The Tsitsikamma Section of the Garden Route National Park has received a R17 million boost from Government to upgrade existing infrastructure.
According to Tsitsikamma’s Area Manager, Lesley-Ann Meyer, ‘planned upgrades in the Park include 17 oceanettes overlooking the Marine area, the administration office (reception area in Storms River), paving and road works for the Otter camp, replacement of the Entrance gate to Storms River.’
Tsitsikamma was declared a National Park back in 1964, subsequent to a Conference held in Seattle which encouraged a move to protect marine areas as well as terrestrial (forestry and land).
Tsitsikamma means ‘the place of many waters’.
Its Marine Protected Area (MPA) is split into the De Vasselot Section Controlled Zone and the Tsitsikamma MPA (No-Take Zone).
A total of 202 species of fish, sharks and rays from 84 families have been recorded in the Tsitsikamma MPA alone.
Fifteen of these species can be found on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red data list as either vulnerable or near threatened whilst many other fish species protected by the MPA are classified as over-exploited or collapsed in South Africa.
It is home to one of the Garden Route’s big trees, a Yellowood tree that is nearly 1000 years old. Two of Tsitsikamma’s hiking trails (the Otter trail and the Dolphin trail) enjoy green flag status and were declared as such by a watchdog for hiking in SA, the Hiking Organisation of South Africa (HOSA).
Green Flag status is a system that ensures hiking trails in South Africa meet standards in terms of ‘trail outlay, accommodation, facilities and service, as well as the conservation of natural resources.’ In turn, hikers are guaranteed that their expectations will be met and that they also receive value for money.
Natures Valley beach, also part of the National Park, has enjoyed blue flag status for several years in succession.
Blue flag status is an indication that the beach meets all stringent environmental criteria including water quality standards, safety and others.