A record number of 220 athletes participated in this year’s Otter Trail Run in the Tsistikamma section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP).
The Otter Trail itself is a dream come true for many nature lovers and a worthwhile experience for all outdoor enthusiasts. The five-day, 42km trail is undoubtedly unique and one of the most beautiful and popular nature trails in the country. It is named after the Cape clawless otter, which hikers may see whilst on the trail. It starts at the Storm River Mouth Restcamp, and ends at the small resort village of Nature’s Valley in the De Vasselot section of the park. This trail hugs the Tsitsikamma coast as close to the pounding surf as possible and zigzags where the coastal plateau rises to an elevation of 200 meters and the cliffs drop steeply into the sea. Most of the area along the trail is covered in coastal forest with a marked difference from the coastal forest north of the trail and the inland indigenous forest. The scenery along the trail is spectacular with the surf constantly pounding. There are few river crossings, the big one being the Bloukrans River toward the end of the trail. The terrain along the trail is fairly rugged and hikers are constantly climbing up and down. Leopard, caracal, honey badger, Cape clawless otter, genet, bushbuck, bushpig, blue duiker, vervet monkeys, baboon, seal, dolphin, whale and a host of bird species can be seen along the trail.
Affectionately known as the “grail of trails”, 2012 marked the fourth year for this popular event. As the run took place in reverse this year ( from Nature’s Valley to Stormsriver Mouth) it was dubbed the “Retto Run and Retto Challenge. “ Ian Don-Wauchope, the first ever victor of the race, won again this year in a blistering time of 4hrs 23 mins. This is a new record , beating the world famous Ryan Sande’s time of 4hrs40mins last year. The first lady to cross the finishing line was American Krissy Moehl, with a time of 5hrs 25 mins.
A total number of 80 SANParks staff were involved in the 12 month planning for the event. Magnetic South, organizers of the event was praised by GRNP General Manager, Jill Bunding-Venter for the environmentally ethical way the trail was marketed, organized and managed. A regional Kudu Award was presented to Magnetic South this year for exposure of the GRNP, Otter Trail and the Tsistikamma section via extensive media coverage as well as occupancy by the participants and their families. This year’s sponsors included Hi- Tec, GU energy drinks, Buff, Suunto, I time airlines and Go- pro. Issued by:
Senior Section Ranger
South African National Parks (SANParks)
Tel: 044 531 6792 or Cell: 082 881 7769