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Sunday, 21st February 2021

It’s the region of the Eastern Cape that we all love to love. A place of deep, cool forests built over centuries. A place that is home to the oldest marine protected area in Africa, the world’s highest bungy jump and the world-famous Otter Trail. A place of lofty mountains, ancient forests, dramatic coastal cliffs, and magnificent blue sea. When we think of Tsitsikamma, we get a thrill of anticipation, a rush of enthusiasm and a smile from the memories of previous visits. To whet your appetite and tickle your wanderlust, here’s our ultimate Tsitsikamma Bucket List…

1. Bungy Jump - Face Adrenalin's 216m bungy at Bloukrans Bridge tops many a bucket list across the globe and with good reason! It's the world's highest commercial bridge bungy, is a rite of passage for many school-leavers, and has recently added a zipline onto the bridge. Have you faced your fear at Face Adrenalin?


2. Zipline through the canopies of Tsitsikamma's indigenous forest - one of Tsitsikamma's most popular tourist attractions, this family-friendly canopy tour takes place within the Garden Route National Park where visitors fly through the trees at 30m above the forest floor, enjoying the natural surroundings, a bird's eye view and listening for the call of the colourful Knysna Turacco. 


3. Zipline over waterfalls - Tsitsikamma Falls Adventures traverses three beautiful waterfalls in the heart of the Tsitsikamma region. Another family-friendly adventure, visitors zipline from platform to platform, with ziplines as long as 500m for a thrilled, flight-like experience over the falls. 


4. Segway the forest - Segway is a fun, zippy way to explore more of the Tsitsikamma forest, taking in the sights and sounds of the indigenous Afromontane forest. 



5. Blackwater tubing the Storms River Gorge - enjoy a sense of extreme adventure and wonder at your surroundings on a blackwater tubing experience. Offering either a green or red route, which cover either tubing and stand-up paddling the upper sections of the gorge or a thrilling tubing adventure down to the Storms River Mouth, respectively. 


6. Kayak and Lilo - Untouched Adventures' kayak and lilo adventure is an award-winning exploration of the Storms River Gorge from the mouth upstream. Kayakers paddle through the gorge until its impassable, then move onto lilos for a dream-like paddle, swimming and rock-jumping. 


7. Storms River Hike to the waterfall - Still at Storms River Mouth, the waterfall hike is one of many in the national park, and is also one of the most popular. This stretch of coastline is the first section of the world-famous Otter Trail and is a great day hike for those considering the Otter Trail. 


8. Storms River Suspension Bridge Hike - Another of the most popular hikes at the mouth is the suspension bridge hike & it's certainly Tsitsikamma's most Instagrammable location! The walk takes hikers through indigenous forest with lovely flora and birdlife to two suspension bridges across the mouth. If you look down on a clear day, you can see the sandsharks swimming below. 


9. The Otter Trail is a seven-day, six-night hike along the coastline from Storms River Mouth in the east to Nature's Valley in the west. It traverses two provinces and this is some of the most untouched, remarkable coastline you'll see in South Africa. It's known by trail runners and hikers as 'The Grail of Trails'. 


10 The Dolphin Trail traverses a similar section of the Tsitsikamma coastline and is the luxurious younger brother to the Otter Trail. It's better suited to those who prefer their natural surrounds with bundles of comfort. Hikers stay at three-and four-star guesthouses along the way, carrying only their daypacks.


11. The Tsitsikamma Trail is the third brother in this multi-day hiking trifecta. If the Otter and Dolphin trails are booked - which isn't uncommon, the Tsitsikamma Trail offers an elevated hiking adventure through the region. The full hike is six days, however there are two, three, four, and five day trails available. 


12. Regyne Protea Farm - explore fields of South Africa's favourite fynbos: the protea on one of the world's largest commercial protea farms with Oudebosch Protea Farm Tours. This tour showcases the king of the fynbos family and South Africa's national flower from seed and field to packaging and shipping. 


13. Oudebosch Farm Stall is a bit of an institution in the Tsitsikamma region. Located at the Eersterivier turnoff on the eastern edge of Tsitsikamma, the farmstall is a perfect stop for Garden Route travellers offering a delightful gift shop, tourist information, restaurant and coffee shop. Look out for Ginger the farmstall cat, who is always ready to pose for picture. 


14. Marilyn's 60s Diner is another culinary staple of Tsitsikamma culture. Located in the Storms River Village, the diner is brightly decorated in vintage 60s style and you'll have great fun sipping on a legendary milkshake and dressing up in their 60s and 70s outfits. 


15. Tsitsikamma Micro Brewery is also found in the village and offers tastings of beers and ales that are locally manufactured using only natural ingredients. It's a super way to spend a drizzly afternoon.  


16. Striptease Trail at Tsitsikamma Lodge is a fun, tongue-in-cheek hike through the forest visiting a series of lovely rock pools. It's 5km of fun with 11 pools named "Bikini Pool, Bottomless Pool, Topless Pool" - you get the idea...


17. Snorkelling at Eersterivier is fun for the whole family. The pools are deep and clear, filled with anemones, sponges and fishes. Eersterivier is a tiny hamlet on the edge of Tsitsikamma with beautiful beaches and lovely beach houses available for rent. Best enjoyed at mid to low tide. 


18. Scuba diving at Storms River is an immersive experience of Africa's oldest marine protected area and there's a lovely, relatively shallow scuba trail around the bay at the mouth. You can expect to see a variety of reef fishes, rays, colourful reef, and possibly sandsharks. 


19. Cheese-tasting at Fynboschoek will be a delight for foodies and fans of local produce. One can really appreciate the dairy farming of the Tsitsikamma region by tasting, or making, cheese at Fynboschoek. By appointment only. 


20. The Big Tree - the name says it all and it's a fitting end to our bucket list. The Big Tree is an ancient yellowwood that is over 800 years old, measuring 9m in diameter and over 36m high, this behemoth has stood guard over the forest for almost a millenium and is a sight that is nothing short of amazing. 


So, how many can you tick off your Tsitsikamma Bucket List? 

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