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Otter Trail

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

Questions on the Otter

Unread post by prinslft » Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:35 pm

:redface: This is my natural face. lol

The reason for this is the fact that I did not know where to start looking for answers. We are a group of 12 hikers from Secunda that is going to hike the otter in January 2009.

1) Where does the route start? Townname please.
2) Closest airport?
3) Is it advisable to travel by air,bus or own transport?
4) Which food to take along?
5) Do you have to carry a pot and kettle with?
6) What is the current situation with the provision of wood?
Take only Photo`s from nature and leave only footprints

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Jazil
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Unread post by Jazil » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:00 pm

Prinslft read here which is from the first post on this page, you will gather lots of info.

Route starts at Storms River Mouth.
Nearest Town probably Port Elizabeth.
Fly to PE and then
Hire a car, would be my preference.

As to your other questions, I really cant answer them, but there is lots of info here.
Don't forget to PM any Mod your Kudu nominations for the month.

If you want to list your Park Dates in the YR Thread then please PM me.

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Herman
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Location: Vanderbijlpark

Unread post by Herman » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:02 am

Well, I've only done the Otter once and had a very easy Bloukrans crossing, so I haven't experienced the disappointment of having to bail out, but to me the idea of building a bridge across goes against the spirit of the hike ?
It's like wanting Sanparks to level the trail and pave it !!

Zelda Burton
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:30 pm

Unread post by Zelda Burton » Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:09 am

Bloukrans crossing is very dangerous at the moment. Scrambling up the rocks on the side of the river is not safe as well with a heavy back pack. All I'm asking is for the Parks Board to make it safer for one to cross and enjoy the 4km walk on the other side of the river.

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Jazil
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Unread post by Jazil » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:43 pm

Zelda I am sure the Parks Board are aware of this and something will be done - there is a tremendous amount of fixing of things that they are doing too.
Don't forget to PM any Mod your Kudu nominations for the month.

If you want to list your Park Dates in the YR Thread then please PM me.

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Herman
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Location: Vanderbijlpark

Re: Otter questions

Unread post by Herman » Sun Apr 27, 2008 8:04 pm

prinslft wrote::D Good day

We are doing the Otter in January 2009. We have the following questions.

1)The trail was booked for 12 persons. a total of 7 hikers have since withdrawn. What happens with our reservation? The 5 hikers that paid their deposit, are they going to lose it as they realy would like to hike the Otter.

2)Where can we obtain the correct information regarding the river crossings. Low tide at Bloukrans? etc...

3)If there is an emergency, what is the cellphone reception like?

Thank you very much for a forum like this.

Regards
Kosmos Hiking Club
Secunda



I don't know if anybody has perhaps sent you a private answer, but regarding your questions
1. The 5 of you can still go I think, but rather phone/e-mail the reservations people to make sure about your booking if the whole deposit wasn't paid !
2.You'll be supplied with a tide table at the starting point
3.You get cell reception only on parts where the trail goes far out on the rocks or high up onto cliffs. As far as I can remember only the first hut had reception, but along the route you'll be able to connect on more than one point on every day

Marike
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 6:20 pm
Location: Pretoria

Queries invited

Unread post by Marike » Mon May 26, 2008 6:33 pm

Hi guys

I finished the Otter two days ago, and willing to comment or answer questions - so please feel free.

Kind Regards
Marike

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Herman
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Unread post by Herman » Mon May 26, 2008 7:15 pm

Two questions- Did you have good weather ? How was the Bloukrans crossing ? and I won't ask the third one - did you enjoy it ?

Marike
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Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 6:20 pm
Location: Pretoria

Weather and general conditions

Unread post by Marike » Mon May 26, 2008 7:39 pm

Hi :D

We had such brilliant weather - maybe five drops of rain the first night, while already safely in camp. The rest of the time was brilliant - clear skies, temperate climate - only the last day was very sunny, and therefore warm, but not even so hot as to be difficult.

The Bloukrans? Hmm - myself and my partner were the agterosse on all the days - we justs didnt want to and couldnt keep up with the "runners" (our group included the age groups 24 to 50), but we made it to the Bloukrans 20 minutes after low tide, 4 days after full moon. And you know, they are absolutely right when they say you have to have time to prepare for the crossing - it takes time to change and get your packs ready. Were it not for the use of some flotation bags, we would have been screwed - black bags are really not good enough!! Take time to check for holes in the bag - our group had more than one incident of a brand new bag (out of its packaging) with holes in it.

Our easiest crossing in the group was 20 minutes before the published low tide for Knysna (closest info you can get), and they waded through waist deep. Our crossing was "easy" - nobody died :dance: . We went through at shoulder depth - but had to swim towards the end and fight the breakers a bit...

Did we enjoy it? Pain is always pain - it is a rough hike, and you need to know it. But it was awesome, amazing, fantastic, wonderful - and we will be doing it again!!

We will, though, as a group, put together an article - "What they don't tell you about The Otter" :) .

Regards
M

samas12
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:32 pm

Unread post by samas12 » Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:33 am

Hi
I am hiking the Otter in a less than a month.
The Bloukrans low tide is 30 minutes after dark.
Should I:
Take the risk and plan to cross the river
or
Plan to take the escape route.
Also how tough is the escape?
Thanks

Marike
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 6:20 pm
Location: Pretoria

whether to cross

Unread post by Marike » Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:06 pm

Hi!!!

Ok, couple of things before giving you my opinion: Are you hiking at full or dark moon? Dark moon, you can give it a shot. Full moon, give it a skip.

If dark moon-ish, try to cross an hour before dark - but remember you still have a very tough 2 hours after dark to do (3 hours in total after crossing the river). You will be exhausted and cold so have enough easy to eat food and lots of warm, dry clothing to wear. The down-hill to Andre camp is not fun at all - make sure you have excellent headlamps, and ignore the sign that says to take your own firewood down - the is a lot of driftwood down there.

My opinion - rather take the escape route if you are not sure.... The crossing can be very tough. It IS horribly cold, probably the biggest danger. From what i hear you can take the escape out, and back in - maybe find out about this...?

Hope I answered the question - feel free to ask again!
Marike

samas12
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:32 pm

Unread post by samas12 » Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:36 pm

thanks Marike, this is what Sanparks said:

It is rather unfortunate that low tide would fall after dark during your hike through our trail of exceptional beauty.
Although the above said, in my opinion it would be rather dangerous to try and cross the river at night and continue on to Andre Hut. I would therefore suggest that the escape route E6 be used by
yourself/group. The escape route is quite difficult in the sense that it is relatively steep, but can be walked in app. 30-40 minutes from the trail up to the pick up point. Once you arrive at the E6 escape route, please contact either myself on the number below or alternatively contact my rangers on the following number - 0729174474.
I hope you enjoy the trail experience tremendously.
Regards
Owen Govender
Senior Section Ranger
Tsitsikamma National Park

Hennie
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 1:59 pm

Pity if you cant cross Bloukrans

Unread post by Hennie » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:01 pm

The last night's hut is on an exceptionally beautiful rock beach with amazing rocks in the sea. I have nearly drowned in Bloukrans 2 years ago, it was too deep to walk through and I went out to sea!! It was the same time the N2 at Kaaimanspas was closed due to flood damage.

I feel that Sanparks can make this river crossing safer by at least providing a cable. Also, it is unfair to make a person pay for a 5-day hike if both low-tides are at night-time (due to the short days of winter). Certainly Sanparks can transport hikers from E6 to the wood-dropoff point near Andre hut - enabling them to continue the hike!

I would be willing to take E6, hike over the Bloukrans Toll bridge and by hiking back to the sea rejoin the trail on the other side. That would make for a real long day (still far easier than the Drakensberg where I hike frequently) but will allow one to hike the entire day 4 in daylight.

Is there such a foot path on the western side of the Bloukrans bridge?

ttapela
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:27 pm
Location: Cape Town

Otter Trail- winter hike & Bloukrans river crossing

Unread post by ttapela » Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:24 pm

1. Has anyone done the trail in July? What was it like? What do you recommend outside of the usual advice?
2. If I take escape route E6 at Bloukrans river am I able to walk back down on the other side and continue to Andre's huts or is that it for me, Otter trail done?
3. If I can continue how long is the entire detour (SANParks says it is 2hrs to the top)?
thanks

samas12
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:32 pm

Unread post by samas12 » Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:11 pm

I had the most amazing experience hiking the Otter trail last week. It is a tough hike (I'm inexperienced) with tough uphills, make sure that you have fair degree of fitness if planning to do the hike. For the Bloukrans, you will need survival bags. We crossed 2 hours before low tide and had to swim the last bit. Apparently the floods last year washed away some of the sand under the river, making it more difficult to cross. I ended up walking in the dark because of the precarious timing of low tide.
I also saw 5 Otters by the second hut and 2 right whales. A beautiful hike that everyone should try to do at least once.


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