The Otter Trail is undoubtedly one of the best known and most popular hiking trails in South Africa, and ranks highly when compared to the trails of the world. This trail is 42.5 kilometres (or a little over 25 miles) long and stretches from Storms River to Nature’s Valley, which are both trailheads. Being along the Garden Route means that this route is accessible, showcasing some of the most beautiful features of South Africa’s landscape. It is named after the Cape Clawless Otter that can be found in this region.
The trail takes five days to complete and is split into very clear stages to make it manageable and safe …
Day 1 – 4.8 km (approximately 2 hours)
Day 2 – 7.9 km (approximately 4 hours)
Day 3 – 7.7 km (approximately 4 hours)
Day 4 – 13.8 km (approximately 6 hours)
Day 5 – 6.8 km (approximately 3 hours)
The four nights spent on the trail are enjoyed in inviting huts that boast beautiful views. These huts are welcome retreats after a tough day of hiking through the stunning foliage of the Eastern Cape.
The spectacular, though challenging, Otter Trail is part of the Tsitsikamma National Park. The views are extraordinary, and include long stretches of beach. Crossing rivers, negotiating forests, climbing steep inclines or traipsing along the gorgeous white sands of the beach all make for an unforgettably beautiful trail. It is advisable to bring a hiking pole to assist you to ascend steep mountains and tricky paths. Because you will be crossing rivers, do a bit of research to ensure that you know what time the tide will be rising.
Getting to the start of the Otter Trail, the Storms River Mouth, is easily accomplished by driving right to the point.
There are a number of streams, rivers and springs along the route. Most of these are suitable for drinking water, but it is always best to take along water purification tablets to be on the safe side. When washing, use only biodegradable soaps so that this water is not contaminated with chemicals. Each of the huts has a rainwater tank, so you can stock up on clean, safe drinking water for the day’s hiking there if these are full.
The huts provide firewood, but it may be wet if you are hiking during a rainy season. So, either carry a small amount of emergency wood with you or pack some tinned food that can be eaten if you are not able to make a fire. The huts are equipped with grids and a braai area, but no stoves or microwaves.
These overnight huts have six beds, a table and a rubbish bin. Hikers will need to provide their own pillows and sleeping bags.
The Otter Trail incorporates the natural habitat of a number of different species. These include seals, the caracal, leopard, duiker, bushpig, badger, vervet monkey, baboon and plenty of bird species. In addition, during the months of June to December, whales and dolphins are particularly prolific in this part of the world.
This is a trail never to be forgotten; guaranteed to provide a lifetime of beautiful happy memories. Share it with a group of your favourite friends for a priceless adventure.
Book your Garden Route Accommodation here for a little break after the hike, you’ll want to rest up!
To Book the Otter Trail
Contact South African National Parks on telephone +27 (0)12 426-5111