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.
Natures Valley (also spelled Nature’s Valley) is a tranquil oasis neatly tucked away along South Africa’s famed Garden Route in the Tsitsikamma forest. Despite marking the end of South Africa’s most renowned hikes, The Otter Trail, Nature’s Valley remains a relatively peaceful and secluded destination that does not see many visitors outside of peak seasons.
Mostly frequented by day-trippers, Nature’s Valley is an easy side trip from many of the Garden Route’s best gems like Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, and Storms River Mouth. With dreamy scenery, lush forests filled with hiking trails, and an epic strip of soft sand, Nature’s Valley is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in nature.
Read along to find out what to do in Nature’s Valley, where to stay, and how to get to this Garden Route gem.
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What to do in Natures Valley Tsitsikamma
Hit Nature’s Valley Beach
Any visit to Nature’s Valley would not be complete without hitting the beach. Many quick paths lead to the beach along St Michaels Ave, but the most accessible entrance is right in front of the Blue Rocks Cafe. (See map here).
Nature’s Valley Beach is a beautiful long strip of soft sand fringed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and dramatic cliffs covered in lush vegetation. There’s plenty of room to lounge on the beach or cool of in the inviting waters. Just a word of warning, the beach is quite rocky, so it’s best to swim in the designated areas to ensure your safety. During peak seasons, there are usually a couple of lifeguards stationed on the beach.
If you can, stick around until sunset – seeing the sun set over the horizon is truly magical.
Hiking in Natures Valley Tsitsikamma
Nature’s Valley is a mecca for hikers with oodles of scenic hikes – all offering terrific views over lush forests, rugged cliffs, and untouched coastline.
One of the most popular hikes in the area is the Otter Trail – an epic multi-day hike that actually ends in Natures Valley. Other incredible must-do hikes include the Salt River Hike and the Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail. Both offer terrific views, but it’s important to note that they aren’t the easiest treks to complete.
If you’re just after a low-key trek, opt for a lovely stroll along the beach. You can walk all the way to the lagoon (and vice versa), and it’s a nice way to enjoy a slice of nature without getting too tired. What’s more, with a bit of luck, you might even spot some dolphins frolicking in the waves.
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.
Nature’s Valley’s main draw is its unbeatable scenery. And one of the best ways to get a close-up look at the landscape is from the water.
Canoeing is a popular pastime and a fun way to get a different vantage point over the Grootrivier and estuary. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you can rent a canoe at the Nature’s Valley Rest Camp (map).
Have a Picnic
Natures Valley is the perfect spot for a picnic. If you don’t want to picnic on the beach, there are several scenic spots before entering the village. To access these, turn left on Lagoon Drive when coming down the pass. 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, it’s important to 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 Blue Rocks Cafe & Grill
The Blue Rocks Cafe & Grill (map) might be the only restaurant in Nature’s Valley, but they have a great selection of delicious meals!
I’ve visited the restaurant numerous times, and the seafood never disappoints. Don’t miss the beer battered fish with chips! If you’re a meat eater, the burgers are tasty and go down well with an ice-cold coffee milkshake or a Savanna Dry!
The outdoor seating area is a great place to soak up the vibes during summers, while the cozy fireplace offers warmth on colder days. Reservations are highly recommended when visiting during peak season.
The Natures Way Farm Stall (map) en route to Nature’s Valley is another great place to grab a bite or buy some locally made goodies and delicatessens. They’ve got a good selection of homemade jams, cheeses, and baked treats. Try the homemade gelato and buttermilk rusks!
popular tours & activities near natures valley
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. Market Square in Plett has a Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay, and across the road, there’s a Checkers at the Checkers FX Plettenberg Bay Mall.
Where to Stay in Nature’s 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 your Garden Route itinerary, staying a bit longer will be worth it.
Most of the accommodation options in Nature’s Valley are cozy B&Bs, self-catering units, and camping sites. Try Kamma-Otter or Oupa Daan if you want a self-catering unit. Lily Pond Country Lodge near Kurland is another great option if you don’t mind driving down the pass each day.
If you need more choices, check Google Maps and book directly through the property, as most options aren’t listed on major booking sites.
How to Get to Natures Valley
Nature’s Valley is located roughly a 40-minute drive from Plettenberg Bay and is easily accessed via the N2 highway. If you’re coming from Plett, take the N2 towards Storms River Mouth or Port Elizabeth (also known as Gqeberha). Once you pass The Crags, keep an eye out for the Nature’s Valley turnoff (also marked R102).
From here, 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 amazing views over the 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 all the way to the end where it eventually leads into St Michaels Ave. If you want to go to the beach or grab a bite at the restaurant, you’ll find plenty of parking here too.
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Well, that’s all I’ve got on Nature’s Valley. If you have any other suggestions to add to this list of things to do in Nature’s Valley, let me know in the comments below so that I can check them out on my next visit!
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