Age allowed and fitness
- The age restrictions of 12 (minimum age) and 65 (maximum age) years are used as an indicative ages, due to the level of physical demands of the Otter Trail.
- All hikers from the ages of 65 and above will be requested to produce a recent doctor’s certificate that confirms their fitness level to undertake the challenging terrain of the Otter Trail.
- All young hikers below 12 years of age should be accompanied by their parents/guardians who will be legal signatories to SANParks Indemnity Form to be submitted with copies of their identity document or passport at the Tsitsikamma reception desk before undertaking the Otter Trail.
Distances and Durations
The trail is 5 days and 4 nights. The following distances and durations are as follows:
- Day 1 = 4.8km (± 2 hours)
- Day 2 = 7.9km (± 4 hours)
- Day 3 = 7.7km (± 4 hours)
- Day 4 = 13.8km (± 6 hours)
- Day 5 = 6.8km (± 3 hours)
- Total Distance = 42.5km
Distances are indicated per kilometer for each day on the Otter Trail Map that is available on sale in the park - Otter Trail Map.
There are numerous streams and springs throughout the length of the Otter Trail that are suitable for drinking purposes. However, it may be wise to use purification tablets especially if you are not used to this water and where streams/rivers pass through communities such as the Coldstream\Witels River (3.6km mark of the 4th day) and the Lottering River (7.5km mark of the 4th day). There are rainwater tanks at each overnight hut that may also be used. However, due to erratic rainfall patterns, the level of these tanks may be low from time to time.
Firewood is provided, however it is not covered from rain and therefore may be wet. Hikers are required to carry their share of wood from a woodpile, close by on the trail. However, it sometimes happens that there is a buildup of excess wood not used by previous hikers that is placed under the steps of the huts, which is usually dry.
Each hut has a braai place with a sturdy steel grid. Within each hut there is a table on which food can be prepared. Hikers need to provide their own gas stoves and pots for cooking.
There are two huts and a single toilet at each overnight stop. Each of the two huts contains 6 beds with mattresses – hikers must provide their own blankets/pillows/sleeping bags etc. Rubbish bins are provided at each of the overnight stops. Field rangers remove the rubbish regularly. There are benches present. Please only use biodegradable soaps on the trail.
It is important to be aware of the dates and the times of the high and low tides prior to hiking the Otter Trail. This is especially important when it comes to crossing the bigger rivers such as the Elandsbos and the Bloukrans Rivers.
The Bloukrans River Crossing
The Bloukrans River crossing is on the 4th day of the Otter Trail. It is approximately 10km from Oakhurst Hut that takes about four and half hours (4.5) to reach. This river is best crossed during low tide. Once the river has been crossed it is approximately another 3.8km (two and a half hours) to the next overnight stop. It is wise to arrive well before low tide, so that enough time is available to plan your crossing.
If you are unable to cross the river, you can take the escape route labeled E6. This escape route branches to the right of the trail just before the Otter Trail descends to the Bloukrans River Mouth. The escape route climbs steeply to the top of the plateau where it leads to the N2. To reach the N2, it will take approximately 2 hours.
Safety items that can be included are the following:
- Small First Aid kit
- Survival Bag
- Thermal blanket
- Map of Trail
Cellphones and Reception
It is advisable that a cellphone is taken together with the following numbers:
- Storms River Police - 10111
- Park Headquarters - (042) 28 11 607
Cellphone reception is intermittent along the Otter Trail. Reception may be picked up when the trail reaches up onto the plateau or when the coastline juts out to sea. There is no reception at the overnight huts.
- Have a look at the Otter Trail tariffs.
- Before you make a booking - why not check availability for the Otter Trail.
There are several escape routes that lead to the top of the plateau where there are access routes that lead to the N2. The escape routes are indicated as E 1 – 6 on the map. Cellphone reception may be reached here.
Want to read more about the Otter Trail
- A useful guide to the Otter Trail by Alex Jordaan: The Definitive Otter Trail Guide
- A book has been published outlining the Otter Trail as well as the Dolphin Trail, titled: "Tsitsikamma National Park: Otter Hiking Trail and Storms River Rest Camp - A Photographic Souvenior" - read more
- Telephone: +27 (0) 12 426 5111
- Fax: +27 (0) 12 343 0905
View and download maps.