Located in the Tsitsikamma Forest of the Eastern Cape portion of South Africa’s Garden Route, the Big Tree is a remarkable Yellowwood Tree that stands tall and mighty among the forest giants. It is, in fact, one of the largest and oldest trees in South Africa. This impressive status make it a well-loved attraction in the region.
Important things to know before visiting
Distance and Time: From the entrance gate, you can reach the Big Tree within a10 minute walk along a wooden boardwalk through the forest.
Fees: Visitors need to pay a daily conservation fee. As of October 2023, South African residents pay R24 per adult and R14 per child ages 2-11 year old. The fee for Internationals is R72 per adult and R36 per child ages 2-11. To enquire about current rates, email email@example.com
Opening and Closing times: Hours are from 08h00am to 17h00pm throughout the year.
About the Big Tree
The Big Tree is an excellent example of a Yellowwood tree (Podocarpus latifolius). Yellowwoods are native to South Africa and are known for both their enormous size and longevity. The tree stands at a staggering height of 36.6 meters (120 feet) with a girth of 8.2 meters (27 feet) at its widest point. What’s more, Scientists believe the tree is between 600 and 800 years old!
A visit to the Big Tree
After paying the entrance fee, take a relaxed 500-meter walk through the forest. The path is a well-kept boardwalk, perfect for kids and an easy stroll for everyone. The smells and sounds of the forest around you are just so pretty!
As I stand in front of the Big Tree in Tsitsikamma, I’m amazed at how big it actually is. In fact, the towering Yellowwood tree seems to touch the sky, giving it a sense of guardianship over the forest.
If you’re excited to see more of the forest, then there are longer hiking trails available, too. You can choose between two trails, one that’s 4.6 kilometers long and another that’s 2.6 kilometers long. These paths offer a chance to explore deeper into the woods, discovering more of the natural beauty along the way.
After admiring the tree for quite some time, we made our way back to the entrance. We followed the same path we took to get there.
In summary, the Big Tree in Tsitsikamma is a marvelous natural wonder. Its easy accessibility from the main road makes it a must-see destination during your Garden Route road trip.
A helpful tip for visiting the Big Tree
Entrance is included with the conservation fee for entering Storms River Mouth, provided you visit all the attractions on the same day. Before visiting the Big Tree, we managed to complete the Waterfall Trail, the Blue Duiker Trail, the Suspension Bridge (Mouth) Trail at Storms River Mouth and then STILL get to the Big Tree before closing time. That said, it did feel hurried but is manageable if you’re on a time and money budget.
DISCLOSURE: I have no commercial relationship with Sanparks or any of their affiliates. All photographs, experiences and opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.