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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:47 pm 
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Hi Celebron :yaya:

I reckon March is a good time. Not too hot for hiking, but hot enough to swim.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:02 pm 
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Hi celeborn
I did the trail in november and i think this is an optimal time, i don't recommend winter as it gets chilly, spring might be dicey as a lot of rain falls there, so november until february/march should be good.

(plus when you book look at the tide timetable, make sure the day you cross the bloukrans doesn't compel you to get up at ludicrous hours, though when we had to do it, we had the advantage of having the entire afternoon at that beautiful fourth hut...)

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:09 pm 
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We walked off the Otter on 8 April. What a lovely experience - beautiful! A few things to take note of: You must be FIT! The trail is not for sissies and there are loads of uphills and downhills - whichever you hate more of, they are there! Good shoes are essential and I am totally grateful for my Falke hiking socks - a winner! Rain gear is also a consideration - I had a cheapish poncho that was ripped in the wind - good quality is really important. We ate like kings are carried heavy for the first two days - steaks, good braais, but it was worth it!
We had a yuk crossing of the Bloukranz - bad weather that day, and the times of the tides were not great. 7 am or 7pm - we took a chance for mid afternoon tide. Made it across without getting totally wet, but was a little harrowing.
We had lovely sightings of Knysna loeries every day - these were great , but I am sure that someone hid all the Narina Trogons - do such birds really exist and are they to be seen on the Otter? We saw plenty evidence of otters, but none of the little creatures, but saw genets at both first and third huts - they take their chances for food! The baboons can also be troublesome - stole apples out of the fellow group's hut on night two.
I was concerned at the amount of erosion on the paths - I did the trail 12 years ago and it seemed tougher now because the sans has been worn away. Some effort to place root-fibres on the paths did help us a bit!
It will leave happy memories for sure!

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 Post subject: Otter Trail
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 11:22 am 
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Hi,

My girlfriend and I will be hiking the Otter Trail for the first time from August the 23rd this year. What kind of weather can we expect at this time of year? How cold at night? Is there a good chance of rain? Therefore any good tips on what type of clothes to carry?

Any help will be appreciated

Regards,

Mark Wilson


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 4:42 pm 
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I've never walked the Otter, but friends have just come back from an aborted attempt - the trail was closed due to flooding :( So winter means rain down there and you could even have a similar bad luck, but I'd say that's rare. In general, expect rain, so take protection and try to keep some extra dry clothing.


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 Post subject: Age restrictions on the Otter Trail?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:53 pm 
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On this page

http://www.sanparks.org/parks/tsitsikam ... /otter.php

the following statement is made:

Age allowed and Fitness

The age allowed is between 12 to 60 years.

Is this serious, or a typographical error? I lived in SA for a year and met many rugged individuals over the age of 60 who could hike much further and faster than I. Now I would like to come back and hike the Otter Trail but have read this age discrimination statement and am confused. Maybe I should invite the SA Parks board members to visit here and speak with the hikers over 60 who do the Appalachian Trail, 2,124 miles. These hikers include some South Africans over 60.

My hope is that this is a typo, but I do wonder if anyone has called attention to this. In the States a discriminatory statement like this would generate many lawsuits.

Richard
www.damascus.org


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:36 pm 
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Hi metayel,

As far as I understand it all SANParks trails have an age restriction of 60 years but I am going to ask Diannet to look at your post and follow up on it.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:16 pm 
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Thanks. Maybe this is a specific issue with the Otter Trail. Perhaps a waiver of liability would suffice for those of us who do not meet the age requirement.

But if it applies to all parks, and I've been in six or seven in SA, then the age restriction is a strange message to send by a country promoting its tourism industry.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:42 am 
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Hi...I'll look into this and see if I can get a resonse-thanks as always for the feedback!


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:33 pm 
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Thanks for checking on this. I've looked online for other age restrictions on South African National Parks Trails, and it seems the Otter Trail is the only one with this limitation.

I suggest that the Otter Trail age restriction on the website be removed. It is understandable that you wish to protect those who do not understand the difficulty of the trail. However, anyone hiking the Otter will look into it before departing. I've done the first section to the waterfall and have hiked many other trails in SA, and know some of the physical challenges. I would not approach the Otter without preparation.

And for comparison, the highest elevation gain on the Otter is around 900 feet. On the Appalachian Trail right outside the town where I live the elevation gain is 3,200 feet. The Otter has a river to cross. The AT has several rivers to be crossed.

I believe the age restriction was put on the website by some caring individual who never gets out of the office. It is hard to believe a real hiker would impose such a limitation.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:27 pm 
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I've just been informed that the upper age limit on ALL trails is 65 years old...i'll look around the website and see where age limits are mentioned and change them accordingly...there will also I'm sure be further comment on this, as the person who can perhaps shed the most light on this is out of the office...


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:37 pm 
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diannet wrote:
I've just been informed that the upper age limit on ALL trails is 65 years old...i'll look around the website and see where age limits are mentioned and change them accordingly...there will also I'm sure be further comment on this, as the person who can perhaps shed the most light on this is out of the office...

I think that this has recently been raised from the 60 years age limit. I also think that there are good reasons for setting an age limit as many older people have a tendency to overestimate their physical capabilities and that can lead to liability issues. I also think that I have read somewhere that SANParks will waive the age restriction if the hiker has a doctor's letter affirming that the hiker/trailist is capable of doing the hike/trail.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:08 pm 
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Just got this from the South African National Parks:

Dear Richard,

The age “restriction” is not enforced but just gives people an indication that it is not that “easy”. We have had much older people completing the trail and it is your own decision if you feel fit enough. The indications are that you are very active and that you are confident of your fitness.

If you want to do this lovely trail, you are welcome to join the rest of the group who will be hiking.

Kind regards,

(name deleted)


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:32 pm 
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I'm glad you got the response you were looking for :)


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:18 am 
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I think SANParks gave a great response. At the end it is the individuals’ discretion if he/she can do it or not. I know people over the age of 65 that can do this easily and other at 30 that won't be able to do a morning walk in a park. But a hiker will know what he/she can or can't handle.

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