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 Post subject: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:51 am 
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Hi, we are Australians thinking of doing the Otter Trail sometime this year, probably October if we can get in; but I'd like to find out how safe the area is (crime wise)? Also, we don't like sleeping in huts when we go on multi day hikes, are we allowed to use our own tent instead?


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:56 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Dont forget the Otter trail is difficult .. have to cross rivers and also tents are heavy . But I am sure the more experienced hikers will have more info.

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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:07 am 
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heather_s wrote:
Hi, we are Australians thinking of doing the Otter Trail sometime this year, probably October if we can get in; but I'd like to find out how safe the area is (crime wise)? Also, we don't like sleeping in huts when we go on multi day hikes, are we allowed to use our own tent instead?


The Otter Trail is as safe as anything can be. In other words there have been no unpleasant incidents that I know of.

Regarding the tents, at least on some of the days there is no room near the hut to pitch a tent, the huts having been built on rocky outcrops above the sea (even the river is about 200 metres down). However, if you want to carry a tent I'm sure no-one will have any objections. On the three occasions I have done the Otter Trail (none recently) the party I was with used the huts.

You should just be able to ask the people with whom you did the booking for any current information. You do have a booking? The trail is booked up several years in advance in peak seasons. It is STRICTLY limited to ten hikers a day because of the ecological sensitivity of the area which means that bookings are highly sought after.

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KNP Sable Hide 21 December 2014
KNP Letaba 22 - 26 December 2014
KNP Lower Sabie 25 April to 3 May 2015


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:12 am 
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My apologies, I see now that you are trying to get a booking for October. This is a good time to try. Students and scholars are all working for their exams and are thus removed from the competition for places.

I hope you get a place. It is a very beautiful and exciting trail and I saw lots of interesting things on the trail, including otters twice.

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Addo Elephant National Park 14 -16 July 2014 (well, the morning of the 17th, really)
KNP Sable Hide 21 December 2014
KNP Letaba 22 - 26 December 2014
KNP Lower Sabie 25 April to 3 May 2015


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:48 am 
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thanks Moira; I looked on the online booking and saw a couple of places available on two days, one in October and the other in November, there's only two of us! I don't like shared accommodation, all that snoring, haha, hence the tent query.

I lived in Cape Town for a while, about 12 years ago, but never managed to find time to do the Otter Trail. My main issue is more finding cheap flights from Australia; I need to go from Brisbane via Perth and the prices are astronomical!


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:18 am 
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Hi heather, and welcome to the forums.

Re safety, I think there are sometimes illegal fisherman in the trail area (I saw some on my trail in '99), so there are sometimes other people in the area. I imagine it would not be a good idea to confront such people if you come across them.

May I ask why you prefer sleeping in a tent to the huts? (Am just curious). The huts on the otter are quite reasonable, and you might find you might have a much better experience not having to carry a tent (and mattress).

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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:25 am 
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oh, I'm just used to doing multi day hikes in tents; and I spent too much time when young in boarding school and backpacker dorms (I'm well into my middle years, and like early nights and undisturbed sleep!)

Also another question, maybe someone can answer, the distances on the Otter trail seem very short, we'd normally do, for example, a 4km walk (even up a mountain), as a side trip on one of our usual walks. I suppose you can do the trail in as few days as you wish?


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:30 am 
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No, there is space for only so many people in each hut each night, and you have to sleep in the allocated hut in each night.

There are 2 huts at each camp, each sleeping 6. I doubt anyone will keep you up with noise.

The distances aren't always so short, and there's a lot of uphill and downhill climbing (i.e. vertical distance) to take into account. The day with the river crossing is a very very long day (day 2 if I remember correctly).

Last year, a trail runner did the entire trail (plus a little more) in under 5 hours (in an organised race)

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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:41 pm 
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heather_s wrote:

Also another question, maybe someone can answer, the distances on the Otter trail seem very short, we'd normally do, for example, a 4km walk (even up a mountain), as a side trip on one of our usual walks. I suppose you can do the trail in as few days as you wish?


The Otter Trail is a fairly tough trail. Not impossible. Just enough to leave one pleasantly tired every day.

No, it is not likely that one can do the trail in as few days as one wishes. There are only a designated number of places on the trail every day and if one skips a camp one must have made sure that there is accommodation for the party at the next hut.

Day 1 was not tough. Day 2 is short but hilly. Day 3 or Day 4 has the river and one has to time that for low tide. Do not be fooled into thinking that one can do it at high tide. My father nearly died making that mistake AND he was a VERY STRONG swimmer with provincial colours in swimming. As it was he lost his pack with all his equipment but just, just managed to get to the river bank, too exhausted and depressed to carry on. Wet and miserable he would have fared badly if it wasn't for the concern of a fellow hiking party who were sensible enough to do the crossing at low tide.

Approach it as a joy with time to watch the otters (and butterflies).

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Addo Elephant National Park 14 -16 July 2014 (well, the morning of the 17th, really)
KNP Sable Hide 21 December 2014
KNP Letaba 22 - 26 December 2014
KNP Lower Sabie 25 April to 3 May 2015


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:31 am 
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Moira de Swardt wrote:
My father nearly died making that mistake AND he was a VERY STRONG swimmer with provincial colours in swimming. As it was he lost his pack with all his equipment but just, just managed to get to the river bank, too exhausted and depressed to carry on. Wet and miserable he would have fared badly if it wasn't for the concern of a fellow hiking party who were sensible enough to do the crossing at low tide.


Wow! :o
Glad he made it safely!

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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:23 am 
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joshilewis wrote:
Moira de Swardt wrote:
My father nearly died making that mistake


Wow! :o
Glad he made it safely!


My father was an excellent and experienced hiker/climber. I could never get him to tell me WHY he was hiking alone when he was with a party. He was easy-going and sociable, and always followed the rule about not hiking alone. I have often wondered about that. But the story does have a cautionary value for this forum. The rules are there for a reason. One may, especially if one is "experienced" get away with breaking them for while, but there may come a day when the outcome is not so happy.

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KNP Sable Hide 21 December 2014
KNP Letaba 22 - 26 December 2014
KNP Lower Sabie 25 April to 3 May 2015


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:09 pm 
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I can understand not wanting to share the huts with other hikers. Given the experience you have, you sound very fit and are used to walking fast.
The distances are short and one could finish the trail quickly (as said above, 5 hours at a flat out run!) I think you have to examine why you want to do the trail.

Exercise? There are a few stair climbing ups that got me puffing. The equivalent of climbing stairs up a 40 story building. Straight up.
Image
To be away from it all, and soak up the surroundings? That's why I did it. The walk wasn't that tough, but we took it slowly, exploring caves, swimming at all the swimming spots, taking long lunches while enjoying our surroundings. Sometimes you get more out of it if you take it slowly.
Image
Image
:thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:54 am 
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A disturbing news summary in Daily News, Durban, last night alleged 5 recent incidents of crime on Otter Trail with the most recent being a group held up and robbed of three of their packs in the middle of the night at the last hut.
Oh no, please some explanation for this, as I still want to get a booking for this trail :cry: . :cry: :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:55 pm 
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Hi Guys,
I am hoping for some comment re my previous post on attacks on Otter Trail.
Thanks, Kite. :hmz:


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:31 am 
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kite, I did a search to try find some articles etc on the attacks but couldn't find anything. Can you post links to a source?

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