Natures Valley is a must for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers exploring South Africa’s scenic Garden Route. This guide highlights everything you need to know about visiting Natures Valley Tsitsikamma for the first time. Plus all my pro tips to explore this hidden gem hassle-free.
Natures Valley is tranquil oasis neatly nestled in the dense Tsitsikamma forest along the untamed coastline of the Garden Route. Despite marking the end of one of South Africa’s most renowned treks, The Otter Trail, Natures Valley remains a relatively peaceful and secluded destination.
Besides soaking up the incredible views, it’s also the perfect place to relax. Here you can take gentle strolls along the lagoon, follow one of the many hiking trails or head to the beach where you’re likely to spot dolphins or whales frolicking nearby.
Natures Valley is a great day trip destination thanks to its proximity to some of the Garden Route’s best gems – Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and Storms River Mounth are all just a short drive away. The area is renowned for its tranquillity, and the perfect spot to surround yourself with pristine nature and stunning wildlife. Here’s my first timer’s guide on what to do in Natures Valley, where to stay in Natures Valley and how to get to Natures Valley.
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What to do in Natures Valley Tsitsikamma
Hit Natures Valley Beach
Any visit to Natures Valley would not be complete without hitting the beach. Many quick paths lead to the beach along Micheals Avenue, but the most accessible entrance is right in front of the Trading Post Restaurant. (See this map here).
Drinking up the views, watching whales and dolphins frolicking nearby or having a swim in the Indian Ocean are must-do activities when visiting here. However, you should know that lifeguards will likely only be stationed here during peak season (December-January). The beach is quite rocky, too, so it’s best to swim in the designated areas to ensure your safety.
Hiking in Natures Valley Tsitsikamma
There are many scenic hikes near Natures Valley all offering terrific views of lush forests, rugged cliffs, and untouched coastline. Besides enjoying a gentle stroll along the beach and the lagoon, a few forest trails await more serious hikers.
The most noteworthy hike in the area is the Otter Trail which ends in Natures Valley. Other trails not to miss is the Tsitsikamma hiking trail and the Natures Valley Salt river hike. The Salt river hike is however a bit tricky, so work on 3 to 6 hours to complete this hike (depending on your fitness level).
Top Tips: Hiking in the Tsitsikamma Forest is a unique experience, but please remember that this is an untamed slice of South Africa. Venomous snakes, baboons, and other potentially dangerous wildlife aren’t uncommon in these parts, so be sure to tread carefully. Being mindful of the environment is another must in order to safeguard this beautiful area.
Here are some popular activities I recommend you also try out nearby.
Try some Water Sports
Natures Valley is an excellent location to try out some fun water sports. From swimming, sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving there’s something for everyone here.
Canoeing down the Groot river is one of the most popular activities to enjoy on your visit here and a terrific way to get to know the area. The estuary forms a beautiful lagoon which is popular with locals and holiday makers alike. Rent a canoe near the lagoon’s parking lot and get to know the area at your own pace.
Have a Picnic
Natures Valley is the perfect spot for a picnic. If you don’t want to have a picnic on the beach, there are several scenic spots before entering the village. From the pass, turn left into Lagoon Drive. After a short drive, you’ll start spotting cute enclaves hidden among the Tsitsikamma forest. Most of these stopping areas have tables where you can sit down and enjoy a meal.
Top Tip: Although Natures Valley is a very safe travel destination, please remember to always be aware of your surroundings. If it’s your first visit to South Africa, these South Africa travel tips will come in handy, too.
Relax at the Trading Post Restaurant
The Trading Post Restaurant is the only restaurant in Natures Valley. They have a great selection of delicious meals. I’ve visited the restaurant numerous times, and the seafood never disappoints. I highly recommend the fish and chips, although they also make an excellent burger. Don’t miss their coffee milkshake either!
During summer, the best way to soak up the vibes is at one of the outdoor wooden tables. It gets quite busy during peak season, so remember to time your visit here. It is best to drop by before or after lunchtime to guarantee a spot. Alternatively reserve a table well in advance. If you happen to visit during winter, snuggling up next to the fireplace with a glass of wine is highly recommended.
Tips for Visiting Natures Valley Tsitsikamma
Natures Valley is really small. Apart from the permanent residents occupying an odd 50 or so houses, the area remains pretty underdeveloped. There is only one shop selling the basics and one restaurant here. Although both take credit and debit cards, you should know that there are no ATMs in Natures Valley.
Therefore, if you’re planning on staying a bit longer, be sure to bring enough groceries along. You can grab all your favorite foods at Woolworths or Pick ’n Pay at Market Square in Plett or across the road at the newly developed Checkers FX Plettenberg Bay Mall.
Thinking of extending your Cape Town itinerary? Here are some excellent add-ons to your South Africa travels.
Where to Stay in Natures Valley
Most travelers only visit Natures Valley on a day trip from Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, or George. But if you have a few days to spare or looking for a peaceful retreat, staying a bit longer will be well worth your time. The accommodation in Natures Valley is pretty basic, with self-catering units, B&B’s, and camping being the norm. If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, opt to stay at Lily Pond Country Lodge nearby.
How to Get to Natures Valley
Take the N2 from Plettenberg Bay towards Storms River. Once you pass the Crags, keep an eye out for the turnoff, R102. The road winds down a steep valley with many twists and turns, so be sure to slow down.
Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with towering treetops, a lush valley, and perhaps even spot a few baboons. Once you reach the bottom of the pass, turn right onto Lagoon Drive. Shortly after, turn right again on St. George’s Drive and follow the road for about 1.8km until you meet Micheals Avenue. From here, you can access the beach or grab a bite at the Trading Post Restaurant.
Have you visited Natures Valley Tsitsikamma yet? What travel tips do you have for fellow travelers looking to explore this unique area? Drop your comments below.
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