Thursday, 7 June 2018

SOUTH AFRICA:Tsitsikamma National Park

The Tsitsikamma National Park is a protected area on the Garden Route, Western Cape and Eastern Cape, South Africa.

It is a coastal reserve well known for its indigenous forests, dramatic coastline, and the Otter Trail.

On 6 March 2009 it was amalgamated with the Wilderness National Park and various other areas of land to form the Garden Route National Park.

The park covers an 80 kilometres (50 miles) long stretch of coastline. Nature's Valley is at the western end of the park, and the main accommodation is at Storms River Mouth.

Near the park is the Bloukrans Bridge, the world's highest bridge bungee jump at 216 metres (709 ft).

The word Tsitsikamma hails from the Khoekhoe language tse-tsesa, meaning clear and gami, meaning water, probably referring to the clear water of the Tsitsikamma River.

Other meanings are place of much water and waters begin.

Storms River, various amenities, including a restaurant, shop, chalets, camp site and caravan park, information centre, adventure bookings office, the Agulhas lookout platform, trees marked with their national tree list numbers and underwater trails.

Nature's Valley Rest Camp, this camp is situated in De Vasselot on the banks of the Groot River, about 30 km from Plettenberg Bay and about 40 km from Storms River Rest Camp.

It is an ideal region for bird watchers and has a variety of trails for hikers.

The Otter Trail starts at the Storms River camp and the South African National Parks has laid out several short trails for day visitors.

Set in the Garden Route, the trails lead through coastal and forest scenes, as well as various waterfalls, streams and rivers.

The Suspension Bridge and Lookout Trail is an easy stroll that leads along the western side of the river mouth, past the Strandloper Cave to the suspension bridge across the mouth.

On the other side of the bridge there is a short but very steep climb to a lookout point from which there are fine views of the mouth and the camp.

The Waterfall Trail is a short but demanding hike which follows the first 2.65 kilometres (1.65 miles) of the Otter Trail; hikers may not walk beyond the waterfall unless hiking the Otter Trail.

The Blue Duiker Trail starts just west of the information centre and leads through scrub forest tip to the Agulhas lookout from where whales and dolphins can often be spotted in winter.

After crossing a short section of fynbos, the trail takes hikers into the dry forest with some fine Sickle-leaved Yellowwoods evident.

The Blue Duiker Trail continues through the forest, crossing a stream below a delightful waterfall. Several more streams and a cavernous tree bole mark the route.

After crossing the road to the camp, the path drops to the coast just west of the start of the Waterfall/Otter trails and returns past the camp site and chalets.

Birdlife unique to the forest is found west of the road, which makes this trail a favorite with birdwatchers.

The Lourie Trail is a short-cut to the Blue Duiker Trail, marked with the yellow sign. This trail passes next to a waterfall and has gorgeous views over the marine reserve.

During the whale period, and if the sea is calm, whales can often be seen from the top of the cliffs.

Tsitsikamma Mountains

The Tsitsikamma mountains form an east-west mountain range located in the Garden Route region of the southern South African coast in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces.

Tsitsikamma means place of much water in the Khoekhoe language.
The Tsitsikamma Range stretches just over 80 km from the Keurbooms River in the west just north of Plettenberg Bay, to Kareedouw Pass and the Eerste River in the east near the town of Kareedouw, and forms a continuous range with the Outeniqua Mountains to the west.

The range consists almost exclusively of Table Mountain sandstone which is extremely erosion-resistant. Peak Formosa is the highest point in the range at 1675 m.

The climate of the range is extremely mild, with temperature variations only between 10 °C and 25 °C generally and rainfall exceeding 1000 mm per annum, thus the region supports verdant fynbos and Afromontane temperate gallery forest habitats.

Snow sometimes occurs on the highest peaks in winter.

The topography of the mountains is interesting, in that the range rises abruptly from the south at a very defined line that runs almost due east-west at the 34° south latitude.

This is due to the very regular nature of the rise of the Table Mountain Sandstone in an anticline fold structure above the grade of the surrounding Tsitsikamma coastal plateau.

The Tsitsikamma National Park lies just to the south of the range on the Indian Ocean.

The region between the range and the ocean also bears the name Tsitsikamma and is characterised by some cattle farms, sparse settlements and dense Afromontane (Temperate) gallery forest.

This region sits on a 200m high plateau between the mountains and steep cliffs which drop into the Indian Ocean.

Bloukrans Bridge is on the border between the Eastern and Western Cape provinces, and sports the highest bungee jump in the world.

Tsitsikamma River

The Tsitsikamma River (Afrikaans: Tsitsikammarivier) is a small river at the western end of the Eastern Cape coast, South Africa. It is part of the Fish to Tsitsikama Water Management Area.

It is a small permanent river that has its sources in the Tsitsikamma Mountains.

Initially it flows southwards, then it flows southeastwards, parallel to the coast for most of its course, bending southwestwards only 3 km from its mouth in Huisklip Beach.

Storms River

Storms River is a river in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

The river mouth is located in the Tsitsikamma National Park.

The 5 day Otter Trail starts at the Storms River mouth.

Tourism Observer

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