The Storms River, also known as Storms River Village or Stormsrivier in Afrikaans, is a small town that forms part of the Garden Route of South Africa. Although small, there are many things to do in Storms River Village – for young and old alike. This peaceful Village offers excellent food, many adventure activities and beautiful hikes and scenery. If you’re planning a trip to the Garden Route, a stop at the Storms River Village is a MUST do!
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- Where Is the Storms River Village?
- How to Get to The Storms River Village
- The History of Storms River Village
- Things to Do in Storms River Village
- Hike the Dolphin Trail
- Kayak the Storms River
- Make the Woodcutter’s Journey
- Blackwater Tubing
- Do a Scooter Tour
- Do a Quad Bike Tour
- Do a Canopy Tour Over the Tsitsikamma National Forest
- Take a Segway Forest Tour
- Walk the Suspension Bridge Across the Storms River
- Try Bungy Jumping or A Bridge Walk at The Bloukrans Bridge
- Visit the Bitou Art Gallery
- Get a Spa Treatment at The Fernery Lodge Spa
- Buy Art at The Storms River Arts & Crafts Centre
- Try Craft Beer
- Have American Food
- Where to Stay in Storms River Village
Where Is the Storms River Village?
The Storms River Village is located in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Forests surround the town, which you can find at the foot of the Tsitsikamma mountains.
The nearest large town is Plettenberg Bay, about 45 minutes per car (65km)s. In terms of the nearest cities, Cape Town is a 6,5 hours drive from Storms River, and Port Elizabeth is much closer and will take you 1 hour 45 minutes by car. George, another city, is just over 2 hours from Storms River.
How to Get to The Storms River Village
The easiest way to get to Storms River is by car. If you want to fly and then drive to Storms River, you can choose between flying to the nearest airports in George, Port Elizabeth or Cape Town Airports and renting a car to drive to Storms River.
Your choice of an airport will depend on how long you have for your trip. Fly to George or Port Elizabeth when you have one to two days only. If you have at least a week, do the Garden Route and visit Storms River as one of your stops.
Not feeling like driving? Try one of these packaged tours:
- Cape Town/Stellenbosch: 5-Day Garden Route Tour & Addo Park
- 2-Day safari Experience at Garden Route Game Lodge
- From Cape Town/Stellenbosch: 2-Day wildlife and safari Tour
The History of Storms River Village
Before the establishment of Storms River Village, the area was popular with elephant herds. The San, a hunter-gatherer tribe, stayed here. Both elephants and San migrated to and from the area and Port Elizabeth as the seasons changed.
Thomas Bain, now famous as a pass builder, visited the area east of Plettenberg bay and found it covered by dense forests. By 1884, he had completed the building of a pass through the Storms River gorge. The town was established in 1885.
Convicts did most of the work on the pass, and you can still find their graves on the outskirts of the Storms River Village. In building the pass, Thomas Bain followed the trails of the elephants to navigate the area.
Eventually, the forest suffered from the many woodcutters chopping down the trees, and the government decided to step in to preserve the forest’s beautiful trees. This led to the establishment of the Tsitsikamma National Park to the south of Storms River Village.
Initially, only a handful of people lived in the Storms River Village. The first residents were the Duthies of Knysna, who built a hunting lodge there in the mid-1800s and the Barnardos, whose forbear was Thomas Bain’s right-hand man.
People started moving to Storms River Village for their retirement. The hunting lodge became a hotel that is still there today in the form of The Tsitsikamma Village Inn.
Since then, tourism has resulted in the town growing and offering many tourism facilities and adventure activities.
Things to Do in Storms River Village
You can choose from many outdoor activities in the Storms River Village and some indoor activities. Here is a complete list of the things to do in Storms River Village:
Hike the Dolphin Trail
The Dolphin Trail is a 4-day hike along the Tsitsikamma coast. You spend three nights in SANParks lodges during this hike, meals included. The accommodation is essential, but clean and has everything you may need for your stay. Staying next to the ocean makes this a unique experience.
An experienced guide accompanies you on the hike, and you will learn more about the area through them. The scenery along the hike is magnificent. The hike is challenging at points where there are steep climbs and long walks in the blazing sun. Along the way, you will experience rocky slopes, shady forest areas, a beautiful coastline and a sandy beach. To cool down, take a dip in one of the many (icy) cold rock pools, which can be refreshing after a long hike.
Kayak the Storms River
Try kayaking the Storms River Mouth with Untouched Adventures if you’re up for an exciting adventure. While on this half-day excursion, you’ll pass under the famous Storms River Suspension Bridge and the bats’ cave in your kayak. You’ll lie on an inflatable lilo while exploring a gorge. The scenery along this kayaking journey promises to be magnificent, and if you’re lucky, you may see seals along the way.
Make the Woodcutter’s Journey
The woodcutter’s journey takes you down the old Storms River pass, where you can explore the indigenous forest from a specially-designed vehicle. The tour takes you along the elephant trail, and you’ll pass many yellowwood and stinkwood trees while learning about the history, flora and fauna of the area from your guide. You’ll have a delicious snack at a picnic site next to the River. The tour takes about 2,5-3 hours, twice a day at 11:00 and 14:00.
Doing a tubing experience is an unforgettable experience through the Tsitsikamma National Park’s Storms River Gorge. You’ll see beautiful forests and experience the river and coastline during the experience.
You can choose between the red route for a canyon adventure or the green route forest adventure. The red route is suitable for anyone 12 years and older, while anyone older than six can do the green route. Each excursion takes about 3 hours, and you can try river tubing or paddle-boarding. Additional costs apply for wet suites and bootie hire.
Do a Scooter Tour
Try a scooter tour with Eezi Scooters Tsitsikamma for a different type of tour. They offer fully guided tours to the Tsitsikamma National Park. You’ll go to the low water bridge where you can swim in the natural pool! During the tour, you’ll see Yellowwood trees and untouched rainforest. You may spot antelope, wildcat, baboon and other animal species. If you love birds, there are more than 200 species of birds in the forest.
Do a Quad Bike Tour
You can do a quad bike tour with Tsitsikamma Adventure Land. Before the tour starts, you’ll receive training on using a quad bike. The quad bike tour features a 16km route suitable for beginners to experienced riders. During your ride, you’ll go through the Tsitsikamma forest and have excellent views of the forest and even from a cliff.
Do a Canopy Tour Over the Tsitsikamma National Forest
You can find the Stormsriver Adventures company in the Tsitsikamma National Forest. You can book a ziplining experience with them. The canopy tour involves ziplining along a steel cable from one platform to another. During the canopy tour, you can discover the beautiful Tsitsikamma Indigenous forest with its Hard Pear trees, Giant Yellow Woods and beautiful Tree Ferns. You’ll hear the abundant birdlife and may even spot a monkey if you’re lucky.
Each canopy tour is between 2 – 2½ hours long. Before you start, you will attend a safety briefing before “kitting up” with the full-body harness, pulleys and other safety equipment. Stormsriver Adventures then drives you to the forest, where you will zipline for a total of 10 slides.
If you fear heights, this may be an opportunity to safely face your fears while gliding above the treetops.
Take a Segway Forest Tour
You can find the Tsitsikamma Segway tours in the Storms River Village near the Tsitsikamma Backpackers. Their location borders the Tsitsikamma National Park, which you can explore on a Segway. Before you embark on your Segway tour, you will undergo a 20-minute session to learn how to handle a Segway. You’ll receive a helmet to wear. At the start of the tour, you go through Village to the local indigenous forest. Your guide will direct you to the Big Tree, where the tour officially starts. Be sure to wear sunscreen, comfortable clothes and shoes. Tours are typically 2 hours long and go through the cool pine forests.
Walk the Suspension Bridge Across the Storms River
The suspension bridge over the Storms River mouth is 77 metres long and is a must-visit when you’re in the area. The original suspension bridge was built in 1969, but SanParks rebuilt it to ensure it is stable and safe. The bridge is seven metres above the water’s entry into the Indian Ocean.
To get to the suspension bridge, you have to walk along a boardwalk for 20 to 30 minutes. There are several viewpoints and it is worth taking a few pictures at these points.
Try Bungy Jumping or A Bridge Walk at The Bloukrans Bridge
The bungy jump from the Bloukrans River Bridge is one of the highest bungy jumps in the world. You’ll wear a full-body harness and walk along a unique catwalk beneath the bridge’s surface to get to the top of the bridge’s arch.
If jumping from such heights is not for you, try the bridge walk instead. The walk takes 40 minutes, and bring your camera for spectacular views.
Visit the Bitou Art Gallery
The Bitou Art Gallery started as a small display in the restaurant of the Armagh Country Lodge, but it has grown and become an independent studio over time.
Here, you can view art pieces from local artists who often work from the studio. You can see ink, ceramics, acrylics, oils, photography and watercolour art pieces.
If you’re interested in learning to create your own watercolour pieces, you can take a watercolour course at the Bitou Art Gallery.
Get a Spa Treatment at The Fernery Lodge Spa
After spending some time outdoors, you may enjoy a bit of pampering. Try a spa treatment at the Fernery Lodge Spa.
Buy Art at The Storms River Arts & Crafts Centre
Although it is small, you can find an extensive range of local artists’ work at the Storms River Centre Arts & Crafts. Whether you like carvings, prints or canvases, you can find many items to choose from here. The shop has African arts, crafts and other souvenirs. The Storms River Arts & Craft Centre is the perfect place to find gifts for friends and family, especially jewellery, accessories and ornaments.
Try Craft Beer
Craft beer is popular in South Africa. You can find more than 150 batches of the best ales and weiss beers at the Tsitsikamma Micro Brewery. The microbrewery makes its own craft beer using pure Tsitsikamma water with local and imported malt, yeast and hops.
Have American Food
Storms River offers various restaurants to eat at. For a unique eating experience, have a meal at Marilyn’s 60’s Diner. At Marilyn’s, you’ll find Cadillacs and Chevy cars, decor from the 50s and 60s, and a variety of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe memorabilia. You can eat breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack here. The food options include All American Cocktails, Steaks, Burgers and Diner-Style Desserts.
Where to Stay in Storms River Village
There is a range of accommodation options in Storms River: