THE OTTER TRAIL - SUMMARY NOTES BY JKA

 

 

 

 

 

hikes including times for breaks. There is no

 

 

 

need to rush.

 

 

 

Undoubtedly the best known and most popular hiking trail in South Africa, the Otter Trail must rank

 

 

 

alongside the best trails in the world. The 5-day trail is 41km long and follows the spectacular

Tide Details

 

 

coast line from Storms River to Natures Valley.

Time

Height

 

Day 1

STORMS RIVER MOUTH TO NGUBU HUTS

 

 

 

 

 

Friday

The trail starts from the S.A. National Park's Storms River rest camp. The first part

4.8

3

(H) 02H22

1.64

 

20-Apr-01

of the trail to Ngubu hut involves quite a lot of boulder hopping & with full packs, care

 

(L) 08H21

0.44

 

 

must be taken to prevent injury. After a while the hiker reaches a large cave & it is

 

 

(H) 14H37

1.60

 

 

worth taking a break here to explore this natural feature. Beyond the cave the trail

 

 

(L) 20H36

0.4

 

 

continues to the base of a majestic waterfall. After heavy rains, the crossing at the

 

 

 

 

 

 

bottom of the waterfall is the first real obstacle on the trail. At the waterfall the Otter

 

 

 

 

 

hikers leave behind any day hikers that have ventured from the rest camp & continue

 

 

 

 

 

the short remaining walk to Ngubu overnight huts.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2

NGUBU HUTS TO SCOTT HUTS

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday

The second day is probably the most varied & beautiful walk of the trail. It starts with

7.9

6

(H) 02H51

1.76

 

21-Apr-01

a steep climb away from Ngubu & then follows a walk through a beautiful area of virgin

 

(L) 08H50

0.34

 

 

forest. Eventually the hiker reaches the solid quartz outcrop of Skilderkrans. Here it is

 

 

(H) 15H07

1.70

 

 

time to take a break & have a look if one can see the dolphins or whales from this

 

 

(L)21H02

0.32

 

 

incredible vantage point. The trail then descends to cross the beautiful Kleinbos river

 

 

 

 

 

before reaching the sandy shores of Blue Bay (an ideal spot for lunch). From Blue Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

a steep climb awaits, but it is not long before Scott Hut comes into view & the end of

 

 

 

 

 

the second day's walk is accomplished.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3

SCOTT HUTS TO OAKHURST HUTS

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday

The third day starts with the crossing of the Geelhoutbos river which flows next to the

7.7

5

(H) 03H21

1.85

 

22-Apr-01

huts. The trail follows the rocky coastline until the Elandsbos river is reached at about

 

(L) 09H20

0.26

 

 

morning tea time. This is a good place for a swim, either in the river or the sea. The

 

 

(H)15H37

1.78

 

 

trail continues along the shore, passing through fynbos until the Lottering river comes

 

(L) 21H29

0.26

 

 

into view with the Oakhurst huts situated on the far bank.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Day 4

OAKHURST HUTS TO ANDRE HUTS

 

 

 

 

 

Monday

This is the longest section & the need to reach the Bloukrans river at low tide makes

13.8

8

(H) 03H51

1.92

 

23-Apr-01

this day the most difficult, depending on the time of low tide. The distance to the river

 

(L) 09H49

0.20

 

 

from Oakhurst is about 10km. This section is particularly well marked to help hikers

 

 

(H) 16H07

1.83

 

 

who have to set off before dawn. The estuary at Bloukrans is deceptive when first seen

 

(L) 21H57

0.22

 

 

from the cliff top. The estuary is wide with the dark hint of the river on the far side. It is

 

 

 

 

 

important to cross the river within half an hour of low tide unless one wants a difficult

 

Set off by

 

 

 

swim followed by a dangerous rock scramble. Once across the river, the hikers can take

 

05H00 to reach

 

 

a well earned rest in the pebble cove adjacent to the Bloukrans estuary before

 

 

Bloukrans river

 

 

completing the last stretch to Andre.

 

 

by low tide

 

 

Day 5

ANDRE HUTS TO NATURE'S VALLEY

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday

The final leg of the trail is a relatively easy walk to Nature's Valley. It starts off with a

6.8

3

(H) 04H22

1.96

 

24-Apr-01

boulder hop across the Klip river before a steep climb up to the top of the cliff. From here

 

(L) 10H20

0.18

 

 

the trail continues along the edge of the cliffs through fynebos before dipping briefly to

 

(H) 16H38

1.85

 

 

cross Helpmekaar river. Eventually Nature's Valley comes into view and all thatís left of

 

(L) 22H26

0.22

 

 

this incredible trail is a steep descent followed by a walk across a sandy beach to the

 

 

 

 

 

trails end.

 

 

 

 

 

The trail participants were Keith (leader) and Margaret, Coenraad and Vicky, Graham and Grethe, Danny, Rod, Merle, Carolee, Peter and Helen.

For a more detailed write-up of the trail by Peter & photographs by Rod visit our website or contact me for a hardcopy - Keith.