Natures Valleys Best Kept Secrets
Natures Valley is an exquisite valley and forest (as well as a tiny community) that is tucked away from the hubbub, but easily accessible as it is perched along the world-famous Garden Route. It is part of the magnificent Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve as well as the De Vasselot Nature Reserve. Its local residents have worked hard to prevent urbanisation here, maintaining a quiet little village look and feel about the place.
Nature’s Valley is popular amongst hikers and campers; those who enjoy the outdoors. These ones are invited to explore its hills and mountains, walk deep into its forests, and sit along the banks of the Groot River (Big River) and listen to the uninterrupted calls of the many birds that have made this their home.
Here are some of the lesser-known things to do and see in Nature’s Valley, all of which promise spectacular views and unforgettable vistas:
- The Nature’s Valley Beach – this scenic beach is secluded and private, completely cut off from the more popular tourist attractions. This is the final stop for those on the gruelling Otter Trail, but is also a fabulous beach for swimming and surfing. Avid fishermen are well-rewarded here, as are those that simply want to enjoy a jam-packed night sky after sunset.
- The De Vasselot Marsh – witness the wildlife and birds that frequent the marsh as they enjoy their natural habitat. Remember to bring along binoculars and a camera to capture the natural wonder.
- The Groot River Pass – this pass was built by Thomas Bain, a famous South African road engineer who is responsible for many of the roads or routes still in use today. The Groot River Pass was completed in 1880 and remains the only way to access the river mouth. This pass is absolutely beautiful, offering some of the most exquisite scenes and vistas in the country. There is no filling station nearby, so ensure that your tank is full before embarking on the pass.
- The De Vasselot Day Walk – experiencing a place on foot always gives you a better perspective. It allows you to touch the flora, smell the fresh air, hear the bird calls, and feel the fresh ground underfoot. The De Vasselot Day Walk is a scenic retreat that is ideal for those wanting to get away from the city and immerse themselves in the wonders of nature.
- The Salt River Mouth – this unusual attraction has gained increasing acclaim since 2000, when researchers from a museum in Grahamstown discovered brand new aquatic (somewhat primitive) insects that survive in this acidic water. Due to its being so isolated, these insects were able to survive the millennia to see our modern day, unscathed. Obviously, this area is a very special one, and needs to be protected and preserved at all costs. Visitors are urged to be very careful about the imprint they leave behind.
- The Brak River Route – this route is typically beautiful, being situated in the magnificence of Nature’s Valley. However, it is perhaps best known as the home of the extremely endangered Brenton Blue Butterfly. This species was thought to be completely extinct until 1977, when it was spotted in Nature’s Valley, and later in Brenton. Eggs were brought into Nature’s Valley from Brenton (after it again died out in the valley) to preserve this species.