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Eastern Cape

Storms River, South Africa

From its early days as a hunting box from which local adventurers shot elephant and buffalo to its current status as one of South Africa’s adventure centres, Storms River has always managed to maintain a peaceful mien deep in the Tsitsikamma Forest. And the local pub has seen it all ...

Did you know?

Tsitsikamma, which means ‘the place of much water’, is a Khoi word. The Khoi people were this area's first inhabitants.

You’re on the bustling N2 between Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape and Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route and suddenly there’s a turn-off sign to the town of Storms River: the transformation from your busy motorway experience to instantly being in a world of wood is astounding.

You drive the few kilometres into the Tsitsikamma Forest and arrive at this tiny settlement tucked away in the trees.

You’ll also notice, on a walkabout of Storms River, that there’s a lot of adventure activity on the go. They swing from the trees on canopy tours; they ride deep into the forest in specially designed vehicles with a guide who takes them on a woodcutter’s journey; they also embark on fascinating forest walks with trained locals who know the wood from the trees.

In the late 1700s, teams of men moved into the Tsitsikamma Forest and began to cut down the old growth, among them massive yellowwoods, stinkwoods and ironwoods, to supply timber to the Dutch East India Company.

They stayed in the forest, lived on coffee and small game, distilled their own brand of liquor and generally became a rather boisterous law unto themselves.

A century later, genius builder Thomas Bain was commissioned to construct a road through the Tsitsikamma in a bid to connect Port Elizabeth with Cape Town.

It was said at that time that the Tsitsikamma Forest was occupied only by elephants, buffaloes, woodcutters, hunters and bandits.

If you walk into the bar of the Tsitsikamma Village Inn situated in the centre of Storms River, you will hear how this very spot was the drinking hole of aforesaid rough diamonds.

Today, it’s altogether more serene in Storms River, except for the occasional yelp of glee from someone on a canopy tour or the strains of Love Me Tender wafting through from the annual Elvis Festival staged by the inn.

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