The Otter Trail - South African Flagship

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					The Otter Trail - South African Flagship
This Hike is situated along the Garden Route near Storms river in the
Eastern Cape, one of the most scenic areas in Southern Africa. If hiking
in the outdoors is your passion, then this is one of the top hiking
trails in South Africa, you can't afford to miss.
This famous trail traverses 42 km of rugged coastline, with the booming
breakers of the Indian Ocean on the one side and fynbos and indigenous
rain forest on the other, crossing 11 rivers on route to Nature's Valley.
The six-day trip five day-trail with four overnight stops run from the
Storms River Rest Camp to Nature's Valley.
The trail is clearly marked with blue otter signs and painted otter spoor
in rocky areas.
The Otter Trails runs through the Tsitsikamma National Park which
stretches for 80 km along the scenic southern Cape coast and 5,5 km out
to sea. The Storms River Mouth rest camp, at the start of the trail,
provides overnight accommodation and has a shop and a restaurant,
information centre, swimming pool for resident visitors, caravan and camp
sites. Accommodation for the nights prior the and on completion of the
trail, is included in the trail reservation.
The trail starts just west of the oceanettes at the western end of the
Storms River rest camp and is clearly marked with blue otter signs and
painted otter spoor in rocky areas.
Generally there are two overnight huts at each of the overnight stops.
Each contains sleeping bunks with mattresses for six persons. Barbecue
facilities and chemical toilets are provided. Firewood is left at the
roadside from where it has to be carried to the huts. Water is available
at the huts of in nearby streams.
Hikers are advised to fill their water bottles at the streams they cross.
They have to carry the essentials, such as gas stoves, cooking utensils,
crockery, cutlery and sleeping bags, themselves. Hikers should be
reasonably fit as the Otter trail follows a rugged coastline with steep
inclines.
Several rivers and estuaries also have to be crossed. No person should
hike alone. A minimum of four people is recommended. Weather conditions
should always be taken into consideration as it could change rapidly.
The trail starts about 2 km west of the restaurant and car park at
Strorm’s River, and continues past the Goudgate and early Millwood
claims. Follow the white arrows and otter signs as you clamber over the
rocks past a Khoisan cave to a pool and waterfall near Ngubu’s Huts.
On the second day you climb onto the coastal plateau of indigenous forest
and fynbos and may be lucky enough to see a whale or dolphin at
Skilderkrans. The ascents and descents make this section of the trail
very demanding although the distant covered is only about 8 km.
A detour down to Bloubaai is worth the effort. After a night at Scott’s
Hut, the third day’s hike follows an undulating course and is one of the
most scenic on the trail. Swimming in the Elandsbos River is superb.
Oakhurst Hut comes into view after crossing the Lottering River either by
swimming or boulder-to-boulder hopping higher up.
The fourth day’s hike, though longer than the others is less demanding.
Time your crossing of the Bloukrans River for low tide. Even so, you may
have to cross some distance inland and will need to return towards
Andre’s Hut. The trail passes through wooded areas and fynbos between
Andre’s and Nature’s Valley, to the cliff tops at the point. Take care at
river crossings after heavy rains.
Reservations should be made long in advance because of the popularity of
this trail, this trail is a real winner and booking should be considered
about a year in advance.
Please take note that the trail is limited to 12 people at a time.
Gerald Crawford was born in South Africa, studied electronics,
telecommunication, eco-travel and african travel concepts. He taught
responsible tourism in South Africa. If you have any questions or
comments please e-mail me on. E-mail Address:
southafricantravelarticles@12234455.co.za Website Address:
http://www.12234455.co.za

				
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posted:10/12/2010
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