Dolphin Trail

Tsitsikamma, Eastern Cape

Hiking in the last few years has gone through many changes but none more so than the introduction of 'Slackpacking'. Slackpacking is backpacking without the necessity of having to carry your heavy backpack. Many of the 'Slackpacking' routes have gone a stage further and introduced fully catered packages and quality accommodation. The Dolphin Trail is an example of the latter. From start to finish, the hiker is looked after in four star comfort with meals that match the quality of the accommodation. The trail follows the coastline adjacent to the well known Otter Trail. There are three nights accommodation, two days of hiking and a morning trip by 4x4 through the scenic


Day of Arrival

Check in is any time after noon at the Tsitsikamma National Park Reception. Be sure to have your booking form available as this includes your entry to the Park. After moving into the quaint Dolphin Trail chalets you are free to enjoy what remains of the afternoon at your leisure. There are a number of bird and hiking trails, including the start of the Otter Trail, that are well worth walking, or you can take time to put your feet up and relax in one of the most beautiful spots on earth! Lunch is not included in the package but if you are hungry there is a lovely outside pub area that serves a variety of meals.

7pm - Please be at the Restaurant to meet your Dolphin Trail host who will answer any questions you may have, and will give you information regarding the trail. Enjoy your dinner to the sound of pounding waves with a myriad of stars shining above you.


Hiking Day 1

Early risers can enjoy the stunning view of their surroundings and are welcome to go bird watching or walking before breakfast which is served from 8am. Your luggage will be collected any time after 8:45am at your chalets, and you will meet your guides who will be with you for the two days of hiking.

When the group is ready and all drinks bills settled you depart along the boardwalk to Storms River Mouth and the Khoisan Cave. Weather permitting, there will be a 25 minute boat trip into the river gorge. After crossing Storms River Mouth on the suspension bridge, hikers follow a steep and rocky path to the Lookout Point with a magnificent view of the Tsitsikamma National Park. Relax here and enjoy the endless view of the Indian Ocean while keeping your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins.



The hike continues level for a short distance before beginning a long descent through indigenous forest to sea level. This is the perfect place for your picnic lunch, either in the shade of trees at the stream's edge, or on the rocks in the sun. Hikers should take a good break here as the climb up Steilkop (Steep Hill) is quite taxing and follows immediately. Remember that there is no rush so walk slowly and admire the beautiful views as you go. Once you have conquered Steilkop it is a comfortable forest walk to Misty Mountain Reserve.

Arrival time at Misty Mountain depends on the speed of the hikers and the amount of time spent enjoying the magnificent environment. You will be given a warm welcome and can enjoy an ice cold drink or a hot cup of tea before being shown to your luxury chalet with a 180 degree view of the Indian Ocean. At this stage hikers can collapse and relax, making use of the lovely swimming pool or spa bath, or you can take advantage of the opportunity to go bass fishing in the dam. A variety of exotic and local water birds, as well as ostriches, can be seen at close range around the chalets.


Hiking Day 2

8:30am - Enjoy a hearty breakfast in the dining room

9:30am - Hikers follow a steep path from their chalets straight down to the rock pools. Today's route is mainly at sea level and the morning walk along the coast is magnificent. Enjoy the beautiful plant life and rocky scenery, and keep your eyes open for the spoor of the Cape Clawless Otter in "Otter's Alley". Swimming and snorkelling are possible in a couple of rock pools en route so please take your swimming gear with you. The guides will carry 2 sterilized snorkelling sets for the use of the group, but if you prefer you can request to purchase a new set at the onset of the trail.

At times you are required to clamber over rocks that are often damp from the sea spray, so please take care.

After a stiff climb up the cliff on to level ground, when you are tired and hungry, you will reach a beautiful spot in the forest - and lunch. Enjoy it and soak up the peace and tranquillity of the magnificent forest before setting off on the last 3 km through indigenous fynbos to Forest Ferns.


Mid-afternoon - Hikers arrive at the Fernery to a well earned drink and are then shown to their beautiful chalets nestled in fynbos along the river. Several activities are available for those who are still feeling energetic, such as boating, cycling and bird watching. A swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna are there for your use, and you are welcome to browse through the Fernery and nursery facilities if you wish.

6:30pm - Hikers will be told on arrival whether dinner is to be served in the Fernery restaurant or at the Lodge. Meet at whichever venue is applicable for pre dinner drinks followed by a delicious 4 course menu d’hôte.


Day of Departure

The weary can sleep in and enjoy the peace of their chalets, and early risers are welcome to go bird watching or visit the fern export operation.

8:30am - Breakfast is served in the Fernery after which the luggage is loaded and you set off on a scenic 4x4 trip through the old Storms River Pass. Before leaving please make sure that you have settled any outstanding bills for the trail.

Noon - Arrival at the Tsitsikamma National Park from where hikers go their separate ways. We hope that you have enjoyed your brief stay in our Tsitsikamma Paradise and look forward to welcoming you back soon ~ The Dolphin Trail partners and staff .Dolphin Slackpacking Trail


Bookings for the Dolphin Trail may be made through

Jacana Travel Marketing and Reservations

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Telephone  0861Jacana (0861 522262)

Direct phone: Port Elizabeth 041 378 1439

Pretoria: 012 803 9109

Direct fax: PE 041 378 2548

Pretoria: 012 803 4144

 PE e-mail

Pretoria e-mail:

Footprint Hiking Club

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