The Storms River Mouth hiking trails are located in South Africa’s beautiful Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park. With a variety of trails that cater to all levels of hikers, the region has a combination of the most magnificent coastal scenery as well as pristine, indigenous forest trails. Storms River Mouth is also well-known to hikers as the beginning of the famous Otter Trail, a tough, multi-day hike that goes along the rocky coastline all the way to Nature’s Valley.
- Tsitsikamma National Park: The gateway to Storms River Mouth
- Hiking Trails at Storms River Mouth
- Tips for a Memorable Hiking Experience
- Where to Stay in Tsitsikamma (Storms River Mouth)
Tsitsikamma National Park: The gateway to Storms River Mouth
Useful information for visiting Storms River Mouth
Getting to Storms River Mouth: Storms River Mouth is easily accessible by car via a tarred road from the N2 National freeway, located approximately 10 kilometers from the Storms River Village. You can also arrive via the nearby George Airport, which offers regular flights from major South African cities.
Opening and Closing Times: The park gates open at 8 am and close at 5 pm for day visitors. So, make sure to allow enough time to complete and enjoy the trail(s).
Fees: Because Storms River Mouth is part of the National Park, you will need to pay a daily conservation fee to enter the region. The fee is payable when entering the Tsitsikamma section of The Garden Route National Park. For current tariffs, visit SANPARK’S OFFICIAL PAGE. Once you have paid the entrance fee, there is no additional cost for any of the hiking trails.
Top Tip #1: If you stay at the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, you just pay the entrance fee once. But for day visitors, each new day comes with a conservation fee, and you need to stick to the gate opening and closing times.
Top Tip #2: If you’re on a budget, begin your day early and explore as many trails as you can during the main gate’s opening and closing hours. We managed to complete three out of four trails in one day and even had time for the Big Tree just outside the park. However, it felt a bit hurried. So, my advice is to take it slow and enjoy the region’s beauty by exploring only two trails in the park.
Reaching the starting point for Storms River Mouth hiking trails
After passing through the main gate, access the trails by making the first right turn at the Otter Trail Caravan site entrance. Subsequently, you’ll arrive at a designated parking area where you can securely leave your vehicle for the day.
Hiking Trails at Storms River Mouth
Starting from the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, there are four hiking trails to explore, with distances ranging from 1 to 6 kilometers. These include the circular Mouth Trail leading to the suspension bridge over the Storms River Mouth (2 kilometers, 1 hour), the Lourie Trail meandering through the forest (1 kilometer, 1 hour), the longer Blue Duiker Trail taking you deeper into the forest (3.7 kilometers, 2 hours), and the Waterfall Trail (6 kilometers, 3 hours), leading to a beautiful waterfall along the initial stretch of the Otter Trail’s first day route.
The Mouth Trail
- Level: Easy, suitable for families with children
- Distance and time (round trip): 2 km, 1 hour
The mostly flat walk follows a wooden boardwalk through the forest to the Storms River Mouth. Along the way, you are rewarded with stunning views of the river mouth, ocean and rugged cliffs. The trail also leads to the iconic suspension bridge, a must-see attraction in the region.
The Loerie Trail
- Level: Easy, suitable for families with children
- Distance and time: 1km, 1 hour round trip
This easy 1km trail through the forest reaches the Agulhas lookout point after a short uphill climb. Then, the trail takes you through a short stretch of fynbos before leading you further into the coastal forest.
The Blue Duiker Trail
- Level: Easy – Moderate, suitable for families
- Distance and time: 3.7km, 2-3 hours
A slightly longer version of the Lourie Trail, the Blue Duiker Trail offers hikers the opportunity to venture deeper into the coastal forest and enjoy scenic views of the Indian Ocean along the way. The trail is named after the blue duiker, a small antelope species found in the area.
The Waterfall Trail
- Level: Moderate to Difficult, be cautious if travelling with children as rocks can be slippery
- Time and Distance (round trip): 6km, 4-5 hours
The first 3 kilometers of the circular Waterfall trail are in fact part of the popular Otter Trail, a multi-day hike that stretches all the way to Natures Valley. After walking along the rocky coast, you will eventually reach a waterfall that flows into the ocean. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit for a refreshing dip in the waterfall! The walk to the waterfall and back takes around 1½ hours each way (provided you are relatively fit and confident on boulders!). Importantly, be extra cautious during the high tide as the trail can become even more challenging then.
Storms River Mouth in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park is a fantastic destination for both nature lovers and hikers. Whether you prefer an easy walk or a more challenging hike, the region provides an opportunity to explore South Africa’s breathtaking natural landscapes along the famous Garden Route Drive.
Tips for a Memorable Hiking Experience
- Pack Essentials: Bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat, and appropriate hiking gear. Insect repellent can also be useful in the forested areas.
- Respect the Environment: Stay on marked trails, avoid littering, and keep noise levels down to appreciate the tranquility of the park.
- Wildlife Awareness: While rare, you might encounter wildlife like bushbuck and monkeys. Do not feed them, as this disrupts their natural behavior.
- Check Weather Conditions: Weather can change rapidly in this region, so check the forecast before heading out. Always prioritize safety.
Where to Stay in Tsitsikamma (Storms River Mouth)
Within the Tsitsikamma region, you’ll find ample accommodation options, including campsites, backpackers, lodges and Farmstays. The three main areas that are popular for travellers to stay at when visting the region are as follows:
1. Storms River Mouth Rest Camp
The Storms River Mouth Rest Camp is the closest location to the trails and lies WITHIN the National Park itself. The camp offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. These options include self-catering chalets, forest huts, and campsites.
2. Storms River Village
Storms River Village is conveniently located just a 15-minute drive from the Storms River Mouth Restcamp and hiking trails. It’s my top choice for accommodation due to the abundance of restaurants and cafes in the vicinity. Even though Storms River Village is not within the National Park, it provides various lodging choices, dining venues, and activities for visitors. You can choose from guest houses, bed and breakfasts, self-catering cottages, farm stays, and backpacker hostels.
‘Beautiful Garden Cottage’ is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a farm stay in the village. Quiet but conveniently located on the edge of the village, its fully self-catering and comfortably sleeps 6 people.
3. The Tsitsikamma Region
The surrounding Tsitsikamma region is an excellent choice, especially if you’re on a budget. That said, there are also plenty of high-end luxury establishments in the region, so there are options for every budget and preference. Amperda Cottages are a superb budget-friendly option that is only a 20-25 minute drive from the Storms River Rest Camp and trails.