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.
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
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
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
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
Bookings for the
Dolphin Trail may be made through
0861Jacana (0861 522262)
Port Elizabeth 041 378 1439
Direct fax: PE
041 378 2548
Footprint Hiking Club
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