Local Activities, Let Your Spirit Go Wild...
From beaches, forests and waterfall rock pools to adrenalin activities and animal sanctuaries, there is overwhelming array of things to do and see in and around Wild Spirit Backpackers Lodge. Our hosting crew is always happy to offer advice and share our knowledge of this beautiful area with you. Whether you spend one night or one week with us, we will help you orientate yourself to the possibilities and organise your time so as to make the most of your stay. Even if on a tight budget, there is plenty to keep you happy, busy and wildly inspired!
The Great Outdoors.
Two excellent multi-day hikes are available in the Tsitsikamma National Park, as well as a variety of shorter trails. Wild Spirit is the ideal base camp for these expeditions and we can arrange shuttles on request.
- The Otter Trail: This is South Africa's most famous hiking trail for good reason. This 51km walk starts at Storms River and meanders west for 5 days along some of the world’s most stunning coastline. Accommodation is in huts along the way. The marine life of the National Park is breathtaking and there are opportunities for whale watching and snorkelling. The route ends in Nature's Valley. This walk is very popular and there is a long waiting list, but last minute spaces do become available due to cancellations.
- The Tsitsikamma Trail: Stunning mountain scenery, deep river ravines, pristine mountain fynbos and afro-montane forests features in this hike deep into the Tsitsikamma Mountains. Baboons, vervet monkeys, bushbuck and civet cats are often seen. There are good prospects for swimming in the rivers and waterfalls encountered on this walk. This 6 day/64km walking trail with overnight hut accommodation starts in Nature's Valley and ends at Storms River.
Day Hikes in the area
Nature's Valley, often described as The Jewel of The Garden Route, boasts the best of South Africa’s offerings: ancient forests, hills decorated with scented fynbos in flower, rambling sand dunes, golden beaches, sparkling rivers and a fresh water lagoon. Expect to see many wild animals and birds on one of the several excellent hiking trails available in the area. We offer shuttles to and from these hikes.
- Salt River Mouth aka Paradise Beach: Hike along the beach at Nature's Valley and across rocky cliffs to where the Salt River meets the Indian Ocean. Sightings of whales are almost guaranteed from the cliff tops in the winter months and shy Fish eagles are often spotted hunting here. A truly beautiful spot to stop and unwind for a while. The return walk winds up through afro-montane forest and fynbos revealing high views of the coast and far out to sea.
- The Kalanderkloof: This steep sided valley, or 'kloof', has pushed the giant yellowwood trees to great heights in search of light and helped protect them from loggers. One of the largest remaining stands of veteran yellowwoods in the Knysna High Forest Biome. The local troop of Baboons is often spotted here.
- Robberg Nature Reserve: 30 minutes away, situated west of Plettenberg Bay, is the stunning Robberg Peninsula – a truly extraordinary one-day outing. Circular walks follow the cliff tops, and from these high vantage points you may spot whales, dolphins, penguins and even sharks in this marine protected area. Robberg also hosts a colony of cape fur seals which can be seen basking on the rocks and frolicking in the surf all year round.
Short Walks at Wild Spirit
- Secret Waterfall: A 30 minute walk through lush rainforest to our stunning private 80m high waterfall. Take a refreshing dip in the deep pools when you get there.
- The Magic Forest: A 45 minute circular stroll in the woods. Here you will encounter numerous secret rock pools and magical creatures along a craggy river valley peppered with majestic tree ferns. In spring, thousands of fireflies start their magical dance here at dusk.
- The Big Tree: A 10 minute walk from the lodge you will discover a true giant of the forest, a veteran Outiniqua yellowwood tree over 30 metres high and hundreds of years old. Visit here for a big tree hug!
- Sun Rock: A 4 km walk to the edge of the Bobbejaanskloof, a breathtaking gorge which drops steeply down to a river over a hundred metres below. A beautiful spot for sundowners and vertigo!
Cycling from the Crags to Nature's Valley
We have recently purchased 12 high-quality mountain bikes for guests to rent and explore the beautiful valley where we're based. We have wonderful routes from the lodge to the beach as well as to and from the amazing Bloukrans Pass.
Canoeing and Kayaking
- The Groot River and Nature's Valley Lagoon: The Groot River's deep ravine leaves the Tsitsikamma Mountains and arrives at the coast to form the beautiful freshwater lagoon at Nature's Valley. The eastern shore has isolated beaches and thick coastal forests, home to baboons, bushbuck and amazing bird life. A great location for lunch and a swim!
- Keurbooms Nature Reserve: 18km from Wild Spirit the Keurbooms River flows from the north through a steep rocky gorge with areas of forest, beaches and sandbanks along the way. To the South the river meets the Indian Ocean via the stunning Keurbooms Lagoon near Plettenberg Bay. Canoes can be hired from the Cape Nature office on site.
- Robberg and Plettenberg Bay: Our friends at Ocean Blue Adventures hire sea kayaks and offer guided kayak trips from Plettenberg Bay to the stunning Robberg Marine Protected Area and the Keurbooms River Lagoon. A wonderful way to experience the local marine life close-up. Seals, whales, dolphins and penguins are often spotted on these trips.