The Garden Route has some excellent hiking trails. The Otter, Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma trails are epic and will take you a couple of days covering long distance lugging along backpacks while short loops like Storms River Mouth, The Big Tree and Garden of Eden will use up an hour of your time with only a camera over your shoulder before heading off to your next destination. These aren’t the only trails though and whichever trail you choose will depend on where you are and how much time you have. Spending a Sho’t Left long weekend in the Crags and Nature’s Valley we decided to put aside a morning to do the 5km round trip hike to Salt River Mouth.
We left our car at the Nature’s Valley Restaurant and Trading Store and headed off down the beach in a westerly direction. After a quick discussion we decided to do it anticlockwise so about 500 meters down the beach we turned right and followed the path through the coastal forest up towards the lookout point above Nature’s Valley. The lookout point is the perfect spot to get your breath back after the climb. It gives you a stunning view of the coastline and Nature’s Valley below.
Shortly after the lookout point you turn left and from there it’s downhill all the way to the Salt River. Before you get to it you start to catch glimpses of the river and the little lagoon by the river mouth. The path spits you out slightly upstream and from here you follow the bank down towards the ocean. We timed our walk to coincide with low tide so there wasn’t as much water as you would find at high tide.
There was more than enough water for a dip though and seeing the inviting water after a warm walk had the KidZ nagging for us to take a break before heading back. There’s no body surfing to be done in the lagoon so the Damselfly just splashed down in the shallows while the KidZ and I explored the banks (yes, there was a Geocache to be found) and swam a little bit. This is also a great spot to break out the snacks we carried along. Although we didn’t spot anybody while walking, I was quite surprised how many people actually made their way down the path and along the banks while we were there.
After drying off in the sun a bit it was time to head back towards Nature’s Valley, this time along the coastal route. After a short distance we hit an area I saw referred to somewhere as the Black Rocks. I imagine this could become an exciting little piece of traversing at high tide and I was quite glad that we chose low tide what with having the KidZ with us and all.
After a bit of rock hopping and finding the best path to follow we reached a spot from where we could look back on the coastline. In the photo the Salt River is situated in the bay visible in the middle of the picture. From here it was about a kilometer back to the car. Not that we got back in the car. It was first time for an ice cream and something to drink at the restaurant while watching a couple of hikers who just finished the Otter celebrate. We may not have done the Otter, but we got to hike and see some of the beautiful coastline this part of the world has to offer. Very much the same as the okes on the Otter.