After leaving Knysna where I finally got to meet fellow blogger Jo I backtracked to Storms River Mouth Tsitsikamma National Park. No, not to go ziplining again, but to just enjoy this exquisite coastline for a couple of days.
During my 2010 visit I spent a few rushed hours at Tsitsikamma and promised myself a return.
I called ahead and booked a chalet requesting a porch view of the Indian Ocean. This was not the most expensive option but definitely more than I usually spend. But then it did come with all the comforts, and I deserved it.
After checking in I went to lunch enjoying the view where Storms River Mouth meets the sea.
I wanted to relish a lazy day so only went for a little afternoon walk along the rocky shore.
Then returned to my chalet and spent the evening watching the waves.
Plus a few birds.
And a glorious sunset.
I loved it so much that after choosing another chalet, for a few dollars less even closer to the beach, was able to reserve for another night.
Taking a hike
Having to wait until afternoon to move into my beachfront chalet I decided to take a short hike to the suspension bridges on The Mouth Trail. Only a few steps from the beach located below the restaurant where the trail begins, a small waterfall trickles into a shallow pool surrounded by the dense forest.
Most of the trail is raised boardwalk which I respect for the land even though I like my feet on the ground.
Thick and almost impenetrable lush growth covers the rocky landscape not far from the shore.
After many scattered views of Storms River flowing into the Indian Ocean the trail abruptly opens to steep steps, down to the suspension bridges.
I’m OK with heights and bridges where I walk softly with frequent stops to enjoy the experience and view.
But I don’t appreciate when mutual walkers on the bridge decide it’s fun to make it rock, usually in an attempt to scare their hiking companion. (Read guy and girlfriend.) Makes it very difficult to take sharp photos. Long enough and I’d feel seasick. Looking up Storms River reminded me of another view I’d seen of this narrow gorge from the Paul Sauer Bridge.
The escarpment on either side of the river reaches a height of 590 feet (180 m) and the Viewpoint Trail continues 1.24 miles (2 km) up to a lookout point on the plateau which I decided to pass on.
Instead I marveled at the cobblestone beach, driftwood, tiny life, and the water.
Park information says this .62 mile (1 km) loop trail will take 40 minutes and I took almost three hours with stops for views and photos, even pointing out small and not so small things along the trail to seemingly unobservant trail walkers.
I don’t walk trails just to walk or mark off my list. It’s not necessarily about the destination, as the journey along the way is always filled with marvels and exclamations.
Endless wave action
Mostly I sat on the chalet balcony absorbing the ocean’s energy. The crashing waves captivated me for hours, and 1000s of photos trying to catch the splashing waves, the light, the curl, the color.
I don’t really care to swim in the salt water, just listen and watch.
I watched the sun set and rise as wind blew mist off the cresting waves.
My company included seagulls and dassies, or rock hyrax.
And the constantly crashing waves.
Over breakfast on the balcony I watched dolphins frolic just off shore and one sea otter made an appearance in the distance.
After many days of hectic travel I found myself thoroughly relaxed from the healing energy of the sea.
Services and activities
SANParks offers Several options for accommodations and camping within the park. The souvenir shop also sells some basic groceries and the restaurant has a varied and not overly expensive menu with seating indoors or out.
There are several more trails I didn’t take including the famous Otter Trail, a five day walk of 26.4 miles (42.5 km), and the Waterfall trail along the first half day of the Otter trail at 3.9 miles (6.4 km) round trip. But I’ll be back.
Plus many other activities offered in the surrounding area and other parts of Tsitsikamma National Park. This would make a great vacation destination and I could just hang out around this area for weeks.
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