Tsitsikamma National Park Hiking Trails

The Tsitsikamma National Park is situated in the heart of the famous Garden Route in South Africa. The park offers some fine coastal scenery and sometimes the option of whale-watching.

There are some pretty amazing Tsitsikamma hikes that allow you to explore this beautiful national park on foot.

Tsitsikamma is a Khoisan (early inhabitants of the area) word meaning, “place of much water.” They probably referred to the average annual rainfall of 1200mm.

Check out our gear guide to hiking.

Tsitsikamma hikes, South Africa
Tsitsikamma National Park hikes

Tsitsikamma hikes: The most popular hiking trails

Nature – Storms River suspension bridge

The forest walkway to the bridge has recently been upgraded and the development of a circular route with some more suspension bridges is underway.

Short Tsitsikamma hikes

Here’s two short trails (no fees or permits needed):

  • Mouth Trail. 1km, a linear route. Walk from the Park’s Restaurant to the Suspension Bridge, the key feature of the Tsitsikamma National Park, a long free-hanging bridge. It can often be seen on photographs, advertising the Tsitsikamma.
  • Viewpoint Trail. Walk past the Suspension Bridge, 2km, linear route. The first part is a pretty steep climb, towards the viewpoint it becomes a more gentle slope. You get a nice view of the Indian Ocean, the mouth, the bridge and the restcamp.
  • Waterfall Trail. First half day hike of the famous Otter trail, starting at the Oceannettes on the eastern side of the restcamp. 6,4km to the waterfall and back, just over 3 hours (a linear route). The latest starting time in summer 2:30PM and in winter 1:30PM. The hike is marked as difficult, due to uneven and slippery terrain. Take along your swimming gear for a refreshing dive under the waterfall, which marks the half way point. 
  • Loerie Trail. Starts a little bit east of the restaurant, a small walk past a viewpoint, offering only ocean views. 1,5km and circular. 
  • Blue Duiker Trail. 5,5km and circular. It starts along the Loerie Trail, later turns towards the coastline, following the Waterfall Trail back to the Oceannettes.

Multi day Tsitsikamma hikes

  • Otter Trail. 42km, 5 days and 4 nights with good overnight huts. You have to book ahead. Bookings can be taken a year in advance, which means that there are often last minute cancellations, so it’s always worth seeing if you can get in at the last minute. Bring your own food and sleeping bags. You do not need tents. You need to be fairly fit as the trail follows the cliffs and hills along the coastline, dipping down to the rivers. What goes down must come up… It’s beautiful and only 12 people are allowed on any one part of the hike, so it really is unspoilt and worth doing. Be prepared for a difficult river crossing on day three. Please check with the parks officials when low tide is and ask for advice on getting over the river.
  • Tsitsikamma Trail. Hike from Nature’s Valley through the Tsitsikamma Mountains to Storms River. You can choose to walk 2 to 6 days, with or without porterage. If you want to walk just a section, just a day it appears to be possible as well. Visit their website.

Visiting The Garden Route? Check out these posts:


Hiking in Hong Kong: Easy & Beautiful Trails

Despite being a large, bustling city, Hong Kong is an excellent place to get outdoors in nature!

Since ~70% of Hong Kong’s land is covered in greenery and country parks, hiking is a popular activity for locals and expats. Often the trails have gorgeous views and lead to some spectacular destinations.

On your next Hong Kong trip, I highly recommend trying a hike to experience Hong Kong’s outdoors and see some beautiful nature.

 

Here are three easy, yet beautiful trails to get you started!

1. Quarry Bay Tree Walk

Distance: 3.2 km / 2 miles

The Quarry Bay Tree Walk is an easy trail through the forests behind the Quarry Bay neighborhood on eastern Hong Kong Island. Start at the Taikoo MTR station (exit B) then walk west on King’s Road. Turn onto Greig Road and walk up until you reach the Tree Walk.

The trail is mostly paved and has a slight elevation gain (124 m/406 ft). Along the way, you’ll encounter remnants of the Wartime Communal Kitchens (listed as Wartime Stoves on Google). These kitchens were used during the second world war in Hong Kong as an influx of refugees after the fall of Canton led to increase of food demands.

Continue along the Quarry Bay Tree Walk until you reach Mount Parker Road. At this point, you can turn and head back down towards Quarry Bay or choose another trail for a longer hike.

 

2. Dragon’s Back Hike

Distance: 5.4 km / 3.4 miles

The Dragon’s Back hike is a meandering ridge trail located in Shek O Country Park in southeastern Hong Kong Island. Because the trail is on a ridge, you’ll have spectacular views of the sea and Hong Kong’s south side as you hike.

To get there, ride the MTR to Shau Kei Wan station (exit A3) then take the number 9 bus to the trailhead. The first part of the hike is a gradual climb up to the ridge. Once you reach the ridge, you’ll be able to see Shek O Beach off to the right and Tai Tam Bay on the left. The trail undulates across the “dragon’s back” for ~2 km (1.25 mi) and offers amazing views. Some days you’ll find paragliders setting up for flight on the hillside.

Once you’re finished the ridge, you’ll descend into a forest and have a flat and shady walk for the remainder of the trail. At the end of the trail, turn left to head back to the road to catch the bus.

If you’d like a longer hike, turn right and continue on to Big Wave Bay (~2 km extra). The descent to Big Wave Bay is rather steep and consists mostly of stairs.

 

3. Sai Wan Pavilion to Ham Tin Beach in Sai Kung

Distance: 5.1 km / 3.2 miles

Although it’s a bit difficult to get to this hike, the views and secluded beaches along this hike make it worth the effort!

The hike from Sai Wan Pavilion to Ham Tin Beach is located in Sai Kung East Country Park in New Territories. To get there, you’ll need to take a combination of MTR and bus to Sai Kung town. Once you arrive in town, you can take a taxi to the Sai Wan Pavilion.

The trail begins along the stunningly turquoise High Island Reservoir. Even on a cloudy day, the color of this water never ceases to amaze me. Most of the first part of the trail is flat or downhill until you reach Sai Wan Beach – the first of four gorgeous beaches in Sai Kung East Country Park.

At this point, you could stop your hike. I prefer to continue to Ham Tin Beach – the second beach – which is larger and even more beautiful. Both beaches have restaurants, toilet facilities, beach equipment for rent, and places to purchase boat tickets to return to Sai Kung town.

 

Any Questions?

Do you have any questions about hiking in Hong Kong or these three beautiful hikes? Please let me know in the comments below!

If you’re looking for other Hong Kong hikes or tips on traveling to Hong Kong, be sure to check out the Becky Exploring blog.