Map with Otter Trail

We undertook the 5 day Otter Trail hike in the Tsitsikamma Coastal Reserve from 6-10 October.  This trail is world-renowned, and we were delighed to get 2 spots on the hike, despite warnings of it being booked up a year in advance – only 12 people are permitted to start the hike on any one day.  We thoroughly enjoyed the hike, despite the almost continuous rain! However, we beat the worst of it with a smile and a roaring campfire to dry all the gear – and give us a lovely hobo smell…..

The coastal trail is absolulely stunning.  The waves crash constantly on the rocks – very rare to be able to get so close to such big waves without, well, drowning. We trekked through colourful fynbos (coastal foliage) and spotted the odd bit of wildlife, the most interesting one of which was a “cenet” which is part of the mongoose family but looks like a little leopard, about the size of a domestic cat.  Most of the following photos were taken on the 1 dry day we had – but generally, the weather didn’t allow us to take advantage of swimming holes!  

One exciting aspect of this trek is that there are several river crossings, mostly at their estuaries so there are also affected by the tides. The best known (that is, when you’re doing the hike!) is of the Bloukrans River. We felt a bit under-prepared as we watched an introductory video before setting off on the hike, showing people swimming across a fairly rough river with their back-packs in inflated plastic sacks! In the end though, we managed an alternative route across which didn’t involve such drastic measures (mainly borne out of the fact that we had no sacks to float our bags across) and instead had to call on our rock-climbing skills to get us through.

Accommodation was in a basic wooden hut – 2 bunks, 3 people high, which we happily shared with fellow hikers from Holland (Ed and Susan), Switzerland (Benjamin) and Chile (Natalie).

day 1 waterfall  2 leaving hut in rain

3 cathal in rain day 2  4 CDB & Ed - firestarters! 

5 as it should be - sunny  6 flower

7 surf power  8 grasshopper

9 lottering river crossing  jane on otter trail

blue flower  flower & beach

surf Bloukrans river crossing

Hut Otter Sign

Jane & Cathal Otter Trail End  Gang at ottertrail


5 Responses to “2 Otter Trail Hike”

  1. 1 Barbara October 13, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Jane and Cathal

    Your Otter Trail story inspired me to google it to see where on earth you’ve been. Very impressive! Look forward to later episodes.
    Safe travels

  2. 2 Jennifer Nolan October 14, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    What lovely pictures. Looks like a wonderful place to visit.

  3. 3 Helena October 14, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Jane and Cathal,

    Great to see photos from the otter trail. Tsitsikamma is amazing, its the constant sound of the waves crashing that I remember. Hope you are both having a fantastic time and that the weather picks up for you.Talk soon

  4. 4 hazel / Martin October 17, 2007 at 8:50 am

    Greets from a sunny leixlip where for some people its a wednesday !!!

  5. 5 Jalal October 17, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Jane & Cathal,

    nice photos, very tempting indeed….. i’m starting to think that i need one of those honeymoon adventures myself!

    have fun, and stay safe!

    jalal & Karen

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