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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:38 am 
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CapeDoc wrote:
We have just completed the Otter Trail.
I think it is important to give a little inf on the Bloukraans river crossing.

5) Shoes you can swim in.
(And wear around camp after a long day's walk)
Slops tend to come off. The ideal would be those aqua shoes, wetsuit booties or well protected sandals (one of our party got quite badly cut though the opening in his sandals. Not great when you still have to walk). I had tight fitting crocs, which worked OK. Others ended up duct taping their shoes on.
I recommend Salomon TechAmphibian or SportAmphibian for this. They're the most comfortable pair of shoes I've bought so far.

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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:58 pm 
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Location: Kalahari
Thanks a million for all the info...
It's certainly helped me a lot and will help everyone else who reads it.

I have one question though, are there no more cost effective ways of dealing with the crossings than proper survival bags etc etc etc...

The trouble is that I don't wan't to buy something, use it once and then let it become a white elephant somewhere in my house.

What about those green garden waste bags (They are destinctly stronger than black garbage bags)? If you sealed one with the backpack in it and then put it into a 2nd one the other way around and seal it.
Would that work?

If anyone has any further money-saving alternatives, please, lets hear them!!

I like the duct tape idea, as well as the Ziplok bags...

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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:08 pm 
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I did the Otter trail about 25 years ago. Fortunately the only river I had to swim across was the Bloukrans. All the other rivers were ankle deep.

I could not remember what we used to cross the Bloukrans and had to refer back to my photographs. All I see is a few black bags and a lot of wet kit and clothes. I guess the black bags did not work.

I am a competent swimmer, and still am, but I was petrified of having to cross THAT river.

I would love to do the Otter again, but am nervous about the latest conditions of the river mouth.

This should not put any aspiring hiker off doing the Otter Trail. Just be aware of the possible dangers. Take the necessary precautions and try and cross at low tide.

The Otter is the most scenic and beautiful hike I have ever done.

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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:58 pm 
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DuneRichard wrote:

What about those green garden waste bags (They are destinctly stronger than black garbage bags)? If you sealed one with the backpack in it and then put it into a 2nd one the other way around and seal it.
Would that work?

Just a few things to remember:
1) You probably will pick up and put down the bag on the rocks as you prepare. If the bag is thin, it WILL tear on the rocks.
2) Survival bags cost about R30 to R50
3) All your kit including food, dry clothes and your SLEEPING BAG will get wet if the bag has even a small hole in it.
When you are exhausted and it may be raining, how much is dry kit worth to you?


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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:59 am 
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Location: Wierda Park, Centurion
Can anyone tell me where I can find out about the tide's for March? I am walking the Otter :D starting the 12th of March.


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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:07 am 
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DuneRichard wrote:
I have one question though, are there no more cost effective ways of dealing with the crossings than proper survival bags etc etc etc...

The trouble is that I don't wan't to buy something, use it once and then let it become a white elephant somewhere in my house.
Buy a survival bag. Once you've got it, it'll be added motivation to do the trail again in the future (to recoup your investment) ;)

Also, look it at this way. You're spending a few thousand Rand on the trail and getting there. Are you not prepared to spend R100 (or much less) more to ensure your safety and enjoyment and on the trail? (I know that equipment adds up, I've also felt that pain. I also know that my survival bag is at least 10 years old and is still in good nick.)

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Glen Reenen TR

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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:20 am 
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Aha, It seems I over estimated thge cost of a survival bag.

Where I live we don't do that kind of thing - If you hike, and it rains, you get wet. Tough. Plough on. 8) So the whole "buying special equipment" thing is pretty new to me...

Anyone have an idea on a good brand or good place to look for equipment? :huh:

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Thanatosis emoticon - :shock:

FGASA Level 1 Guide
17 years of life in the magical Kalahari and LOVING IT!


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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:34 am 
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DuneRichard wrote:
Anyone have an idea on a good brand or good place to look for equipment? :huh:

I'm not sure what options you have where you live, but I try to avoid Cape Union Mart as much as I can. Their salespeople don't have a clue what they're talking about. They might be your only choice though.

I think I've got a Karrimor.

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The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

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Glen Reenen TR

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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:15 pm 
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DuneRichard wrote:
Anyone have an idea on a good brand or good place to look for equipment?


I got my survival bag form Sportsman's warehouse. They have hiking gear too. Cape Union Mart, Cape Storm also good for hiking gear (can't vouch for sales staff!)

I would also look at Gumtree for second hand kit. I bought some brand new hiking poles through Gumtree, that cost just over half what they did in a store. You will find boots, backpacks, sleeping bags etc on Gumtree.
Hoe that helps
:wink:


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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:23 pm 
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Found this place too.


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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:32 pm 
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
CapeDoc wrote:
I got my survival bag form Sportsman's warehouse. They have hiking gear too. Cape Union Mart, Cape Storm also good for hiking gear (can't vouch for sales staff!)

As per my PM, be very wary of the salespeople at C.U.M.

If you can get to Johannesburg to buy gear, PM me and I will PM you a list of good shops.

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The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

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Glen Reenen TR

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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:41 pm 
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I am a 47-year-old non-swimmer. I hope to do the Otter Trail this April. Will I be able to cross the rivers? :?


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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:51 pm 
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It is many years since I did the Otter trail. The only river that we had to swim across was the Bloukrans, the others were either ankle deep or had no water in them at all.

The Bloukrans has changed since my last visit and I believe it has become quite treacherous. I was a very strong swimmer at the time of my crossing and it was not easy.

There is an escape route if the Bloukrans river is not safe to cross.

Maybe some-one who has recently crossed the river can advise.

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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:48 am 
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mizzbee wrote:
There is an escape route if the Bloukrans river is not safe to cross


Is it easy to tell if the Bloukrans is safe to cross? Since I can't swim I don't mind wading if the current is gentle, but if the river suddenly gets deep midstream could I get swept away?

I'm fairly nervous about it, as you can tell!

Also, how long does the "escape route" add to that section, if I have to walk upriver then back down the other side?


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 Post subject: Re: River Crossings on the Otter
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:55 pm
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I did the hike a few years ago so I cant comment on the current conditions.
But it will be the best hike of your life.
Ensure you know the tides for the 3rd day as this is the worst crossing.
There are 4 routes to take depending on the tide, make damn sure you are there on the lowest point of the tide as we nearly killed ourselves doing the not-reccommended route due to a HUGE storm out at sea. it was super high tide.
Have a ball!


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