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Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area

Garden Route locals will attest that Tsitsikamma has earned its title as the “Garden of the Garden Route” adding even more diversity to the exceptional elements that make up South Africa’s profound coastal and ocean ecosystems. Welcoming travellers from all over the world from one season to the next, Tsitsikamma never fails to capture the hearts of all who experience its splendour, while also being a popular destination to experience an array of adventure activities!

As the oldest marine protected area (MPA) in Africa, the Tsitsikamma MPA of the Garden Route is considered vitally important and is home to an extensive concentration of colourful and alluring marine life. As a marine protected area, there are strict regulations in place to ensure the protection of endangered or depleting species that have made their home in the ocean waters surrounding Tsitsikamma. It is important that the long term conservation and viability of the area’s natural assets remain in place, which is helped by preventing too much outside activity or human interference.

There are a range of thrilling attractions to be enjoyed while spending time in Tsitsikamma, in addition to taking in the area’s spectacular natural beauty. Hiking is a popular activity here, with the 5 day Otter Trail often being booked months or even years in advance. Soak up the African sunshine at the coast for whale or dolphin watching opportunities. For those seeking the ultimate adventure activity in the Garden Route, the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours are the perfect adrenaline rush, while this location is world renowned for activities like snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, and mountain biking or climbing. Tsitsikamma’s Bloukrans Bridge Bungy is one of the highest commercial bungy jumps in the world and the memory will stay with you forever! Enjoy fascinating marine life encounters, embrace the feeling of the forest and break away from the stresses of life to enjoy your vacation in this incredible setting.

While certain regulations do exist within the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area , tourists are still welcome and can experience a range of activities during their time here – in fact, the Tsitsikamma MPA has been referred to by many as the marine equivalent of the famous Kruger National Park game reserve, resonating with travellers for its marvellous and vibrant underwater heritage. The beautiful and outstretched coastline of Tsitsikamma is a sight to behold, with a striking rocky shoreline and backdrop of forest. Many travellers enjoy their Garden Route holiday accommodation in Tsitsikamma, where the surroundings forest, fynbos and fresh ocean air create a tranquil and naturally enhanced experience.

The unique marine protected area of Tsitsikamma extends about 60 km’s, starting from Groot Rivier East and extending all the way to Groot Rivier West near Nature’s Valley. Species of bird like African black oyster catchers, kelp gulls, cormorants and pied and giant kingfishers can be spotted at tidal pools or around the rivers that flow into the Indian Ocean.

Over 200 species from 84 families of fish, sharks and rays can be found in the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area from the endangered or red data list, including many of South Africa’s linefish species and species that are listed on the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative, as well as the black musselcracker. With the Tsitsikamma MPA overseeing activities like fishing, the survival of these threatened species are in good hands. The result is a coastline of unsurpassed beauty, attracting tourists and making for exciting macro or underwater photography.

Discover some of the magnificent Garden Route National Parks that form part of South Africa’s Southern Coast. Our Hello Garden Route accommodation options in Tsitsikamma include a selection of lovely guesthouses, self-catering apartments, beachfront homes and exclusive villas! We can also assist you in arranging a car rental.


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