TSITSIKAMMA MARINE PROTECTED AREA

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Monday, 30th November -0001

The Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA), located within the Garden Route National Park is Africa’s oldest MPA and protects a 60km stretch of coastline extending to protect 186 km² of ocean and rocky shoreline.

The aim of a Marine Protected Area is to conserve marine life. They take the form of a collaboration between civil society, communities and government that promote conservation and safeguard threatened marine species and important habitats.

The Tsitsikamma MPA was established in 1964 and protects a variety of inter-tidal marine life, marine habitats, and threatened as well as endangered fish species. Marine bird species like cormorants, kelp gulls and African black oyster catchers are prominent along the coastline and pied- and giant kingfishers can be seen hunting fish in tidal pools or in the rivers that drain into the Indian Ocean.

The coastline, characterised by deep ravines, is protected by 180m high cliffs with limited access to the shore. Storms River Mouth and Nature’s Valley are the two best points of entrance to the MPA, offering visitors a peek at this vibrant coastal ecosystem, which includes Fynbos and indigenous forest. It is exactly this stretch of South African coastline that has been developed into the famous Otter Trail.

Scuba diving and snorkelling are popular at Storms River Mouth and the vibrant underwater world is testament to the age of the Marine Protected Area. Vibrant soft coral, sponges and anemones create an underwater fireworks’ display of colour as marine animals: rays, octopus, sharks, reef fish, move along the gullies. Due to the location of the MPA, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, invertebrates thrive and provide fascinating marine experiences for underwater macro photographers.

Along with scuba diving and snorkelling in the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area, tourists can enjoy kayaking, blackwater tubing, rock-pooling, lilo excursions, mountain biking and hiking.

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