The Garden Route and the Little Karoo Places

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Tsitsikamma

Hiking

The Dolphin Trail is the perfect marriage between exercise and relaxation, rugged scenery and comfort. Starting at Storms River Mouth, the trail continues east along the coast, with scenery similar to the Otter Trail's. Though the Dolphin is quite hard going, it covers just 20 km (12 mi) over two days, and the best part is that you carry only a day pack (your luggage is transported by vehicle to the next spot). Accommodations on the first night are in very comfortable cabins with private baths at Storms River Mouth. The next two nights are spent in lovely guesthouses with awesome views and great food. It costs R4,200 per person, which includes a guide, all meals, transportation, and three nights' accommodation. 042/280-3588. www.dolphintrail.co.za.

The most popular of South Africa's hiking trails, the Otter Trail runs along the coast from the mouth of Storms River to Nature's Valley, passing rocky cliffs, beaches, fynbos, rivers, and towering indigenous forest. The trail is only 42 km (26 mi) long, but there are a lot of steep uphills and downhills. It's billed as a five-day hike to give you time to swim and hang out. Accommodations are in overnight huts equipped with sleeping bunks, braais (barbecues), and chemical toilets. You must carry in all food and carry out all trash. Only 12 people are allowed on the trail per day, making it vital to book at least a year in advance. However, because people sometimes book all 12 slots and then arrive with only four or five others, there are often cancellations. If you really want to hike this trail but can't get a reservation, you can try hanging around for a few days to see if a spot opens up. The trail costs R595 per person, plus an R80 conservation fee per person per night. 012/426-5111. www.sanparks.org.

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