About Otter Trail

Established in 1968, the world-famous Otter Trail is, undoubtedly, the best known and most popular of the South African hiking trails. In fact, this trail has been esteemed by many of those that have tackled it as one of the best and most beautiful trails in the world.

Did you know? The Otter Trail is named for the Cape Clawless Otter which occurs in this region.

The exquisite course of the Otter Trail is just less than 45 kilometres long, and follows the spectacular coastline of the Garden Route. It stretches from Storms River Mouth in the Eastern Cape to Nature's Valley in the Tsitsikamma National Park of the Western Cape.

The Otter Trail takes five days to complete and follows the rugged, rocky shoreline ranging in elevation from sea level to a height of more than 150 metres. Most of the trail follows cliff tops, which plunge to sea level to allow the hikers to cross the scenic rivers. These rivers and the springs can be used as a source of drinking water, but purification tablets are recommended. On the second day of the hike, the water is not suitable for drinking.

The Otter Trail is a challenging one. There are steep inclines and rough terrain, and hours of hiking each day. Day four is the most challenging, with 13.8 kilometres to cover, which takes about six hours. So, the Otter Trail is suitable for hikers that are 12 years and older and are fairly fit.

The trail is divided across five days and four nights

Day 1: 4.8 kilometres (about 2 hours)
Day 2: 7.9 kilometres (about 4 hours)
Day 3: 7.7 kilometres (about 4 hours)
Day 4: 13.8 kilometres (about 6 hours)
Day 5: 6.8 kilometres (about 3 hours)

At the end of each day, hikers will arrive at two rustic huts, which are equipped with outdoor braai (barbecue) facilities, dustbins, benches, and a single toilet. Each of the huts has six single beds with mattresses. Hikers need to bring their own pillows, linen and biodegradable soaps and shampoos; as well as any additional gas stoves, pots or pans. Each hut also has its own rainfall tank, which is well-filled if there have been good rains.

There is no cell phone reception along the trail, but hikers should bring their phones along, as they will get reception at the top of the escape route. Other recommended items that should be included in your backpack include a rope, a map, a small first-aid kit, emergency food, and a thermal blanket.

Book your spot on this renowned and unforgettable trail well in advance to avoid disappointment. These bookings can be made via South African National Parks and for places to stay before and after the trail see Plettenberg Bay accommodation or Places to Stay in Tsitsikamma.

Need to Know

WhereHike from Storms River Mouth to Nature's Valley in the Tsitsikamma National Park.

WhenThe Otter Trail is open 364 days of the year, closed Christmas Day

TelephoneSAN Parks on +27 (0)12 426-5111

OvernightStay in Tsitsikamma Accommodation, Garden Route

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