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Otter Trail

Knysna, Tsitsikamma, Wilderness
CapeDoc
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Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:07 am

Re: Otter Trail

Unread postby CapeDoc » Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:54 pm

We just completed the otter trail a week ago.
Only 4 of us walked it and we loved it! Not quite as tough as I thought it would be. We had a little rain on day one and a lot of mist on day two, otherwise, kindly overcast. The rivers that were for fresh water collection were all quite dry and hardly running.
I learned a few things on the trail:

- Clothing:
You don't need a lot of it! I wore one pair of lightweight long pants with zip off legs for the whole trip. Modern hiking clothes are FANTASTIC! I took 2 modern, "wicking" lightweight shirts. They seemed to shrug off dirt and smells, and were fantastically quick to dry. The long sleeved shirt was comfortable in the spring sun and prevented sunburn.

A clean tracksuit is a treat to wear around camp after a shower.

Good, comfortable, waterproof boots make for happy feet. I got a cut under my foot, but the good boots made it easy to walk on.
Good thick hiking socks also help.

A poncho works well! It stops the rain from wetting the back of your pack when you use a rain cover (if you throw it over the pack)

- Walking poles:


Ha! I used to think they were for sissies! They are amazing! I used only one and the help it gave was awesome! I found myself "punting" myself uphill, taking about 15 to 20% of the load off my legs. On the downhills, the stop the jarring on your knees as you gently lower yourself down. USE THEM!

- Kit
- A decent head torch is a good idea.
- Modern gas burners are fantastic.
- A candle or two would have been great to have. We omitted them but the would have made the hut nights better.
- If you don't want to take firelighters, a tube of "waterless hand cleaner gel" (alcohol based) works a treat!
- One of us had a UV light steriliser pen, which we used to sterilise the water. (a lot of development upstream). We had no tummy upset at all!
- A "Camelbag" type water bag is worth it! Some of the marked fresh water rivers looked a little stagnant to me. Having 2litres to sip on while you walk is very comforting and keeps you hydrated without you ever feeling the need to fill your belly with water.
- if you have an old backpack, borrow a new one!
- in spring, a lightweight sleeping bag with a liner was more than adequate.

- River crossing stuff:
Read this..

:thumbs_up:

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DuneRichard
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:30 pm
Location: Kalahari

Re: Otter Trail

Unread postby DuneRichard » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:19 am

Right so, heres the breakdown...

Take a guy foolish enough to live in the Kalahari Desert, and add an extra load of foolishness to that guy and get him really amped up for the Otter Trail.. Sound great? YEAH!!

But...

I am a hard-conditioned desert dweller, and have very (VERY) little knowledge of water in vast quantities, does anyone have any tips and/or info on the water aspect of the Otter Trail? Rivers, crossings, etc etc etc.

How do I go about preparing myself, and my equipment for the trail?
Ex Africa semper aliquid novi
Always something new out of Africa - Pliny the Elder

Thanatosis emoticon - :shock:

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

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JustNature
Posts: 440
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:32 am

Re: Otter Trail

Unread postby JustNature » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:33 am

simonB wrote:Hi guys

I will be walking the Otter trail from 23-27 August 2009
Will post a trip report with a few pictures after the hike.

Thats if I survive ;-)


That would be nice, a TR on the Otter :dance: , would love to see the route now as I did it in 2002, was most enjoyable just a killer on the knees :tongue: the huts where a great sight after the days hike and the river crossing (Bloukrans) was an experiance not to forget...got there and crossed at the mouth waist high, current was a bit rough :hmz: . It was an awesome hike :thumbs_up:
Let us permit nature to have her way. She understands her business better than we do.
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
KNP 18/05/2012-27/05/2012

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Josh of the Bushveld
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 1904
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 2:15 pm
Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark

Re: Otter Trail

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:35 am

DuneRichard wrote:
How do I go about preparing myself, and my equipment for the trail?

How much walking have you done in your boots, and with your (fully-loaded) backpack?

As mentioned in the previous post, I can recommend a hydration bladder. (I use a 20-year old Backpacker Boulder and put the bladder in one of the upper side-pockets, with the tube going through a loop in the shoulder strap).

If water quality is an issue, (I don't know what the situation on the Otter is now), get yourself a bottle of Aqua Salveo (chlorine pills taste horrible). I'd also recommend a second (smaller) bottle which you can drink from while waiting for the water purification to work (it'll take a while in a 2l hydration bladder).

CapeDoc wrote:- If you don't want to take firelighters, a tube of "waterless hand cleaner gel" (alcohol based) works a treat!
Very interesting idea!
The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal

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DuneRichard
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:30 pm
Location: Kalahari

Re: Otter Trail

Unread postby DuneRichard » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:46 am

Thanks joshilewis, but I think you misunderstood my problem, water to drink is no issue, it's the water to get through thats worrying me...
Ex Africa semper aliquid novi
Always something new out of Africa - Pliny the Elder

Thanatosis emoticon - :shock:

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

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Josh of the Bushveld
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1904
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 2:15 pm
Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark

Re: Otter Trail

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:50 am

DuneRichard wrote:Thanks joshilewis, but I think you misunderstood my problem, water to drink is no issue, it's the water to get through thats worrying me...

Haha, ok :)
From reading a post on the river crossing thread, it seems the river's changed a lot since I did it, so I'm afraid my advice wouldn't be that useful :|
The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal

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DuneRichard
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:30 pm
Location: Kalahari

Re: Otter Trail

Unread postby DuneRichard » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:56 am

Appreciated though...

I think I need to buy like a "river crossing for dummies" book or something, as you might imagine, life in the Kalahari means I have'nt been able to gain much experience in water-slogging... :huh: :huh: :huh:
Ex Africa semper aliquid novi
Always something new out of Africa - Pliny the Elder

Thanatosis emoticon - :shock:

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

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JustNature
Posts: 440
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:32 am

Re: Otter Trail

Unread postby JustNature » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:43 am

DuneRichard I know when I did the trail there where 3 different crossing areas for the different times, I don't know if it has changed as It was in 2002 that I did the trail. the 3 ways helped for the time you got to the river as to which route to take and which is the safer :hmz:
Let us permit nature to have her way. She understands her business better than we do.
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
KNP 18/05/2012-27/05/2012

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Tom124
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Location: Central Scotland

Re: Otter Trail

Unread postby Tom124 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:16 pm

So basically, if you're short like me you'll be going throught the water with just your scalp above the water!? :P
Back from beautiful Botswana - a long time to wait, but KNP and KTP planned for 2016!

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DuneRichard
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:30 pm
Location: Kalahari

Re: Otter Trail

Unread postby DuneRichard » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:06 pm

LOL... If you happen to see a Witsand Kalahari Nature Reserve cap floating in the ocean, you'll know who drowned under it... :?
Ex Africa semper aliquid novi
Always something new out of Africa - Pliny the Elder

Thanatosis emoticon - :shock:

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

hanri.loots
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:30 am

Re: Otter Trail

Unread postby hanri.loots » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:35 am

Hi,

I just got booking for the otter 14 Feb to 18 Feb 2011 for 6 ppl. If you maybe have booking for the same date, let me know so we can chat before we meet there :D

I cant wait to go!!


CraigH
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Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 5:17 am

Otter Trail - Shuttle Bus to and from Storms River?

Unread postby CraigH » Thu May 27, 2010 5:30 am

Hi,

I'm hoping someone can clear something up for me. My partner and I have a reservation for the Otter trail from 20th to 24th of June, we also have accommodation booked at Storms River Mouth on the 19th, and at Natures Valley on the 24th.

We really can't afford the Baz Bus, and are looking at the Intercape bus instead - times for the Intercape bus suit us a lot better too. It says that it drops off at "STORMSRIVIER - Bridge Total Garage", so I have 3 questions:

1. How far is this from Storms River Mouth, and is there any transport to Storms River Mouth? I heard that there is a Shuttle bus but don't know anything about it or other options.

2. What would be the best way to get from Nature's Valley back to "STORMSRIVIER - Bridge Total Garage"? (So that we can catch the bus back to Cape Town at the end of the Otter Trail).

3. Is it ever possible to make arrangement swith a bus company like Intercape to pick up on the N2 outside Nature's Valley?

Any links or information would be greatly appreciated - we are quite confused! :)

Craig

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Herman
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Location: Vanderbijlpark

Re: Otter Trail - Shuttle Bus to and from Storms River?

Unread postby Herman » Mon May 31, 2010 7:42 pm

Storms River bridge to Storms river mouth is at least 10kms - so you'd better arrange transport !
Natures Valley back to Storms river bridge is 42 kms - there is a shuttle service , but it's pricey
My best advice is to contact the Storms river Parks office (042) 281 1607 they might be able to help ?

andre w
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:38 pm

Re: Otter Trail - Shuttle Bus to and from Storms River?

Unread postby andre w » Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:04 pm

Hi Craig,
We (also 2) have the same problem - we're doing the Otter in July - but now organised - I hope.
Nature's Valley Guest House (we don't have an accomm booking with them) will transport us between Nat Valley and Storms River Mouth, where we have a booking the night before the hike. Their rates are reasonable (I think) and they (Pat Bond) replied promptly.
The link to their site: http://www.naturesvalleyguesthouse.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Enjoy your hike, be safe and please post something on your return - especially re the Bloukrantz crossing (LOL)
Regards
Andrè
WELKOM


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