Otter Trail

Otter Trail, Tsitsikamma National Park: Address, Phone Number, Otter Trail Reviews: 5/5

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80 reviews
Very good

Enkoping, Sweden144 contributions
A spectacular hike. One of the best I've ever done.
Dec 2019
I walked this 5-day hike with my wife and three teenage kids, and it was a spectacular and superb experience that I will keep in my heart as one of the best of my life.

The trail is just as wild, colourful and fairy-tale like as the pictures looked. Bring a camera! And a sunhat, ropes and plastic bags for the Bloukrans crossing, perhaps some bathing shoes so you don’t cut your feet.

The time to walk, excluding all time for rest was basically 2 hours day one, 4 hours day 2 and 3, around 6 hours day 4, and 3.5 hours day 5. This may seem very easy, but it is like spending a few hours walking up and down stairs with a heavy backpack, so we had to take some rests, and were tired at the end of each day. I was worried about the Bloukrans river crossing, but for us it was almost too easy. The water didn’t reach our hips, so we could just take the backpacks on our shoulders and walk over. I guess it is a lot more work if there have been heavy rains. I think you should be reasonably fit, but don’t worry. Just keep walking, enjoy the amazing scenery and be happy when you’ve arrived to the huts.

We could safely park the car at the start of the trail at Storms river, they have an allocated parking lot for that. We asked the staff there if they knew someone who could shuttle us back from the end of the trail, and got the number to a nice guy who gave us a good price. We also had a good lunch at the Cattle Baron at Storms river. We never bothered to go to the office at the end of the trail. Instead we just followed the beach to the one and only restaurant in Nature’s valley to get a good lunch, and then called the guy who gave us a ride back to Storms river. Safety from theft etc. felt totally fine. No worries with that. You've got the place for yourself.

We were lucky and had sun most of the time. Bring a sun hat!

There is lots of info to google, but please send my a message if you have any questions.
Written 19 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Nelspruit, South Africa3 contributions
Spectacular views but challenging, epic hike
Jan 2020
The Otter is definitely a bucket list adventure!!! We had spectacular views. It was a challenging hike, with A LOT of stairs up and down. The only negative is that the ablution facilities were not that grate. Our toilets did not work and the mattresses inside the huts were decapitated and torn. SANPARKS need to do regular maintenance.
Written 13 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Durban, South Africa11 contributions
The Chapmans peak of hikes
Oct 2019
Amazing, challenging, adventurous, beautiful!
Don’t think you can just get up off the couch and hike the Otter trail - it requires cardio fitness and strong legs and arms to carry the backpack and you up those steep ascents! However, don’t not try if you haven’t had time to train - just take lots of Deep Heat/ Arnica ice and anti-inflamm tabs because you will feel muscles you never thought you had! It’s absolutely worth the effort and worse comes to worse, you take one of the escape routes... you tried! You’ll also need a head for heights as there are a couple of rock climbs that take you up high... all the better to see dear.
This was our first Otter Hike for the whole group so we found ourselves chasing low tides on day 3 (Lottering 10:50) and day 4 (Bloukrans 11:30). In the end it was the Kleinbos river (!) which gave us the biggest challenge as the flow of water from upstream was quite strong due to previous days rain. We laughed our way through the other 2 biggies. Every day of the year is going to offer up a different set of weather conditions for river crossings and hiking - be prepared and try reach the big rivers round low tide (it helps take the stress out of the event). But worse comes to worse, take the escape... hey - you’re on the Otter, it’s part of the adventure!!
Practical tips:
We all had different priorities when it came to luxury ‘necessities’ - some had a small pillow, some binoculars, some whiskey, some goggles & snorkels (or small swimming goggles) - take what will add to the enjoyment of your experience.... just don’t overpack!
Don’t share toothpaste or Vaseline with someone sleeping in the other cabin - it’s a schlep.
2 thumbs up for water bladder, but take an empty water bottle for practical use around camp
Trek pole - some of the group swore by them and a few put them away. Suggest you take one (safe) and decide on route.
Some of us drank the water without purification drops (we only filled up at the huts) and were fine. If in doubt, rather use them.
If you like taking photos, carry a pouch around your neck to store your phone in for easy access (but remember to cover it in plastic if it rains or water crossings)
Red survival bags for river crossings are so big - we tested 2 backpacks in 1 surv bag across the Bloukrans and it worked fine. Share between 2 and save weight and space on the hike.
Bloubaai (Blue Bay) turnoff is now clearly sign marked. Leave your bags on the trail, put your lunch in a small bag and carry it down to the beach. Lovely spot.
It’s not a bad thing if you get to the huts early on a few days - you can chill, wash & recover in a beautiful setting.
By the way, crows can open your top zipper, open your marshmallow packet and fly off with your booty.
Did I mention we saw an Otter?? Day 3 Elandsbos River. JUST DO IT!!
Written 4 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Pretoria, South Africa39 contributions
Challenging Adventure, Astonishingly Beatiful
Jul 2019 • Friends
It's hard to put into words the experience we had on this hike. Being a South African who grew up a mere stone's throw down the coast, I could not believe that what we were hiking through was in South Africa, never mind in the middle of what was supposed to be a wet winter. The weather was very good and we only wore jackets at night around our fire, while talking about the day's adventures and what tomorrow would hold. The trail has so much to offer, from almost tropical forests, to breathtaking cliffs, valleys, beaches, you name it. We saw a number bushbuck, whales, dolphins, as well as a rare sighting of an otter on one of the hidden beaches (check day 3 for a detour of the normal route). Day 2 is definitely the most diverse in terms of what it has to offer and was my favorite by far. Take the time to explore the available detours on day 2 and 3, as they are well worth it. But plan ahead as the trail is not an easy one and it can take longer than planned to complete a day's hike. The most important day in terms of planning is day 4, since you will then have to cross the big Bloukrans River. This crossing should definitely be done as close to low tide as possible, especially if you are not a great swimmer. The terrain after this crossing is also not easy hiking, so be prepared. The other rivers are not as big of a concern, and actually offer great spots to have lunch/breakfast along the trail.

Wish I could do it again tomorrow, definitely worth the effort.
Written 5 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Durbanville, South Africa3 contributions
Bucket List Must
Feb 2019
Most amazing hike ever, from glow worms, to fireflies, otters, dolphins and breathtaking views. This hike takes you away from all you know and dwells in your thoughts for weeks after. I'm definitely doing it again.
Written 3 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jacqui Freeman
14 contributions
Unbelievable Otter Trail Experience
Feb 2019 • Friends
What an incredible experience. Magnificent views and challenging hiking. Don't come unprepared. Train hard, make sure you are fit and prepared with good quality gear and the right food. Hiking Pole is a must! Was not easy to fill up water along the way as streams were empty so make sure you have plenty of water in a bladder. Absolute treat! Highly recommend this magical experience.
Written 26 February 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alain D
Gansbaai, South Africa9 contributions
An iconic experience
Jan 2019
This hike should be compulsory for all South Africans! Absolutely stunning locations and through incredible areas.

Its challenging but everyone that does some prep will be able to complete.

My highlight was to domesticated bushbuck that hang around the overnight huts. Keep an eye out for leopard scratch trees along the way!
Written 28 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bristol, UK6 065 contributions
To the waterfall...
Sep 2018 • Friends
The first part of the otter trail can be undertaken as part of the day permit paid for when you enter the park.
People that have the permit to hike the full trail start at the main gate and hike down to where the first inlet is from the sea, where the boulders and rocks are clearly visible when the tide is out.
Those with the day hike permit can take the waterfall hike, along the wooded trail, through a small meadow, taking on the boulders and then gaining further elevation along testing trails to the waterfall, 3-4 hours return.
Beautiful scenery all the way and a must do when in Tsitsikamma.
Written 22 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Centurion, South Africa21 contributions
Amazing Nature
Sep 2018 • Friends
My second Otter hike, the last one was 20 years ago... and it was again amazing. It is challenging if you are not fit or getting older, bur so worth it. If only the reception at the start was friendlier?
Written 25 September 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Pretoria, South Africa52 contributions
Bucketlist hiking!
Mar 2018 • Friends
The Otter is a challenge, kid no man! And not something to be taken on lightly, but for those brave souls that do it: A near live changing experience, sleeping in huts on the most beautiful coastline in South Africa (maybe the world?). You will fight yourself to climb the cliffs and cross the rivers, but in the end you will enjoy a beer in Nature's Valley and look back, smiling contently, at achieving something few dream to do. The path is well marked out, and the cottages are clean and well supplied with wood. A great way to spend 5 days with 11 friends and come back a changed person
Written 25 June 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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