The Garden Route’s favourite family hike at Salt River

Salt River - Photo: Plett Adventure Racing Team

Nature’s Valley has a great family hike at Salt River, close to Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route.

Plan a family hike at Salt River in Nature’s Valley. It may just be the Garden Route’s favourite family hike. Take advantage of the most South African climate, in Plettenberg Bay while staying at la Vista Lodge.

The Salt River Hiking Trail, in Natures Valley, is a 5km circular route that requires moderate fitness but delivers large on the enjoyment scale. Get your map and permit from the office at De Vasselot campsite in Nature’s and off you go.

Natures Valley is part of the Stormsriver Nature Reserve; the Salt River hike is a wonderful opportunity to experience beauty along the Garden Route. (Photo: YouTube)
Natures Valley is part of the Stormsriver Nature Reserve; the Salt River hike is a wonderful opportunity to experience beauty along the Garden Route. (Photo: YouTube)

Through dense green forest to beaches with white sand and dazzling mountain backdrops, the hike will take you from terra firma to ocean bliss. No fear of taking the wrong turn on this hike as the route is well marked. The route doubles as the prologue of the Otter African Trail Run, so if you shuffle it a bit here, you almost qualify for bragging rights. The Salt River Mouth is a secluded beach and can only be accessed on foot – good news for those who like the tranquillity of seclusion. Keep a look out for small wildlife and coastal birds whilst on your walk and who knows, you may even spot the elusive Narina Trogon, a stunningly beautiful green and red birds native to the Afrotropics, in the forest.

Here is an insider’s scoop on what to expect and tips to hike Salt River

It is an ideal hike on a hot, sunny day because most of the trail is through indigenous forest and is close enough to the river to enjoy a dip. It is more diverse than the hike to the waterfall in Tsitsikamma and shorter than hiking Robberg Nature Reserve, and offers a different reward.

  1. Bring your swimsuit
  2. Swim in the lagoon; the river water is clear during high tide but murkish during low tide
  3. Don’t forget to hike all the way to the Salt River Lookout section, it’s past the river but well worth the hike. To get there, you need to cross the river (only 1.5 metres deep during high tide OR 0.5 metres deep during low tide)
  4. Enjoy the view of Formosa Peak in the Tsitsikamma Mountains, indigenous forest and the lagoon – a magical Robinson Crusoe moment
  5. Feel like an explorer from the past while you take in all the adventure of the S-shaped lagoon hike
The Grootrivier river mouth at Nature's Valley offers safe swimming for little ones. (Photo: Plett Tourism)
The Grootrivier river mouth at Nature’s Valley offers safe swimming for little ones. (Photo: Plett Tourism)

Map of the Salt River Hike

Estimated hiking times: 50 minutes to the Salt River lagoon; an additional 20 minutes to reach the Salt River Lookout area.
Estimated hiking times: 50 minutes to the Salt River lagoon; an additional 20 minutes to reach the Salt River Lookout area.

Let our team at La Vista Lodge help you with your exploration

Don’t worry, there is no entrance fee and it is very close to La Vista Lodge (a short, 20 minute drive). It’s a beautiful hike, and we can even help you with your own private picnic. As a member of the EcoAtlas programme, La Vista Lodge can pack a zero waste, eco-friendly lunch box or picnic for you.

After a long day of exploring Salt River, you can be assured an ice cold one on our verandah followed by a fabulously prepared dinner by Chef Lincoln.