In the summer holidays this beautiful campsite is packed with families from every direction, but if you can get the timing just right, Nature's Valley is still and tranquil. This area is part of the Tsitsikamma Section of the Garden Route National Park, west of Storm's River and east of Plettenberg Bay.
We visited the campsite just after the madness of a long weekend. As we arrived, the last family was packing up their tent and cooler box, leaving the rest of the campsite to us and the monkeys. While we were setting up our tent a brave deer wandered passed us in the foliage and monkeys chirped at us from the branches of the canopy above.
Since we had arrived rather late in the day we decided that we would rather explore the beach in the morning and instead went for a little walk and had a swim in the cold river nearby. After a great shower, a simple supper and some reading, we were asleep, bundled up in our bright yellow tent. We were a little concerned about the monkeys while we were sleeping, having just been to Durban and knowing how cheeky they can be, but we needn't have been. They were quite well behaved and kept their distance from our food.
We awoke just before sunrise and walked past the lagoon to the beach. The weather was overcast and windy but strangely warm. The water was also warm; warm enough to walk in comfortably (a relief for us Capetonians,). After exploring the beach area and some dolphin watching, we climbed up to the peak on the left-hand side of the mostly empty beach.
The steepness of the climb rewarded us with a great view over the long stretch of sand, the lagoon and a forest of trees. This is where the Otter Trail officially ends, so we couldn't continue further that way. On the way back down we spotted a very large pod of dolphins right nearby which was spectacular to watch.
Around lunchtime we realised that we might have to do quite some driving to get fresh meat for a braai. We headed out to the N2 and found Redford Farmers Butchery a few kilometres away, down a gravel road with excellent meat and biltong. We stopped at some padstals along the way back and got the braai going as soon as we were back at the campsite. Chilli garlic bread and some chips completed the meal.
The rest of the afternoon we did some bird-watching hoping to spot some Knysna loeries (we saw quite a few) and then relaxed at the peacefully quiet campsite. Even though we just stayed for two nights (on our roadtrip between Plettenberg Bay & Coffee Bay), it was one of the best camping, most relaxing experiences I've had.
Tariffs for camping are from R190 and there is a daily conservation fee of R36 per adult and R16 per child for the duration of the stay.