There are many things to love about Tsitsikamma, most of them being the highly adventurous activities you can do there. From swinging from the tree tops on a zip line, to jumping off the highest bungee bridge in the world, to Segway-ing through indigenous rainforest, Tsitsikamma National Park is an adventurer’s paradise.
Nestled between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in South Africa this protected area on the celebrated Garden Route is not only an amazing adventure destination, but also one of the most beautiful places in the world. Here are a few of the most adventurous things to do in the area.
In the middle of Storms River Village, next to the 70s-inspired diner, is the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours HQ. One of the most adrenaline-inducing activities in the park, the canopy tour starts with a brief safety demonstration and gear-up before you’re shuttled to the outskirts of the forest. Then the fun begins. Stepping off the first platform, which is conveniently located on a hill, and zipping through trees to the next platform which is built around a tree top, really gets the blood pumping.
There’s nothing like swinging between 700-year-old Outeniqua Yellowwood trees 30 metres above the forest floor! Two professional guides constantly check and recheck your gear and keep you informed about interesting features of the forest ecology and birdlife. The two-and-a-half hour tour costs US$48 (R540), and includes all gear, a certificate to confirm your participation in the tour and lunch. Booking in advance is essential.
Take an amazing guided tour by kayak across the Storms River habour to the famous suspension bridge. From there you’ll go up the Storms River mouth and experience Tsitsikamma in the most unique way. You’ll also get the opportunity to paddle into caves filled with bats and swim in the natural pools. The US$38 (R427) guided tour lets you truly experience the natural beauty of the region. There are also amazing cliffs that you can jump off into the deep pools of the gorge–a great way to get the adrenaline pumping after a calm kayaking experience. Lilos are also available for those who want to take it easy and just relax.
My favourite way to see the Tsitsikamma forest is by off-road Segway. It is also my favourite thing to do as it is eco-friendly and a less destructive way to the forest. Don’t worry if you’ve never tried the two wheeled, self powered Segway before, because a 30-minute training and safety session is provided. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be taken on a two-hour guided tour through Storms River Village, into the forest (with a few giggles from the locals as you pass by in your safety gear).
The tour takes you to the spectacular Tsitsikamma big tree and back. Heading through the forest, you’ll soon understand why off-road Segways are used instead of the basic city model. Since you’ll be “driving” through a river, through mud, and over bumpy gravel roads and dirt paths, the bigger tyres and more powerful electric motor is a must. The tour costs US$38 (R427). A shorter, one hour tour through village is also available.