Where ocean and forests meet – The Storms River Mouth Rest Camp in the Garden Route National Park is known for its untamed beauty and the magnificent stretch of coastline that forms one of the oldest marine protected areas in Africa. A visit there will convince you that you are in the heart of paradise.
Words: René de Klerk (Reporter at SANParks Times)
Pictures: René de Klerk and Hennie Homann
My wooden chalet next to the ocean offered everything I wanted in an accommodation unit. Perhaps it was the calming effect of the waves or just the beauty of the area that helped to set my mood. This peaceful environment makes it easy to relax. And I most certainly did, in an instant.
Amenities include a fully equipped kitchen and an outside braai area. Alternatively, you can visit the restaurant for a satisfying bite to eat. The park shop offers the basics, so come prepared as there are no big shops in the immediate vicinity.
The unit has a television (with limited DSTV channels) but I found no use for this technological invention. We doubt you would either. I spent the time at hand appreciating the beauty of the Indian Ocean, joining hands with the stars. To be out in the open is the best therapy. With scenery this beautiful, there’s no need to be indoors glued to a television screen.
At sunrise, the rest camp becomes a hive of activity due to the many day visitors who flock to the area. With so many activities on offer this comes as no surprise. You can kayak down the Storms River or on the ocean, embark on the adventure of stand-up paddle-boarding, and go on a boat trip. Snorkelling and scuba diving allow you to see what lies beneath the surface in this protected area.
For eager hikers the rest camp offers many trails to choose from. Popular hikes such as the Otter and Dolphin start here, but there are numerous day hikes. Walks in the area are highly recommended as you can experience the biodiversity of the indigenous forests and the ocean.
As the tides changed in front of the rest camp that night, I crawled into bed, soothed by a deep sense of calm. I fell asleep with the song of the waves crashing below the stars as I drifted into dreamland. Next time I will make a point of staying for more than one night – after all – wouldn’t you?
- Location: A chalet at Storms River Mouth Rest Camp next to the ocean.
- View: The ocean right on your doorstep with unpolluted skies at night.
- Moment to remember: An early morning coffee on the porch with a seagull and other bird species appreciating the beautiful view with me.
- Who should go: If you are keen to explore Tsitsikamma then this is the ideal starting point, especially if you are looking for the ocean and the forest. Whether you need a family getaway or something romantic, the rest camp is ideal.
- Price: Chalets are priced between R1040 and R1285 per night, depending on the season. Some offer double bed with a single sleeper couch in the lounge while other units are furnished with single beds only. Accommodation options in the rest camp include oceanettes of various sizes, cottages, forest huts, forest cabins and camping.
- Bookings: Online at www.sanparks.org/tourism/bookings/ or through central reservations on +27-12-428-9111 or +27-82-233-9111 or e-mail [email protected]