The Dolphin Trail
The Dolphin trail offers luxury-hiking along the Tsitsikamma National Park coastline, a beautiful part of the South African Garden Route.
Tour Code: DT
Depart From: Storms River
| Ending at: Storms River
(Sunday, Monday or Tuesday)
Duration: 4 Days
Country: South Africa
Type: Adventure |
Children: Not Allowed
The Dolphin Trail constitutes three partners; The Tsitsikamma National Park, Misty Mountain Reserve and The Fernery at Forest Ferns.
The two day trail covers a distance of 17km along the pristine Tsitsikamma coastal belt, a narrow plateau
sandwiched between the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Indian Ocean.
All baggage is portered to the overnight destinations, allowing hikers of all ages to experience the unrivalled beauty of the wilderness area on foot. The three nights are spent in 4 star, luxury accommodation, beginning at the Storms River Mouth, winding its way eastward, through natural fynbos, under pristine indigenous forest, over rugged
rocks at the ocean's edge, and ending at the Sanddrift River.
Hikers have stunning views of the rugged Tsitsikamma coastline and the chances of spotting whales,
dolphins and the occasional otter are good.
En route, many birds including the gorgeous Knysna Loerie
(turaco) can be heard and spotted while hiking through the forest, and the endangered Oystercatcher is often to be seen on the shoreline. Swimming and snorkelling in the rock pools is possible at the discretion of the guides.
Health & Clothing
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving within 6 days from infected areas.
Vaccination against typhoid is advised.
Malaria risk, predominantly in the malignant falciparum form, exists throughout the year in the low altitude areas (eastern part) of the Limpopo Province, eastern part of Mpumalanga (including the Kruger National Park) and northeastern KwaZulu/Natal as far south as the Tugela River. The risk is highest from October to May.
Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is endemic in the north and east. Avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water - swimming pools which are chlorinated and maintained are safe.
South Africa’s climate is generally sunny and pleasant. Winters are usually mild, although snow falls on the mountain ranges of the Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State and Natal and occasionally in lower-lying areas, when a brief cold spell can be expected throughout the country.
Required clothing: Lightweight cottons and linens and rainwear for summer. Warmer clothes are needed for winter.
Group size: Guests hike in groups of between 2 and 12 people with either one or two guides.
Trail Closure: The trail is closed from mid December until early January each year.
Level of Fitness: A great deal of the charm of this untamed coastline lies in its rugged and wild nature, and hiking it is therefore not a mere "stroll in the park". It is however achievable by people of all ages who have maintained a reasonable level of fitness and agility, and a relatively active lifestyle. Many walkers who may be discouraged by the need to carry a heavy pack are now able to take the challenge and enjoy what is a strenuous but attainable hike through some of South Africa"s most beautiful scenery.
Age Limit: Due to the nature of the trail we regret that we do not accept bookings for children under the age of 12 years. No upper age limit has been set as it is determined purely by the fitness of the individual. We have had many hikers in their 70"s who have come through with flying colours!
Medical: Although a First Aid kit is carried by the guides, please ensure that any special prescribed medication is carried on your person and that the guides are made aware of any pre-existing conditions.
Day of Arrival
Check in is any time after noon at the Tsitsikamma National Park Reception. Be sure to have your booking form available as this includes your entry to the Park. After moving into the quaint Dolphin Trail chalets you are free to enjoy what remains of the afternoon at your leisure. There are a number of bird and hiking trails, including the start of the Otter Trail, that are well worth walking, or you can take time to put your feet up and relax in one of the most beautiful spots on earth! Lunch is not included in the package but if you are hungry there is a lovely outside pub area that serves a variety of meals.
7pm - Please be at the Restaurant to meet your Dolphin Trail host who will answer any questions you may have, and will give you information regarding the trail. Enjoy your dinner to the sound of pounding waves with a myriad of stars shining above you.
Hiking Day 1
Early risers can enjoy the stunning view of their surroundings and are welcome to go bird watching or walking before breakfast which is served from 8am. Your luggage will be collected any time after 8:45am at your chalets, and you will meet your guides who will be with you for the two days of hiking.
When the group is ready and all drinks bills settled you depart along the boardwalk to Storms River Mouth and the Khoisan Cave. Weather permitting, there will be a 25 minute boat trip into the river gorge. After crossing Storms River Mouth on the suspension bridge, hikers follow a steep and rocky path to the Lookout Point with a magnificent view of the Tsitsikamma National Park. Relax here and enjoy the endless view of the Indian Ocean while keeping your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins.
The hike continues level for a short distance before beginning a long descent through indigenous forest to sea level. This is the perfect place for your picnic lunch, either in the shade of trees at the stream's edge, or on the rocks in the sun. Hikers should take a good break here as the climb up Steilkop (Steep Hill) is quite taxing and follows immediately. Remember that there is no rush so walk slowly and admire the beautiful views as you go. Once you have conquered Steilkop it is a comfortable forest walk to Misty Mountain Reserve.
Arrival time at Misty Mountain depends on the speed of the hikers and the amount of time spent enjoying the magnificent environment. You will be given a warm welcome and can enjoy an ice cold drink or a hot cup of tea before being shown to your luxury chalet with a 180 degree view of the Indian Ocean. At this stage hikers can collapse and relax, making use of the lovely swimming pool or spa bath, or you can take advantage of the opportunity to go bass fishing in the dam. A variety of exotic and local water birds, as well as ostriches, can be seen at close range around the chalets.
6:30pm - Meet at the restaurant for pre-dinner drinks and watch the sun setting over the sea, before dinner is served at 7:30pm.
Hiking Day 2
8:30am - Enjoy a hearty breakfast in the dining room
9:30am - Hikers follow a steep path from their chalets straight down to the rock pools. Today's route is mainly at sea level and the morning walk along the coast is magnificent. Enjoy the beautiful plant life and rocky scenery, and keep your eyes open for the spoor of the Cape Clawless Otter in "Otter's Alley". Swimming and snorkelling are possible in a couple of rock pools en route so please take your swimming gear with you. The guides will carry 2 sterilized snorkelling sets for the use of the group, but if you prefer you can request to purchase a new set at the onset of the trail.
At times you are required to clamber over rocks that are often damp from the sea spray, so please take care.
After a stiff climb up the cliff on to level ground, when you are tired and hungry, you will reach a beautiful spot in the forest - and lunch. Enjoy it and soak up the peace and tranquillity of the magnificent forest before setting off on the last 3 km through indigenous fynbos to Forest Ferns.
Mid-afternoon - Hikers arrive at the Fernery to a well earned drink and are then shown to their beautiful chalets nestled in fynbos along the river. Several activities are available for those who are still feeling energetic, such as boating, cycling and bird watching. A swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna are there for your use, and you are welcome to browse through the Fernery and nursery facilities if you wish.
6:30pm - Hikers will be told on arrival whether dinner is to be served in the Fernery restaurant or at the Lodge. Meet at whichever venue is applicable for pre dinner drinks followed by a delicious 4 course menu d’hôte.
Day of Departure
The weary can sleep in and enjoy the peace of their chalets, and early risers are welcome to go bird watching or visit the fern export operation.
8:30am - Breakfast is served in the Fernery after which the luggage is loaded and you set off on a scenic 4x4 trip through the old Storms River Pass. Before leaving please make sure that you have settled any outstanding bills for the trail.
Noon - Arrival at the Tsitsikamma National Park from where hikers go their separate ways. We hope that you have enjoyed your brief stay in our Tsitsikamma Paradise and look forward to welcoming you back soon ~ The Dolphin Trail partners and staff.
- Hiking boots are recommended although a good pair of trainers is acceptable footwear.
- Two pairs of socks per day (1 thin and 1 thick pair to wear with your boots).
- Suitable hiking gear - the Tsitsikamma is known to have “four seasons in one day”. We recommend short pants for warmer weather and a comfortable pair of long pants and a warm jacket should the weather turn cold.
- Light rain wear.
- Swimming costume.
- Rucksack / Day Pack.
- Walking stick.
- Binoculars for keen birders (a bird book will be carried by the guides).
- Insect repellent and sun block.
- Hat or cap.
- Camera and film.
- Warm, comfortable clothing and shoes for the evenings.
- Cell phone reception (of varying strengths) can be found at the Tsitsikamma National Park, Misty Mountain Reserve and Forest Ferns. While on the trail itself there is often no reception but the guides do have radio contact with Management at all times.
- There is a shop at the Tsitsikamma National Park which sells a large variety of goods including camera film and batteries, drinks, snacks, curios, insect repellent, a selection of clothing, rain ponchos, caps and hiking sticks.
- Hikers wanting to spend extra time in the area either before or after the hike, are welcome to make reservations with any one of the three partners providing Dolphin Trail accommodation.
|4 Day Dolphin Trail
||Valid: 2016-09-01 to 2017-08-31
|Rate Per Adult:
|Rate per Single traveller:
||Rate Per Child:
- All meals, from dinner on the day of arrival, to breakfast on the day of departure.
- The attendance of well trained local guides.
- A 4x4 drive through the old Storms River Pass.
- The transportation of all luggage by vehicle between overnight stops so that guests need hike only with a light pack containing a few personal items.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Services not mentioned.
Terms & Conditions
> 1 month notice Full refund, less 5% administration fee.
1 – 4 weeks notice 50% of deposit will be refunded.
< 1 week notice 100% of deposit will be retained.
Accommodation Pre-tour (10km radius)
Tsitsikamma Lodge and Spa loftily set against the foothills of the Tsitsikamma Mountain range.
||Guest Rating: (15 reviews)
||From: R800.00 per person sharing
Post-tour accommodation (10km radius)
Tsitsikamma Lodge and Spa loftily set against the foothills of the Tsitsikamma Mountain range.