views, dolphin & whale viewing.
An entrance fee is payable at the entrance gate. The 4 circular trails are on a private farm. Only guided hikes are allowed and these hikes start at 10h00 daily (except Sundays). Hikers interested in joining these hikes must phone tel 044-5331760 for reservations. One can enjoy the large variety of fynbos, rich marine life, caves with stalactites and stalagmites, and spectacular views and have the assistance of a guide. All routes begin and end at the parking area.
No. 5 Natures Valley Network
Grade: Moderate to fairly difficult
Features: Mountain scenery, fynbos, indigenous forest, optional equipment porterage
Permits: Free. De Vasselot campsite.
This network has numerous trails ranging in difficulty and length. Maps and information on birds and trees can be obtained at the campsite. Choose your walk carefully according to your own ability. A special place of interest and beauty is the Salt River mouth (where one may picnic and swim). The Kalander Kloof trail has magnificent big yellowwood trees and one may be lucky enough to spot the elusive Narina Trogan. Paths are well defined and junctions are clearly signposted. It is advisable to walk the coastal routes at low tide. The forest routes can become slippery after heavy rainfall. This is a hiker’s and bird watcher’s paradise with its diversity of fauna and flora. Viewpoints offer breathtaking views of the coastline and distant mountains.
No. 6 Stinkhoutkloof Trail
Time: 3 hours
Features: Pine plantations, forests, valleys and streams
Permits: Sign book at forest station
Park at the Bloukrans Forest Station. The initial walk is along forest roads. The route crosses the N2 and winds through indigenous forest and river valleys lined with spectacular tree ferns. The paths are well marked with yellow footprints painted on rocks and trees.
No. 7 Storms River Mouth Trails
Grade: Easy to moderate
Features: Forests, fynbos, caves, suspension bridge and rugged coast
The Storm’s River mouth is 55kms from Plettenberg Bay. An entrance fee is payable at the entrance gate. There are four day walks, the Mouth trail (1km each way), the Waterfall trail (3kms each way), the Loerie trail (1,5km circular) and the Blue Duiker trail (5,5kms circular). These trails are similar to those of Nature’s Valley although they are more developed for tourism. A map of the walks and a list of fauna and flora species are available at the Info Centre. There is a curio shop and restaurant. Special places of interest are the “strandloper” cave, the famous bridge, the waterfall and the fynbos garden. It is advisable to tackle the Waterfall trail at low tide. This trail is the beginning of the famous Otter trail but day walkers are not permitted to go beyond the waterfall itself. One can see Knysna Loeries on the Loerie trail. They are abundant here and are breathtaking when in flight.