Mountain trail offers unique experience

2018-05-17 06:01
TOP: The five-day MTO Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail is a hiker’s dream. It includes beaches, rivers and breathtaking views across rolling vistas.        Photos:SUPPLIED

TOP: The five-day MTO Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail is a hiker’s dream. It includes beaches, rivers and breathtaking views across rolling vistas. Photos:SUPPLIED

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FEATURING upgraded huts and portage services to carry supplies for visitors the Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail - having been awarded the Green Flag Status for a trail under excellent management - not only supports local communities but gives visitors from near and far a unique nature experience.

Tsitsikamma means ‘place of many waters’ in the Khoisan language and offers one of the country’s special destinations and experiences. The Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail was recently revamped by the MTO Group, custodians of the area, through its extensive forestry operations, spanning from Tokai in the Cape to Longmore south of Jefferies Bay. All five of the huts on the trail have been upgraded but retain a rustic and outdoorsy experience with basic conveniences and maximum enjoyment.

Though the trail is known for its distance and difficulty, portage services are on hand to carry supplies for visitors from hut to hut, making the trail an option for those not keen on walking with a backpack! ‘Slackpacking’ options allow for families to enjoy the hike. The truly hardcore can also consider combining the Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail with the nearby Otter Trail.

Lawrence Polkinghorne, CEO of the MTO Group, says by bringing this remarkable trail back into the limelight, it will help to create a boost to local communities. “Visitors are encouraged to shop locally and MTO employ resident communities to maintain the trails. Local educational tours of the area are also frequently arranged, with facilities that cater for anything from single travellers to large groups. It is time for the rest of South Africa, and the world, to discover the unique Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail.”

Situated in the Tsitsikamma mountains, running along the borders of the Western and Eastern Cape, the five-day MTO Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail is a hiker’s dream. It includes beaches, rivers and breathtaking views across rolling vistas. One can also enjoy the local wildlife, which includes wild bush buck, fish eagles, honey badgers, vervet monkeys and even some shy predators. The Tsitsikamma contains about 42% of the animal species of southern Africa and is home to over 1700 plant species, 24 reptiles and 305 species of birds.

“From the ocean to the mountains, there is no other trail like this; recently upgraded, the trail is in stunning condition and offers tourists an exceptional experience. It truly is world-class and internally it’s dubbed by us as the 8th wonder of the world. South Africa has no shortage of unique natural wonders, but this trail stands out from the rest, it offers something unique for everyone. It is so important to reconnect with the land; in today’s crazy schedule we often forget to make time to recoup and recharge so take time out to discover one of South Africa’s greatest gifts to her people; the abundance of beauty and captivating vistas will be etched in your memories forever,” says Polkinghome.

The green flag status system is officiated by the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA) and ensures hiking trails meet standards in terms of ‘trail outlay, accommodation, facilities and service, as well as the conservation of natural resources.

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