Starting from just beyond Keurboomstrand in the west, this narrow coastal belt extends 80km (50 miles) along one of the most beautiful sections of the southern Cape coastline, and includes a marine reserve that stretches 5.5km (3 1/2 miles) out to sea. The craggy, lichen-flecked coastline is cut through with spectacular river gorges, and the cliff surrounds are carpeted in fynbos and dense forest. The fact that the Otter Trail, which takes in the entire coastline, is South Africa's most popular trail gives some indication of its beauty.
Tsitsikamma is roughly divided into two sections: De Vasselot (which incorporates the lovely Nature's Valley) in the west, and Storms River Mouth in the east. There is no direct road linking them, but it's well worth taking the detour off the N2 and visiting both, though Storms River Mouth is the more awesome sight of the two. To reach Nature's Valley, the only settlement in the park, take the scenic R102 or Groot River Pass. Visit the ever-helpful Beefy and Tish, who run a local information center from the Nature's Valley Restaurant, Pub and Trading Store (tel. 044/531-6835; firstname.lastname@example.org) and can help with anything from a weather report to local B&B or self-catering accommodations options.
To visit Storms River Mouth, take the marked turnoff, some 60km (37 miles) from Plettenberg Bay, and travel 10km (6 1/4 miles) toward the coast. (Note: Do not confuse Storms River Mouth with Storms River Village, which is just off the N2 and has nothing much to recommend it.) The gate is open 24 hours, and the entry fee is R88 per adult, and R44 for kids from 2 to 16. You can eat at Tsitsikamma Restaurant (tel. 042/281-1190). At the beginning of the walk to the Storms River Mouth, it has one of the best locations on the entire Garden Route, right on the sea, but features pretty standard fare: a variety of linefish, steak, spareribs, and the like. A better option is to look for the sign just off the N2 (at Tsitsikamma Lodge) for Fynboshoek Cheese (tel. 042/280-3879), where you can enjoy wonderful fixed-menu lunches made and grown by resident cheese maker Alje. There are only 20 seats, and reservations are essential (food is prepared for the number of people expected).