14 Green Flag Hiking routes to kick-start your summer

Natures Valley beach and Grootriver EstuaryCape Town – A total of 14 hiking trails in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park enjoy green flag status.

The criteria needed for this status includes health and safety aspects, cleanliness, maintenance of the trails and sustainable management. Most of the hiking trails start and end in the Storms River Rest Camp.

The hikes take you through the gorgeous Tsitsikamma forested areas, offering cooler temperatures to hike in, spectacular views of the sea, access to its many beaches – with natural rock pools for you to cool off in.

Kick-start your summer with these 14 awesome Garden Route trails.

1. The Waterfall hike – 3km
A walk to a cool waterfall will make any summer hiker smile. This scenic route starts at the Oceanettes (Storms River Rest Camp. It follows a path in a westerly direction towards the waterfall. It forms part of Day 1 of the Otter Trail along the coastline to a gorgeous plunge pool.

2. The Loerie – 1km
A relatively easy walk through the forest. This special walk takes travellers through the indigenous beauty of the forests. Along the trail you emerge onto a plateau at the Agulhas lookout. The trail takes you along a coastal forest.

3. Blue Duiker – 3.7km
This trail starts on the same spot as the Loerie trail. It takes you into the depths of the forest to a cool, shady area of Outeniqua Yellowood. It follows a circular route across the road and ends at the Oceanettes.

4. Ratel
The trail is divided into three routes. The green route is 1km long, where you follow a boardwalk through the indigenous forest to the Big Tree. The yellow route is 2.6km, and the red route is 4.2km.

5. Goesa Nature Walks 2km
A short walk through the forest along the Hard Pear trees and Tree Ferns along a stream. Starts and ends at the Storms River Forestry office in Storms River. It is a circular walk easy enough for all members of your family.

6. Rugbos trail (2)
This trail traverses through the forest and has three escape routes which are colour coded. Yellow 1.4km; green 1.3km and blue 3.1km. Green and blue start at Tsitsikamma Khoisan Village at Bloukrans River. Yellow starts at Rugbos picnic site.

7. Stinkhoutkloof – 8km
This trail is in the Tsitsikamma forest and ends at Bloukrans Forest Station. Look up to the Yellowood, White PeaR, Stinkwood, and Cape Breech trees. Stop off for a dip in the natural pool at the 5km mark.

8. Grootriver trail – 6km
The trail starts at the entrance of the De Vasselot Camp next to the Grootriver Bridge. An enjoyable challenge with scenic views of the coast.

9. Salt River – 15km
The trail starts opposite to the De Vassselot Camp site and takes you on the Kalanderkloof trail onto the plateau. It crosses the road and winds down to the Salt River via a jeep track. You can follow the coastal path back to the Nature’s Valley beach.

10. Varinghoek trail – 13km
Trek along the hills and forests of Natures Valley with this challenging day hike.

11. Kalanderkloof – 7km
Starting at Nature’s Valley, go through the forest gorge with the ancient Kalander trees. Stop off at the rock pools and take a selfie along the lagoon. The walk can extend into the Salt River mouth.

12. Grootriver trail – 6km
Enjoy a gentle walk starting at Natures Valley.

13. The Dolphin – 17km
A traveller’s feast. This is a two day trail along the coast. You can stop off at the many beaches, enjoy the Misty Mountain Reserve in Soetbaai and snorkel and bird watch.

14. The Otter Trail – 42.5km
This five day hike. A physically demanding trail not suitable for children younger than 12 years old. A beautiful trail crosses the Bloukrans River and Elandsbos River. A fun adventure to tick off your travel bucket list in.

– Traveller24


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