South Africa is a country of vast blue skies, sweeping landscapes and great diversity. Known as the rainbow nation, the terrain is as varying. From region to region you’ll find flora that is quite unique and there are times where you’ll often feel like you are in a completely different part of the world, let along only in the next province.
This enticing country is a hiker’s paradise with countless options on offer. Upon speaking to a few seasoned hikers, it become quite apparent that The Otter Trail, which runs along the Tsitsikamma coast in the Eastern Cape, is arguably the most popular hiking trail in the country – the year-long waiting list serves as testament to this. Stretching from the Storms River Mouth to Natures Valley in the Tsitsikamma National Park this is one hike that needs to be on your bucket list.
Walking this acclaimed trail takes 5 days and 4 nights and covers a total of 45 kilometers. The Otter Trail, which is named after the Cape clawless otter, provides hikers with the opportunity to witness first-hand some of the most pristine coastline that the country has to offer. Only twelve people are allowed on any section of the route at any given time. The views are striking, to say the least, and pods of dolphins and other wildlife can often be spotted along the way. If you are lucky enough you may even catch a glimpse of the Southern Right Whale.
Accommodation along the way is basic, but more than sufficient. The log cabins, which are situated on the shoreline provide the necessary shelter but boast the most spectacular views. With the pounding surf only a few meters away, this is truly 5-star accommodation in its own right. Don’t expect to punctuate your trip with technology as cell phone reception is intermittent at best and thus sneaking off to log in to your favorite ipad casino just isn’t an option.
For travel accommodation options all over SA check www.AccommoDirect.com.
A decent level of fitness is required in order to complete this hike as there are many steep uphill’s and downhill’s which require a degree of agility. When training for a hike like this, make sure that you train wearing a backpack containing the same amount of weight that would be in it when actually doing the hike. Many aren’t used to scrambling up and down rocks with a loaded back pack, and some practice in this area is advisable.
Don’t forget your binoculars, camera and spare batteries. There are bound to be a multitude of sightings you’d like to capture on film.
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