Tsitsikamma National Park
Storms River Mouth, Tsitsikamma © Conrad88
Tsitsikamma is a word of the indigenous Khoi-San people meaning 'place of many waters', which accurately describes the naturally beautiful 50-mile (80km) stretch of coastline that makes up the Tsitsikamma National Park, Africa's oldest and largest marine reserve. The park boasts many attractions, including a giant Outeniqua yellowwood tree that is hundreds of years old. The region is criss-crossed by hiking trails, including the world-renowned Otter Trail (a five-day hike), starting at Storm's River and running along 25 miles (41km) of spectacular coastline to Nature's Valley. A number of private operators, notably Storms River Adventures, offer numerous adventure activities in the area such as black-water rafting and abseiling, mountain bike tours and fishing trips. A particularly exciting diversion is to undertake a 'canopy tour' of the forest, gliding across the treetops on steel cables strung between platforms. The most popular bases for exploring the area are Nature's Valley, Wilderness and Knysna, all charming coastal towns, beautifully located, which offer a wide variety of accommodation, from stunning campsites to luxury lodges and everything in between. Tsitsikamma National Park is the highlight of the famous Garden Route of South Africa.