Nature's Valley

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Paul venter

Nature's Valley is a small village on the Garden Route along the southern Cape coast of South Africa, tucked between the Soutrivier, the foothills of the Tsitsikamma Mountains, the Indian Ocean and the Grootrivier lagoon. It has a balmy climate and the unusual status of being surrounded by the Tsitsikamma National Park, with the exception of Platbos Reserve, which is also conservation area, albeit privately owned.
The Tsitsikamma Park is one of the most visited in South Africa, because of the pleasant climate, the beauty of the scenery, the wealth of things to do and see, and also because environmental travellers enjoy the wilderness and the biodiversity.
The Cape flora found in and around Nature's Valley and on Platbos Reserve is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Nature's Valley is just a short drive east of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay and just west of Storms River.
A network of trails covers the surrounding hills and beaches. The lagoon offers sheltered water for sailing and canoeing, without powerboating and beach buggies. A walk along beaches and a rocky path leads to the Salt River Mouth after crossing Pebble Beach, a large area completely covered in sea-smoothed cobbles.
East of Nature's Valley is the Grootrivier Lagoon, which marks the end of the Otter Trail, starting at Storms River Mouth, 60km further east. This 5-day trail is considered by many hikers to be the finest in South Africa, being strenuous, scenic and extremely varied. The route meanders along the coast through evergreen forest, past boulder-strewn beaches and frequently crossing tannin-stained streams. Huts are available for the hiker at the end of each day, but bookings have to be made well in advance.
There is plenty to offer the visitor to Nature's Valley, from the many varied hiking trails to the Animal Sanctuaries next door in The Crags. It is also just a short drive to the World's Highest Bungee at the Bloukrans Bridge and Storms River Mouth.


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