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Otter Trail- Info and Advice

Knysna, Tsitsikamma, Wilderness
delfinely82
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Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:23 pm

Storage facilities in Storms River Camp? -Otter Trail-

Unread post by delfinely82 » Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:40 pm

Hi everyone,

We're 2 people planning to do the Otter trail on January 2010 and as South Africa is part of a much longer trip throughout other countries, we'll be carrying stuff that wouldn't be of any need for the Otter trail and which will make our bag heavier than required. Is there any possibility that we could leave some of our things in Storms River that the park organization would leave at the end of the trail in Nature's valley, or do we have to come back to Storms river by our own means to have our stuff back? Is there any storage facility? We'll be travelling on a Baz Bus tour.

Many thanks for your help.

parkgirl
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:24 pm

Re: Storage facilities in Storms River Camp? -Otter Trail-

Unread post by parkgirl » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:52 am

hi there
we have made contact with the Park Manager Darren Claasen for you, and this is his reply below:

We’ll store the additional equipment at Storms River reservations and transport it to Natures Valley when they finish the trail. Storage of the equipment and the transport thereof is at the owner’s risk.

Hope this helps!
will pm you the details
kind regards
parkgirl

tigerclaw
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:22 pm

Re: Bloukrans River Crossing - Otter Trail

Unread post by tigerclaw » Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:45 pm

ColinP - When you do the trail they give you a one page document (if memory serves) of general rules and so on. It also has detail and drawings of the more serious river crossings (the drawings show the optional routes across the rivers quite clearly) - As far as Bloukrans there is actually an "A" (via the mouth) a "B" which is more directly across (short of the mouth with a bit of a rock scramble) and a "C" which is a serious rock climb (there is a long vertical hanging rope to try and help you) - however I dont believe route C is an option without a proper harness etc as a fall would be very serious / lethal. (the route guide also strongly discourages it) - But as Herman said common sense is best approach. (we got soaked but had a great experience and a good laugh)

ColinP
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:00 pm

Re: Bloukrans River Crossing - Otter Trail

Unread post by ColinP » Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:06 am

Thanks for the replies.

We managed the crossing in the end - thanks so much to the great bunch who were sharing the trail with us for all their help.

We arrived to see a very different Bloukrans mouth to that which was there before - there is no sand left on the beach, just rocks. The channel at low tide was about 40 - 50m across, and between waist and chest deep between waves. (Our low was a couple of days after the neap tides, so it will go lower than that). This is the B route on the map. The A route is currently out at sea :-)

We had a couple of survival bags, and some rope, and between the 12 of us on the trial managed to get all the packs across dry, but it did take over an hour ferrying them in the two bags. It's possible that you might have made it dry with a pack balanced on your head, but only if you were very, very lucky with a long break between waves. The ability to tread water with a 15kg pack on your head would also help.

Something to float the bags (and keep them dry) and some rope are definitely needed at the moment. Perhaps with time the sand will build up again and people can stroll across at low tide with the gentle waves lapping around their kness, but I suspect it'll be a while before that is the case.

Colin

ColinP
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Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:00 pm

Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by ColinP » Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:31 am

We finished the trail about a week ago, and it was great. The huts are in very good condition, the mattresses are much thicker than I remember them, so a comfortable night's sleep is easy. The trail itself is also well maintained, although you can see the evidence of recent erosion in places. The only time we went astray was when we plodded up a new unsignposted escape route, and even this was only because some cretin had piled branches across the trail itself and drawn a big arrow pointing up the escape route.

We were surprised to have to wade through chin deep water (I'm 6'3") to cross the Elandsbos river, but then that was at high tide. The Bloukrans (at low tide) was also interesting, the channel is deeper and wider than it used to be, and we need survival bags to keep our kit dry, but it is crossable. We used the B route, with a short rock scramble on the other side. Unless the spring tide is a whole lot lower than the tide we had, I'd guess the A route is always going to be tricky.

The only criticism I have is that the maps are pathetic. It is impossible to deduce whether you are about to go up or downhill, there is no indication of vegetation, and a couple of the water points marked are a joke - how far do you need to swim up the Bloukrans to get fresh water? It was unanimously agreed that the University of Pretoria's Geography department must be pretty poor if that is the best they could manage. What was wrong with the old maps? They were a better scale, far more accurate, had more detail (vegetation and so on) and even had a cross section, so you could tell what climbs were coming up, and how high and steep they were. Personally, I would be happy to pay good money for a good map, and it would have made far more sense to update the old ones (if they even needed it) than to go and make the new and inaccurate ones.

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ndloti
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Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by ndloti » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:01 pm

I read that the huts areas also now have under cover kitchen areas , allows more space for cooking , great in the case of inclement weather .
Last edited by ndloti on Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

ColinP
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Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:00 pm

Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by ColinP » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:52 pm

That's right, each hut has a roofed gazebo type of thing with benches, a fire place and a small basin. We didn't use them much, we just cooked in the hut on out stoves. But if we'd taken along a bit of wors...

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ndloti
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Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by ndloti » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:49 pm

Also paved shower areas , when I spent new year at Andre in 1999/2000 (also walked in 1996) I would have welcomed these improvements .
Time to go again .
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

Richtk
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 4:44 pm

Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by Richtk » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:03 am

Did the Otter Trail a week ago. We had to exit on the third day!! The river bed next to second days cabins was 3 metres high in sea foam. We almost lost 9 of our guys. This was after the big storms...

prinslft
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:04 pm
Location: Secunda

Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by prinslft » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:56 am

Good day

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
We are doing the Otter from 22 Jan to 26 Jan. This is our first time and do not know what to expect with the river crossings. We already obtained the tide schedule and with Bloukrans we have to start hiking at 4 am in order to make the crossing at 9h35 am. We obtained info although some are conflicting, mentally and physically prepared but...what to expect?? That is the question. :big_eyes:

Another story we heard was that with the recent floodings, the crossings is quite difficult. Please advise on this. The weather seems fine and we can not wait for the 21st Jan when we board the plane for George....We will report back... :pray:

Regards
Frik
Take only Photo`s from nature and leave only footprints

ColinP
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Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:00 pm

Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by ColinP » Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:52 am

Hi Frik

We did the Otter in early December, and two of the rivers were a bit tricky. The first was the Elandsbos on day 3 - we arrived while the tide was pretty high and crossed a little way inland. The water came up to my chin (I'm 6'3"), and the kids bags had to be carried (above the head) for them. Some of the group crossed at the mouth, where the water was shallow, but they got hit by some waves. All in all it was 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. From your dates though, it looks as though you'll get there at low tide, so it should just be a stroll across.

The crossing of the Lottering river at the end of day 3 is quite far inland, but the tide will probably be quite high when you get there, so you might get your feet wet.

The Bloukrans is obviously the big one, and there you will need survival bags to put your packs in, and a lilo or small kids inflatible boat to float your pack across (although the pack will float in it's survival bag if it's properly sealed). Some rope to anchor on either end helps to guide you across too (we had two 30m lengths of rope tied together, and it just made it). We used route B, and the water was chest deep at low tide, with waves coming in above head height. There is a short scramble on the rocks from where you climb out, and the rocks are quite sharp so you need to look after the survival bags, especially if you don't have one per pack and are re-using them. We managed to get 12 packs over in 2 (huge) survival bags - we did two packs a crossing in each bag, but both bags had holes in by the time we took the last ones across.

I'd advise that you do your best to get there before low tide - allow a little time to check conditions before crossing, but you definitely don't want to do it more than and hour away from low tide itself. It's a good idea to go out without pakcs to check where the channels are and how deep they are. The first of our group swam over about an hour and a half before low tide and we started with the packs about 45 mins before - it took about an hour and a half to get them all across - packing and sealing the packs in the bags, floating/carrying them over, unloading them trying not to tear the bags, and ferrying the packs to a spot where you could put your boots back on and carry on hiking. Luckily the people we shared the hike with were a great bunch and with all of us working together, it worked well - either group on their own would have battled.

If you're fit and can carry a little extra, I'd have a survival bag per pack, two lengths of ski-rope and possibly a lilo. We weren't the fittest group ever to tackle the trial (I'm the wrong side of 45 and over 100kgs) but if we did it again, I'd take more survival bags, so that there were enough to cross once only.

Good luck, and enjoy the hike, it's great and a wonderful experience.

Colin

p.s. Feel free to contact me if there is anything I've left unclear...

oppikoffi
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:07 pm

Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by oppikoffi » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:40 pm

What a pity you couldn't finished. Try to do it again. I've done my third otter hike 2 weeks ago... every time I think to get fitter for the next, but... the older I get (and "unfitter") the better I enjoy it :-) because when the uphill is too steep, it gives me energy when me and my sister moaned togehter :-)
The rivercrossings was nice this time around, although I don't think that the Bloukrans will ever be without survival bags (and we also crossed it together with 3 sharks :-) )
I've prayed for a blessed hike - sister and brother-in-law and aren't experience at all - and the Lord favoured us with cool weather, no rain and enough energy for all the up hills! And the little sip of OBS at the end of each day helped a lot!

Don't quit trying to do it again...

prinslft
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:04 pm
Location: Secunda

Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by prinslft » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:33 am

:dance: We have done and completed the Otter trail,last week. What an amazing hike, especialy the 4th day..... We started the 22nd Jan 2009 and finished the 26th Jan. We crossed all the rivers without even taking of our boots, except for the Bloukrans :shock:

We lost in total 6 survival bags to the rocks, thus rocks 6 humans 0. It was realy an enjoyable hike (if you are fit and prepared) Regrets we were not..... :redface:

All information we gathered was valuable but the tides did not work with us with Bloukrans. We were at the crossing from 8h30 and had to cross 9h35, the water did not recede. Can someone please explain this to me???? :roll:

Still, everything was good....We are alive...

Regards
Frik
Take only Photo`s from nature and leave only footprints

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Herman
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Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by Herman » Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:08 pm

8:30 at Bloukrans already ??!! What time did you start to get there so early ? Must be awful to walk in the dark.

prinslft
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:04 pm
Location: Secunda

Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by prinslft » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:20 pm

We got up at 3am and started hiking at 3h30 (with headlamps)....great experience try it at least once in your life...lol
Take only Photo`s from nature and leave only footprints


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