The recently upgraded Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail, which has achieved Green Flag Status, provides hikers with a unique and challenging five-day adventure through forests, river gorges and beaches in the southern Cape.
The Trail was recently revamped by the MTO Group, custodians of the area, through its extensive forestry operations stretching from Tokai in the Cape to Longmore, south of Jefferies Bay. All five of the overnight huts on the trail have been upgraded, but retain a rustic charm with basic conveniences and maximum enjoyment.
Though the trail is known for its distance and difficulty and attracts fit hikers, portage services are available to carry supplies for visitors from hut to hut, a good option for family groups not keen on walking with heavy backpacks.
The truly hardcore can also consider combining the Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail with the nearby Otter Trail.
Lawrence Polkinghorne, CEO of the MTO Group, says hikers tackling the trail will enjoy a unique nature experience, while also providing a boost for local communities.
“Visitors are encouraged to shop locally and MTO employ resident communities to maintain the trails. Local educational tours of the area can also be arranged,” he said.
Situated in the Tsitsikamma mountains, running along the borders of the Western and Eastern Cape, the five-day MTO Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail is a hiker’s dream. It includes beaches, rivers and breathtaking views across rolling vistas. One can also enjoy the local wildlife, which includes wild bushbuck, fish eagles, honey badgers, vervet monkeys and even some shy predators.
The Tsitsikamma contains about 42% of the animal species of southern Africa and is home to over 1 700 plant species, 24 reptiles and 305 species of birds.
The green flag status system is officiated by the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA) and ensures hiking trails meet standards in terms of ‘trail outlay, accommodation, facilities and service, as well as the conservation of natural resources.