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Full Tsitsikamma 6 Day 5Night Trail

Garden Route

Activity Description

The Tsitsikamma Trail is a southern Cape hiking paradise, journeying through extensive indigenous afromontane forest and mountain fynbos. Ancient river gorges and abundant rivers and streams remind us of the creative power of water and the origins of the word Tsitsikamma. This is an enchanted world where echoes of past giants such as elephant and buffalo can still be felt. Some of the finest specimens of South Africa’s national tree, the Outeniqua yellowwood, keep sentinel over the forest canopy while hikers clamber over their enormous roots beneath. Beginning in Nature’s Valley and ending 62.3km further at either the Storms River Bridge or Village, this six-day, unidirectional trail takes hikers through the heart of the
Tsitsikamma Mountains. Shorter variations (2,3,4 or 5 days) are possible as each of the five overnight huts has its own unique access route with safe parking at the start.

Optional equipment porterage (slackpacking) now provides hikers with the chance of having their equipment transported between overnight huts (30kg per hiker per day), allowing the luxury of carrying only daypacks on each day’s journey. This makes the trail accessible to a wider range of people and provides all with more time for swimming, photography, birding and other activities usually limited by time or weight constraints. Field guides and binoculars are definitely recommended along this exciting and unpredictable journey. Many of the forest giants are labelled with their tree names and hikers can have much fun with guessing and identification games along the route
Route Description
A brief 3.5 km hike form Nature Valley Rest Camp brings you to the first overnight stopover, The Kalander hut, situated only a stone’s throw from the nature’s valley beach. The first day hike is a brief 3.4km from the Nature’s Valley rest camp with an option of entering the trails from the beach from Natures valley of via the coastal forest route.

The second day sets the tone for the rest of the trail and begins with a climb up the escarpment. Most of the day’s hike, however, will take you through indigenous afromontane forest as you venture inland towards the foothills of the Tsitsikamma Mountains. The serene staircase waterfalls demand a break and a refreshing swim before heading off the last stretch towards the hut. The Bloukrans hut is situated on the verge of a cliff and offers incredible views of the river gorges below and Peak Formosa and the Tsitsikamma Mountains to the north. A couple of hundred metres beneath the balcony a coca-cola coloured waterfall tumbles away.

The following day takes one deep into the Tsitsikamma Mountains and forest. The trails weaves through a selection of fynbos over the ridges and enchanted patches of indigenous forest as the trail begins its eastward course through the mountains. The crossing of the Bloukrans River at Waterwitelsgat is always exciting and provides a wonderful swimming and resting place. Shortly before reaching Keurbos hut there are rockpools resembling natural Jacuzzis at the Twintubs. The hut is situated in the wetter Keurbos forest.

The third day passes through very diverse habitat types and has many exciting river crossings. After an approximate 1,5km gradual descent from Keurbos hut through very tall fynbos the Lottering River is reached. Once over the saddle, large pockets of untouched indigenous forest become visible in remote mountain regions. Heuningbos indigenous forest has many hidden secrets awaiting hikers further ahead. After the final descent towards the hut, you will cross the Kleinbos River twice before reaching the Heuningbos Hut. A very pleasant swimming pool lies within rolling distance away.

Day four is the longest trail section and will see hikers negotiate two saddles on route to Sleepkloof hut. Most of the day passes through pristine mountain fynbos where many interesting species occur. The crossing of the Witteklip River marks the day’s half-way point and the second saddle’s ascent begins shortly thereafter. The view from the top of Nademaalsnek is a just reward. Sleepkloof hut nestles on the slopes of a densely forested gorge where wood was dragged out during the woodcutter era. The hut has magnificent views of the Tsitsikamma mountains lurking in the distance.

The hiking trail exits to the Storms River Bridge on the N2 Storms river Bridge and is a short hike of 3.4km. An alternative route can be used through to Storms river Village via the Tsitsikamma national park. The route heads down Bosvaringpad and crosses the N2 highway into Plaatbos on the Skuinsbospad trail. This adds 3 extra kilometres to the trail but is worth every step.


Duration118 hours
Whenall year round
Wherestart: Natures Valley end: Storms river
WeatherDifficult River Crossings in the rain
What to WearComfortable clothing Hiking boots Sun Hat
Things to BringFood Drinks Sleeping bag Lighting Lekker Attitude
Guests or SpectatorsOnly paying guests allowed


Minimum Age12 years
Minimum Height0.0 m
Maximum Height0.0 m
Fitness LevelAverage
QualificationsNot Applicable
Maximum Weight0.0 kg
CertificationNone Required
Experience LevelIntermediate

Inclusions and Exclusions


Basic cooking pots and braai grids.
Wood (Excluding Kalander Hut on night 1)


all additional cost


Optional equipment porterage (slackpacking) now provides hikers with the chance of having their equipment transported between overnight huts. To be arranged prior to the Hike. (no porterage available at the First Hut)

Customer Reviews

Lovely trail, Friendly staff, Clean facilities. Will reccomend to friends - Hannelie

Once again we enjoyed the trail tremendously. Great upgrades at huts! Love the 6 bed unit plus the 3 x A-frames. I also think that the donkeys for hot water is a great improvement on the bucket system. I can't wait to see Kalander Hut upgraded. Especially the bathroom. Suggestion: have a picnic table with umbrella roof at halfway mark each day from Day 2 - it will be great for hikers' morale to have a halfway mark and a place to enjoy lunch. (Especially on day 5!l) - Aleta

The Tsitsikama trail is one of the most hyped-up trails in the hiking community. Finally embarking on the journey was exciting. There was a lot of anticipation, anxiety and thrill amongst the group. As the organizer, I was more nervous about taking care of a large group, from all around the country, meeting other hikers for the first time, dealing with different fitness levels etc. But the trail itself was kind enough to see each and everyone of us through, with no injuries and fulfilled hearts! Day 1 started off kind. It was short and sweet. It gave me an idea of where everyone is with their fitness level. I was pleased to realize that I'm with a pack of strong men and women of all ages! The introduction gave a forecast of a fun hike ahead. At hut #1: We were welcomed with Easter Eggs, since it was Easter, that we shared amongst ourselves. The ablution facilities were well kept. We were happy to be "home." Day 2 begins with a brutal uphill that sends you to a beautiful view point of the beach. It becomes a little forgiving when it curves into the forest, leading you into brand new oxygen and breathtaking views. It ends at a clean spot of 3 different huts; 3 A-shaped two sleeper huts, 1 Cosy 6 sleeper hut and 1main dorm. We were happy to rotate amongst these huts each day to share the experience. On top that, it came with a luxurious outdoor shower! We wished this shower could be at every spot, but it was only at day 2. Day 3 was said to be the easiest and somewhat flat terrained day of all the days. This sent off false alarms as everyone felt it was safe to relax. It rather undulates the whole day. Taking us through multiple ups and downs, although in short distances. Mentally preparing for a flat plane and going through multiple ups and downs was much more draining. The up-side of this day is the beautiful pools it revealed. Although that coca-cola water isn't the most appealing, the cooling effect was great. Entering into Day 4, everyone was up early and geared up for a tough day. And yes, the trail delivered. It was tough indeed. However, the team was tougher. The Uphills were long and arduous. The downhills were spilling down. Regardless of the route, the team took full advantage of the beautiful rock pools and forest covers to take frequent breaks and take in the nature that surrounded us. At the end of this day, we were welcomed by beeping noises from our cellphones; alerting us of the network, to at least check in with friends and family from home. Day 5 promised to be the most strenuous day of them all. Honestly, the trail wasn't the worst. The worst part of day 5 has to be your body somewhat giving up on you. It had been 5 days of minimal food and maximum energy burning. The game becomes an individual mental sport; 'Mind over matter'... 'You've come too far to go back'... At the end of this day, it was an early night for most of us. Sixth and final day, we started a bit late, compared to other days. But the consensus was to finish strong! And before any of us broke a sweat, it was over!!! We were impressed with each other and ourselves. It had been a fun filled, challenging and exciting 6 days! All the huts had a donkey boiler except for hut #1. We found and left all huts clean and locked, and the keys returned into the safety boxes. We were warned about monkeys and baboons, but we didn't struggle with either. The porter services were great for those who needed them! The next time we go on MTO Trails, we're definitely asking them to porter meat every night. It would have been a jol! Overall, our hike was amazing! - Siphiwe

This was my 5th hike of the Tsitsikamma Trail. My first trail was in 1982 when I was still a school pupil. Then I did not walk it for decades. I was looking for good trails for my Outdoor Club and we walked it in 2009, 2014, 2017 and again this year. It is an excellent trail in terms of distance with some tough days of walking but this is mitigated by the huts at the end of the day. The map contour interval is 50 m which leaves out a lot of hills. The trail is well-marked with new signage. The huts are well-maintained and improvements have been made over recent years. The addition of the donkey boiler at each overnight stop was the best improvement. Certainly, my pupils were very impressed at having toilets and hot showers as well as firewood with an axe! There was far more mud on this trip than I remember, but I had my gaiters, which I actually wore. One of my pupils described the trail as the most beautiful she had ever walked. - Barbara

just want to say thumbs up for the entire team will definitely do it again a special thanks to Royston,Larno and Chad thanks from us all - Vernon

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