Things To Do in Natures ValleyDe Vasselot Hikes of the Tsitsikamma
Where? De Vasselot Nature Reserve, Natures Valley, Tsitsikamma, Garden Route
When? Best during daylight hours.
How much? Free
Start: De Vasselot Nature Reserve, Nature's Valley
Finish: De Vasselot Nature Reserve, Nature's Valley
Duration: 4.8 to 17 km
Fitness: easy to difficult
Our tip: stay overnight in Nature's Valley
De Vasselot lies on the western edge of the Tsitsikamma National Park, incorporated into the park in 1987, and named after the country's first professional forester who served as Superintendent of Woods and Forests of the Cape Colony. It is probably due largely to him that these forests remain.
There are a series of six circular and open-ended trails that pass through coastal scrub forest, fynbos vegetation and high indigenous forest.
1. Groot River Trail is a circular, 6 km trail on the eastern banks of the Groot River that follows the river to its mouth and on to the beach as far as The Gully. The trail then links up with the end of Otter Trail, but in reverse. It heads out to the Point from where there are incredible views along the coast. On the return the trail crosses the mouth of the river, returning on the opposite bank.
2. Kalanderkloof Trail starts opposite the entrance to the campsite and heads up through indigenous forest (hence the trail's name after the Outeniqua yellowwood) before exiting into fynbos with views across the lagoon and the surrounding kloofs. Return in a circle through indigenous forest along the kloof. The trail is 4.8 km
3. Salt River Mouth trail climbs through scrub forest up to a viewpoint before joining a jeep track and heading to the Salt River. The 9km circular trail heads back through scrub forest, past Pebble Beach.
4. Salt River via Keurpad starts on the same path as Kalanderkloof but once at the viewpoint it continues to the head of kalanderkloof. The trail then crosses R102 heading through fynbos along the Keurpad Route, named after a series of blossom trees called keurbome in Afrikaans. Cross the Salt River and link up with Rugpad, which heads though indigenous forest to the Salt River mouth. Return along the coastline to Nature's Valley to complete the circular 15 km trail.
5. The Crags via Brak River follows the Salt River Route across the Salt River. Further on is a jeep track along the Brak River Route, which joins up with a gravel road and on to the SANP ranger's house. This is an open-ended 17 km trail.
6. Varinghoek via Keurpad leaves the picnic site on the Plettenberg Bay side of the Groot River Pass and heads through indigenous forest until you reach the Keurpad. This portion of the route is largely through fynbos, along the banks of the Brak River. The 16 km circular route ends with a climb from the Salt River back to the start.