Storms River Mouth – Garden Route

 

“Half past four! What do you mean half past four?” someone exclaimed. We all grabbed at our watches and cell phones to verify the time. We had a great dinner planned but we were starving and thought that a light lunch would be in order and so here we were, sitting in the Cattle Baron at Storms River Mouth nursing an ice cold beer, ready to order lunch. We had come through to Storms River Mouth in the Garden Route area of the Eastern Cape to walk the famous Storm River suspension bridge trail. It’s only a 4km walk, so how had this seemingly short walk taken us almost 7 hours?

 

We all started laughing cheerfully at the situation. Yes, come to think of it, we had such a great time on our walk that I suppose it could have taken that long. The 4km journey there and back winds through tropical rainforests that hold the most magnificent secrets. There are many ferns, miniature gardens, tall never -ending trees, wild flowers, creepies, crawlies and all manner of flying things. All of this amazing variety of life lies under a blanket of dappled sunlight that filters through from above. Crest a small hill and you will find the ocean, wild and untamed before you with huge jagged rocks and large boulders littering the coastline. The cliffs and clefts created by the rocks give way to unusual beaches that creep up into the rainforest and disappear into the trees.

 

There is such a wide variety of photographic opportunities for you to experiment with. Almost everywhere there are interesting shapes, colours and textures that jump out at you. Postcard scenes are around every corner. These scenes are a challenge to capture because half of the appeal lies not only in what it looks like, but what it feels like. Small areas so beautifully decorated by the natural world that you can’t help to stop and simply absorb in the essence of the place.

Base of yellow wood tree

While you are walking around your eyes are continuously drawn to the heavens. Huge Yellow wood trees rise up before you, stretching their branches out towards the sun. The sunlight in turn, filters through the trees providing great back light and creating wonderful silhouettes. The whole atmosphere is just mystical, keeping you spellbound every step of the way.

 

As you break through the canopy and look out toward the ocean, the landscapes that greet you are equally mesmerizing. Cliffs jut out above and below you. The cracked coastline creates small bays and beaches, each one so different from the other that it’s difficult to believe they all form part of the same area.

red wild tree fungus between green plants
A new shoot unravels from a fern

A perfect example of one of these extraordinary coastlines is the beach beyond the suspension bridge. It is completely covered in pebbles and rocks of all colours, shapes and sizes, causing a phenominal sound as the ocean pulls away from the land. Of course one cannot neglect to mention the suspension bridge itself. The picture it forms with the incredible wild coastline as a backdrop is well worth the walk to get there.

 jagged rock formations of the Storms River Mouth
Storms River suspension bridge from above
Green mountains surrounding the dark brown Storm river

Be careful though!

 

Deciding which lenses to take with on this walk is crucial as the light changes constantly and there is  a wide variety of photographic genres from macro to wide open landscapes. It is also important to keep in mind the weight you will be carrying around.

 

We definitely all found that using a shorter lens was preferable and if you have a light weight zoom option then that would be a great all rounder, for macro enthusiast packing your macro gear with will most definitely be worth while.  A flash is also a good piece of equipment to pack enabling you to deal with unmerciful shadows. 

 

This is a walk that all nature and photography enthusiast you should try not to miss when you find yourself in the area. 

 

Slow shutter release image of pebbles and soft water running through them