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Otter Trail- Info and Advice

Knysna, Tsitsikamma, Wilderness
andre w
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Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by andre w » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:04 pm

I would suggest either an early start - at just after 00:00 - we've done it (last year winter) in the dark and the going is really slow due to the terrain, darkness and the markers not so clearly visible in the dark. OR, start at +/- 06:00 (I see sunrise on that day is 05:09), enjoy the 10km to the Bloukrantz, see what it looks like - seems that the tide will be quite high - and whether you feel up to a crossing - if you DO cross, just prepare extremely well with ropes etc etc but I would suggest rather take the escape route and Sanparks will transport you to a point where you can pick up the trail again.
Don't - like a lot of people - let the Bloukrantz crossing "high-jack" your whole hike - it's only a small (although very important, yes) part of the hike and should you do the +/- 10.5 km in the dark, you would have missed out on about 25% of the full route - not really worth it - but an experience nevertheless, to hike with headlamps and crossing the Bloukrantz.

andre w
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Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?

Unread post by andre w » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:28 pm

I googled this article in Hello Plett.
The incident apparently was during the night of 20/7/11 - my wife and I were in the same hut, the night of 22/7/11. This hut (Andrè No 2) now has 2 sliding "locks" in the inside - upper and lower doors.
The only hut on the trail to have this - good idea - and should be placed in all huts.
The article reads as follows:
"the Editor
Theft on Otter Trail
On Saturday 16th July2011, a group of 11 Western Province Mountain Club hikers set off on the Otter Hiking Trail.
In the early hours of the morning on Day 5 (Wednesday 20 July) we discovered that we had been burgled while we were sleeping in Andre Hut No 2. Three of our bags were removed from the hut and ransacked during the night. Items
that were removed included cellphones (Smartphones), sunglasses, gloves, trainpants and a Nikon D90 camera. This was never expected to happen on the
World renowned Otter hiking Trail. We were later informed by the South African National Parks (SANParks) rangers that there had been five(5) previous incidents at the same hut.
The question begs to why SANParks did not find it necessary to inform hikers of the possibility of theft on the hike.
The permit for the hike indicates that a briefing was to take place prior to the commencement of the hike. This never took place. Instead an outdated video of approx 30mins is plays repeatedly in the visitors centre at Storms River Nature Reserve. It later materialised that the person responsible for the briefing had retired and had not been replaced.
According to the Law Enforce-ment Division rangers of SANParks, they have continuously communicated the incidents to the Hospitality Division but to
no avail. It would seem that the previous robberies at Andre Hut No2 were never reported on.
It has to be said that the Otter Trail was an incredible experience that was marred by this incident.
SANParks has to step up their awareness with regards to safety and security of hikers. Warning notices should accompany the permits and maps. Notices can also be posted inside the huts.
Credit goes to the SANParks ranger Marco and his team that responded speedily and also organised transport for the hikers from Nature's Valley to collect the vehicles at Storms River.
I hope that this will be brought to the attention of fellow hikers and
outdoor enthusiast.

Brian Savel
WPMC Hiking Convenor"

I hope this helps and that this incident does not mar or deter hikers to do this magnificent trail.

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Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:16 pm

What a pity this has happened. At least they've put locks on the doors now.
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Otter Trail photos

Unread post by scottnramsay » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:04 am

Hi Garden Route parks fans...

I've just done the Otter Trail as part of my Year in the Wild journey to 31 of SA's most special nature reserves, including all the national parks!

Here's my blog on it, as well as some photos

Have a look at and

Couple of things - the taps and toilet at Scott's huts wasn't working when we were there, but other than that, we had a simply brilliant time. Wow!!

Keep well, and stay wild!

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Otter Trail Barefoot

Unread post by maussie » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:12 pm

Last week three people walked the entire Otter Trail barefoot.

Is this a first?

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Re: Otter Trail Barefoot

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:49 am

Goodness :big_eyes:

I wonder. :hmz:

There has been a shift in endurance running to barefoot running. The thinking behind this move has been that this is how we have evolved and it would therefore make bio-mechanical sense. My feeling about that is that "tar"roads were never a part of our evolution, so that would possibly put lots of strain on joints, bones and ligaments.

Barefoot hiking is another matter though. I should imagine if you prepare your feet well, it would be a "liberating" experience.

I hated wearing shoes as a child. Bare feet were essential tools for climbing trees. Children have a true sense of our natural skills.
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Re: Otter Trail Barefoot

Unread post by adrianp » Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:39 pm

After running on tar and wearing shoes with heels for so long, I tried bare foot running and saw my mielie :hmz: . After building up strength in my feet and calves, it is realy liberating. Viva Zola Budd Viva!

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Re: Otter Trail Barefoot

Unread post by DinkyBird » Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:50 pm


How do you prepare your feet for something like this?
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Re: Otter Trail Barefoot

Unread post by Rooies » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:44 pm

I think that the only way to prepare for this is to walk barefoot at home for a period of three weeks. Some folks in Africa have never worn any form of shoes and their soles look like the bottom of an elephant's foot. They say that if you give them shoes, they will wear it out from the inside.
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Re: Otter Trail Barefoot

Unread post by maussie » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:59 pm

My 11 year old son found it easier than I did. Some conditioning required, but not an excessive amount. Having run & walked the Otter many times, this was by far the most intimate & felt part of the environment rather than passing through it. Different textures & temperatures (cool forest leaf litter, hot sand etc) made for a truely memorable experience.

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Otter - the ideal Bloukrantz crossing

Unread post by andre w » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:13 am

This is how we found and crossed the Bloukrantz in April.
I thought it was the perfect way to cross this infamous river.
We arrived there 30 minutes before low tide.
Only had to remove our shoes - what a pleasure.
I just had to share this image.


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Re: Otter - the ideal Bloukrantz crossing

Unread post by Herman » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:12 pm

Wonderful - super low tide !
We had almost the same a few years ago

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Re: Otter - the ideal Bloukrantz crossing

Unread post by Scottm » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:55 am

Jealousy will get me nowhere. We had low tide in the early morning and had no chance of making it to the river in time. At 10h30, when we finally arrived (after the rush of trying to get there), we had to contend with fast in-flowing water at chest depth, and both jellyfish and bluebottles with which to contend.

ANYONE that can walk that river has Not experienced the fury that the Otter can throw at them .... :tongue:
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Photographs help to crystallize memories, but cannot be seen to be a replacement of them!

andre w
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Re: Otter - the ideal Bloukrantz crossing

Unread post by andre w » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:32 am

"ANYONE that can walk that river has Not experienced the fury that the Otter can throw at them"
I agree Scott - although I'd prefer super low tide anytime.
We also had our share of swimming across - albeit not "furious" - with 60m of ski rope etc etc.
Here Pete, on a different occasion is "on the rope":

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Otter Trail- Info and Advice

Unread post by Yoda » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:56 am

I am after a bit of advice.

The father-in-law and i were discussing the possibility of doing the Otter Trail.
Most likely in April or October of 2015.
Which of these 2 options would be best?

What basic facilities are offered in the overnight stops?
Beds? Matress? Bedding? Crocery and cuttlery?

If one drives to the starting point, how does one get back to the car after completing the trail?

Am sure i will have more questions!


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