The Otter Trail

A2Z-BADGE-150 [2017]

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 โ€“ 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.

Rugged Coast

Not even the weather can dampen the beauty

The Otter Trail is probably South Africaโ€™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.


You even get to scramble over rocks on the easy bit of the trail

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.


Local wildlife. The Dassie, or Rocky Hyrax … distant relative to the elephant

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 wouldnโ€™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.


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.


A teasing taste of the sun

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.


A tiny bush buck doing his best Gandalf impression

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.






29 thoughts on “The Otter Trail

  1. The splendor of this place is truly mesmerizing. No wonder people come back here.
    “If you like sitting and looking out a window as the world goes by, there are few places likely to rival this region.” This line from your post pretty much sums up its beauty ๐Ÿ™‚

    • And this was only a small portion of it. I need to see it all I think.
      Thank you for reading and commenting

  2. Whoa loved the pics and the description of the trail. I am amazed to see that a Hyrax is distantly related to the elephant – boggles my mind ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Gorgeous photos Geraint, why is it called the Otter Trail?, is there a special reason for that?. Stunning scenery.

    • The Cape Clawless Otter is prevalent in the region, although we saw none. I think that is why they named the trail what they did.

  4. Such gorgeous scenery! Absolutely breathtaking.

    Good thing you stayed away from that bush buck! Random deer on trails do seem to have a liking for you, though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. You didn’t say how the bungee jump went! You are into extreme sports, hey. The rock formation of the falls reminded me of a similar rock formation in New Zealand, South Island, called the Punakaiki (Pancake) Rocks as they look like … yes a stack of pancakes. Love the little bush buck. I guess you will have seen many other types of antelope and deer in your travels through Africa. ๐Ÿ™‚ Linda

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