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Essential data

Group size:

Maximum 12 people.

Grade:

[3] - Easy for regular hikers, strenuous if you are of average fitness and do not hike often.
Neville rating [22.49]

Duration:

5 days 4 nights 42.5Km

Typical day:

4-6 hours average day covers between 7 and 14 kilometres.

Accommodation

2 timber frame huts with 4" foam matresses on bunk beds.

Cooking

Firewood and excellent braai facilities with NO pots

Departure point

Storm river mouth camp site.

Finish point:

Devasselot camp site, Natures valley

Getting there:

Take the N2 to Storms river mouth

Best time of year

November, December, March, April

Trail operator

South African National Parks (SANP) Tel : 27 (0)12 426 5111 reservations@parks-sa.co.za

Equipment:

In addition to the basic equipment list please view the hiking list.
Trails for Africa Otter hiking trail
This is a SELF ORGANISE trail!    Please make your own bookings for this trail using trail operator details at bottom of left hand column

The Otter Trail is undoubtedly unique and one of the most beautiful nature trails in Sout Africa. It leads from Storms river mouth rest camp to the Groot River in Natures Valley , crossing ravines, skirting bays, weaving through magnificent indigenous forest and crossing numerous streams. It hugs the rugged Tsitsikamma coastline for most of the trail, but when steep cliffs block the way it zig zags upwards to the coastal plateau reaching a maximum elevation of 200m.

Dont forget the Tsitsikamma National Park fees which are over and above the trail fees. This is R50 per person per day unless you have a wild card.

The trail is parallel to the Tsitsikamma trail which is inland in the opposite direction. So if you want to indulge in a trail orgy then you can walk both trails one after the other and end up where you started.

When you are in the indigenous forests look out for outeniqua yellow woods, stinkwood, saffronwood, elder, cape beaches, white milkwood, and wild sage trees.

The mostly shy wildlife includes Leopard, caracal, honeybadger, Cape Clawless otter, Genet, Bushbuck, bushpig, Blue Duiker, Vervet Monkey, baboon, seal, dolphin, whale. The Tsitsikamma forest also has a rich variety of birds such as Lourie, Narina Trogan and Francolin.

While a relatively short hike in terms of distance there is not much level walking and the variable terrain can be quite exhausting for unfit hikers. For those fit hikers who find the days walk too meager please note that you are not permitted to proceed to the next hut before spending the night in the hut you have arrived at.


Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Storms river mount - Ngubu huts (4.3km)On arrival at Storms River Mouth the hiker reports to the park reception which is situated close to the park entrance. Here one books in and settles the conservation levy before starting the trail. The first day may be short in distance but is fairly heavy going. Look out for shell middens left by our early ancestors, particularly Guano Cave which is worth exploring. There is also a magnificent waterfall which will inspire after heavy rains.

Day 2: Ngubu huts - Scott huts (8.3km) This day is considered one of the more difficult due to the undulating terrain so take it slow and easy. It starts with a steep climb up Olienboomskop hill and then passes through virgin idigenous forest before reaching the solid quartz outcrop of Skilderkrans. The trail then descends to cross the Kleinbos river which is a good place to explore before continuing to Blue Bay which is ideal for a lunch break. Finally there is a steep climb before you reach Scott Huts.

Day 3: Scott huts - Oakhurst huts (7.5km)You start by crossing the Geelhoutbos river which is next to the huts. The trail then follows the rocky coastline until the Elandsbos river is reached. The trail then continues along the sea shore until the Lottering river where the Oakhurst huts are situated on the far bank. Crossing the Elandsbos and Lottering rivers can be a problem at spring high tides so check the tides!

Day 4: Oakhurst huts - André huts (13.7)This is the day you need to time your crossing of the Blaauwkrantz river for within an hour of low tide. The river is roughly 10km from the oakhurst huts so make sure you leave early enough to make it even if this means leaving at first light or earlier, otherwise you will have to wait 12 hours or risk a dangerous crossing. A large plastic bag will keep your pack dry when you wade across. Once you have crossed take a breather before the last few kilometers to the Andre huts.

Day 5: Andre huts - Natures valley (6,8 km)You climb one last time and cross the coastal plateau, dipping briefly to cross the Helpmekaar river until you descend steeply to the Groot River Mouth. From here it is a short walk along the beach to Nature's Valley. Have a swim in the sea and reflect on your journey.


We are not liable for any loss, damage or injury on your side; your travel insurance should include accident, health cover and emergency rescue.

Please Note:Terms and conditions apply. We reserve the right to change prices if necessary.

File images
Blaauwkranz river at low tide.
Blaauwkranz river at low tide.

Blaauwkranz river at high tide
Blaauwkranz river at high tide

Blue bay is the perfect beach
Blue bay is the perfect beach

Typical Tsitsikamma coastline
Typical Tsitsikamma coastline

Elandsbos river mouth
Elandsbos river mouth

Kleinbos river
Kleinbos river

Lottering river mouth
Lottering river mouth

Ngubu huts
Ngubu huts

Oakhurst hut
Oakhurst hut

Scott hut
Scott hut

Start of the Otter trail
Start of the Otter trail

Waterfall near start of trail
Waterfall near start of trail

 
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