This is my fifteenth (O) entry for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge.
The rain had been threatening to hit us all morning. Once we had stepped into our truck in Knysna, the incessant wave of grey cloud was looking to put a damper on what I thought would be the highlight of my day – the Bloukrans Bridge bungee jump. Before that dip with danger, however, I and the rest of the tour group had a nice little hike along the coast to contend with. And this turned into one of the most scenically spectacular hikes I have ever been on.The Otter Trail is probably South Africa’s most famous hiking trail. People from around the world visit to traverse this 42 kilometre stretch along the Indian Ocean coastline. You need to book and register in advance, as there are only minimal accommodation (huts) set up at the designated rest spot on each day. This 5 day/4 night hike needs to be timed perfectly to ensure you reach the inlets at low tide, offering you the easiest and safest chance of crossing. Many people will do this hike repeatedly as they never tire of its splendour. After our brief fling with the first few kilometres of the trail, I can understand why. We started at the Storms River Base Camp, which is situated in Tsitsikamma National Park, along the famed Garden Route. This is a region of immense beauty, with some of the best drives I have ever been on. If you like sitting and looking out a window as the world goes by, there are few places likely to rival this region. Our hike was going to last 3-4 hours depending on how quick we were, and how difficult it became should the rain come out to play. All told, we walk, scramble, jump, and climb about 4 miles, to the first waterfall and back. We would pass a big cave, but as we still had to do a bungee jump and visit the cat sanctuary later that day, we wouldn’t have time to explore the cave or surrounding area.
The clouds continued to come and go, and the wind played hide and seek with us as well, but for the most part, the rocks stayed dry, the dirt stayed hard, and we all managed to stay on our feet until we reached the falls.We sat here for a few minutes, admiring the beauty of the falls, and then the rugged beauty of the Indian Ocean behind us. We were near the best place in Africa to watch whales from shore, so I constantly kept an eye out, but saw none. This is a good region for dolphin as well, but again, I came away empty handed.
We turned around and trekked back, following the tiny yellow paw prints painted on the rocks to let us know we were heading in the right direction. Myself and one other lagged behind, her footing not as sure as the others on the trip, and me in no mood to have someone left behind.The others were in the parking lot, starting on lunch when we ventured up the final part of the path, only to be stopped by the meanest looking thing I have ever seen. We made it to the bridge in time to jump, which you can see here, and then on to the cat sanctuary immediately after that.