Tsitsikamma National Park – Lush Natural Beauty
At the heart of the famous and beautiful Garden Route, you will find the Tsitsikamma National Park. Found in the Western Cape region of South Africa, the park combines spectacular rocky coastline with awesome mountainous terrain, secluded and picturesque valleys and deep river gorges. The word ‘tsitsikamma’ is Khoisan for ‘place of much water’ and a more appropriate name could not have been chosen.
As you explore the 80 km of rocky coastline incorporated into the Tsitsikamma Park, you will discover a section where the Indian Ocean breakers pound relentlessly against cliffs towering at a height of 180 meters over the rocky shores beneath. The cliffs provide an excellent vantage point from which to view the dolphins and porpoises frolicking in the waves below or Southern Wright whales that come here to give birth. A little further inland you will discover valleys laden with mountain fynbos – South Africa’s own indigenous and protected ‘wonder plant’. The evergreen forest and fynbos combine to form a lush carpet bordered and divided by exquisitely beautiful rivers and ravines that have been carved out over the ages as they make their way back to the ocean. However the fynbos isn’t the only protected part of nature in this park and you will find in amongst the animals which live here a number of protected species which deserve special attention. Among these are the African Black Oystercatcher and the Blue Duiker. Other beauties which can be found here are the Cape Clawless Otter and the Knysna Loerie.
The Tsitsikamma National Park is one of the world’s largest Marine Protected Areas (MPA). It stretches roughly 5 kilometers into the sea where a variety of reef, inter-tidal lie and deep-sea fish fall into its protective boundaries. When one combines this with the 80km length of the shoreline, you will find that the park protects roughly 11 percent of the country’s Temperate South Coast. The Tsitsikamma Park is also home to a number of cultural heritages sites such as Khoisan caves, shell middens and rock art, small fishing settlements, abandoned forestry operations of by-gone days and grave sites. This adds an interesting twist to any visit to the park and visitors can either hike the various trails or simply drive to the park accommodation. Don’t miss out on this spectacular nature reserve.