Skip to Content

Otter Trail- Info and Advice

Knysna, Tsitsikamma, Wilderness
User avatar
mizzbee
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 299
Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:47 pm
Location: DURBAN

Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by mizzbee » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:51 pm

It is many years since I did the Otter trail. The only river that we had to swim across was the Bloukrans, the others were either ankle deep or had no water in them at all.

The Bloukrans has changed since my last visit and I believe it has become quite treacherous. I was a very strong swimmer at the time of my crossing and it was not easy.

There is an escape route if the Bloukrans river is not safe to cross.

Maybe some-one who has recently crossed the river can advise.
"The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope."

hanri.loots
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:30 am

Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by hanri.loots » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:35 am

Hi,

I just got booking for the otter 14 Feb to 18 Feb 2011 for 6 ppl. If you maybe have booking for the same date, let me know so we can chat before we meet there :D

I cant wait to go!!

bells
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:55 pm

Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by bells » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:43 pm

I did the hike a few years ago so I cant comment on the current conditions.
But it will be the best hike of your life.
Ensure you know the tides for the 3rd day as this is the worst crossing.
There are 4 routes to take depending on the tide, make damn sure you are there on the lowest point of the tide as we nearly killed ourselves doing the not-reccommended route due to a HUGE storm out at sea. it was super high tide.
Have a ball!

User avatar
mizzbee
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 299
Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:47 pm
Location: DURBAN

Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by mizzbee » Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:41 am

There have been recent articles in various magazines recently. I quote from the November 2009 Go magazine.

Tips for Day 4.

Don’t take a chance. – “Don’t cross the river if you’re not confident that it’s safe. Rather take the escape route and call the emergency number (072 917 4474). There is cellphone reception at the top of the path. A SANParks official will come and pick you up and drop you off at the next hut”.
Another magazine (?) mentions this service as fast and efficient. I don’t know how long the escape route is or how long it takes.

Quote from one of the hikers “You walk as far as you can on the rocky bottom and then swim with one arm strokes while you can either push or pull the backpack”.
Your backpack should be securely covered in a survival bag. IMO and I am in the swimming teaching profession, unless you can use your back pack as a personal flotation device, assisted by another strong swimmer I would not recommend you getting into water out of your depth.

At the end of the day, the decision is yours. Just be careful and enjoy this truely magnificent hike.
"The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope."

andre w
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:38 pm

Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by andre w » Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:09 pm

I've registered just to ask this one question (for now, that is).
Very useful info I have already gathered thus far.
We're doing (DV) the Otter in mid July 2010 - our winter-hike - done a couple of Outeniquas in winter and it was GREAT weather - coldish in the mornings but excellent during the day - weather always beter than even some October hikes - love it!
My question on the Bloukrans crossing that everybody is talking about, especially after the 2008 floods:
Our plan is to do the crossing via the swim option - will be taking +/- 70m ski rope (seems it should be enough) - my question is: to what will we be able to tie the rope to, on either side? - or how?
Thanks in advance and regards
Andrè

jxharding
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:00 pm

my list for the otter : suggestions?

Unread post by jxharding » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:28 am

i bought every single magazine with details on the otter and followed every single bit of advice on what people wished they took and wish they did not take.
i checked the complete interwebs as well :)
also checked sportsmans warehouse's list.
also did a few trails and made my own decisions based on others' comments

i am sitting next to my stash before putting it into the backpack.

writing down all the goodies im taking, for my own reference so that i can use it next year (if all goes well), and so that others can also advise, starting 9 april on the trail

2.5l bladder
5x day packets food consisting of:
5 packets dried fruit and nuts mix
4 2min noodles
3 instant soup
10 packets nescafe
20 huletts sugars
5 mini cheddars
5 energy bars
1 m&m
5 super c
3 more chocolates

small marie biscuits
smash
oats
powder milk
isotonic game
3x vacuum packed steaks
dry wors
biltong

head lamp
extra batteries
pegs
cable ties
matches
spork
survival bag
crocs
plate
cup
firelighters
walking stick
tough black refuse bags
poncho
crocs
gas bomb/canister
gas stove
some more ziplocs for e.g. dirty socks
small elastic rope with hooks
hand towel only
gloves
balaclava / beanie
first aid kit @ netcare

water purification tablets
half a small soap
tabard
small toothpaste
fissan baby paste
sunblock
lip balm SPF 30
1x R40 waterproof bag @ sportsmans warehouse
1x R40 hard plastic, sealable, waterproof camera case with carabiner

socks
undies

gas canister
3x t-shirts
1x long shirt
3x shorts
1x tracksuit pants


money for gate
money for food afterwards

User avatar
Josh of the Bushveld
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1512
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 2:15 pm
Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark

Re: my list for the otter : suggestions?

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:15 am

Hi jxharding
2 things first: you're taking too much food and too much clothes.
Take 1 t-shirt, and 1 pair of tracksuit pants, besides what you'll be walking in. You won't need more. Take a clean pair of underpants and socks for everyday (clean socks every day is a must).

I'd also recommend taking a second small water bottle to use while the purification tables are working in your bladder (this is what I did on the Olifants Backpack Trail).

You also don't have a sleeping bag or pillow on your list.
The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal

CraigH
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 5:17 am

Otter Trail - Shuttle Bus to and from Storms River?

Unread post by CraigH » Thu May 27, 2010 5:30 am

Hi,

I'm hoping someone can clear something up for me. My partner and I have a reservation for the Otter trail from 20th to 24th of June, we also have accommodation booked at Storms River Mouth on the 19th, and at Natures Valley on the 24th.

We really can't afford the Baz Bus, and are looking at the Intercape bus instead - times for the Intercape bus suit us a lot better too. It says that it drops off at "STORMSRIVIER - Bridge Total Garage", so I have 3 questions:

1. How far is this from Storms River Mouth, and is there any transport to Storms River Mouth? I heard that there is a Shuttle bus but don't know anything about it or other options.

2. What would be the best way to get from Nature's Valley back to "STORMSRIVIER - Bridge Total Garage"? (So that we can catch the bus back to Cape Town at the end of the Otter Trail).

3. Is it ever possible to make arrangement swith a bus company like Intercape to pick up on the N2 outside Nature's Valley?

Any links or information would be greatly appreciated - we are quite confused! :)

Craig

User avatar
Herman
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 185
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:51 am
Location: Vanderbijlpark

Re: Otter Trail - Shuttle Bus to and from Storms River?

Unread post by Herman » Mon May 31, 2010 7:42 pm

Storms River bridge to Storms river mouth is at least 10kms - so you'd better arrange transport !
Natures Valley back to Storms river bridge is 42 kms - there is a shuttle service , but it's pricey
My best advice is to contact the Storms river Parks office (042) 281 1607 they might be able to help ?

andre w
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:38 pm

Re: Otter Trail - Shuttle Bus to and from Storms River?

Unread post by andre w » Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:04 pm

Hi Craig,
We (also 2) have the same problem - we're doing the Otter in July - but now organised - I hope.
Nature's Valley Guest House (we don't have an accomm booking with them) will transport us between Nat Valley and Storms River Mouth, where we have a booking the night before the hike. Their rates are reasonable (I think) and they (Pat Bond) replied promptly.
The link to their site: http://www.naturesvalleyguesthouse.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Enjoy your hike, be safe and please post something on your return - especially re the Bloukrantz crossing (LOL)
Regards
Andrè
WELKOM

thefunkydonkey
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:14 pm

Otter Trail - Just the 4 falls

Unread post by thefunkydonkey » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:24 pm

Hi,
this is my first post on here. Looks like it's a nice place to find useful informations :clap:
Me and wife will spend some days around the Garden Route but and we're planning to stop at Storms River Mouth and have a walk for a day on our way to Port Elizabeth.
As the time is not enough to have the full Otter Trail, we've found on the Lonely Planet guide that there's a Four Falls Round trail which is the start of the regular Otter Trail as far as I can understand and it takes just some hours. Do you have any information on this and should this be booked as well?

Thanks for your help,
Rinaldo

User avatar
Josh of the Bushveld
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1512
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 2:15 pm
Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark

Re: Otter Trail - Just the 4 falls

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:58 pm

Hi Rinaldo, and welcome to the forum!
The walk is a really nice one, and can be done in a few hours (there and back). The end spot is quite nice for a picnic, so take something with you to eat (though it was raining the last time I was there).

You don't need to book for the day walk, just go and do it.

I can also recommend the Salt River Cove walk which is on the Nature's Valley side of the park (I assume its within the national park?)
The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal

User avatar
Josh of the Bushveld
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1512
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 2:15 pm
Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark

Re: Otter Trail - Just the 4 falls

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:06 pm

It is along the coast. From what I remember, there isn't too much climbing or dropping, though there is a fair amount of boulder hopping/walking on rocks. The last time I did it I was actually surprised at how strenuous it was without a full pack (I did the full trail over 10 years ago). A lot of people do it, so it can't be too hard :) I'm pretty sure you could do it in 4 hours if that's all the time you had, though obviously its more enjoyable if you go slower.
The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal

User avatar
Josh of the Bushveld
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1512
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 2:15 pm
Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark

Re: Otter Trail - Just the 4 falls

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:46 pm

For sure. Am sure you'll be able to do the whole thing, just take it slowly if need be. The waterfall at the end is worth it.

You should also take a day to do Salt River Cove/Mouth near Nature's Valley, though that has a bit of dropping/climbing
The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal

OzKaapie
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:39 am

Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by OzKaapie » Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:54 pm

JPCoetzee wrote:Is it easy to tell if the Bloukrans is safe to cross?


IMO, No it isn't.

This is our story, and IMO Bloukrans is a tragedy waiting to happen.

We did the trail 12th to 16th July, crossing on 15th. There were 8 of us from Sydney plus Cape Town family/friends making up the 12. My eldest brother (in CTN) did the trail twice before and on both occasions 'walked' across at point A without any issues (last time in '95). Though our group contained two non swimmers, we also had a pool 'lifesaver', another strong swimmer and myself with extensive canyoning experience in the Blue Mountains near Sydney** - so river crossings and floating backpacks are my forte.
**Edit: Not my site, but have look at Claustral Canyon at least.

We were 'lucky' in one respect that the low tide was at 12:16 pm, so with the slower ones starting before 6am the last arrived at river at 11am ( I myself was the 'sweeper' and took less than two hours starting at 8:30am).

We had excellent weather leading up to that day, probably 23 deg day before at Oakhurst lapping up the sun and next morning I was surprised to have reception and get a text from a friend in CTN asking how we were faring in the cold and wet as it was apparently bucketing and cold in Cape Town (oops edit..said Sydney by mistake), yet we were looking at another sunny calm day.

When I arrived at the river almost two hrs pre low tide I thought "ok, perhaps its going to drop a fair bit still". However the cold front heading from CTN was probably causing a swell, and if you didn't know you would just be thinking "its not really low tide yet". My brother had told us of walking through and we were waiting for that level. We waited (some now in trepidation) until 12:15pm came and still it didn't look like low tide.

So I said "ok, trust the time charts, its not going to go lower than this. I'm going over now and either we all go once I get through or we back out".

I walked over inland of where ropes are (little cove) and backpack loose and high (clothes and food all in tough garbage bags inside pack as per my canyoning). Walked about thigh deep waves pushing in then current/river pulling you hard back to sea, when suddenly without even noticing the river bed changing, there was absolutely nothing under me. For moment I breaststroked then had to duck under and get out of pack, and swim with pack in front, dump it on rocks and scramble out. By then with current, I exited at ropes, just inland of point B. I made sure, with all eyes watching my progress, that I portrayed confidence, because if I found it ok for weakest to come over at some point, then I didn't want them being nervous.
I walked around rocks, then back as far as necessary inland (quite far actually) and crossed back at a point where it was ok to walk all the way, when timing the waves, but current back out was extremely strong and one had to be steady on feet even without pack.

We made decision to go over into that furthest inland point, get into cove and regroup, then do the rock scramble if it was ok for weakest to do it safely. I made 4 crossings in total, as we helped each other over.
We were still at a time where we could go back and my brother and someone else first went around the rocks and reported that all could follow.

Now we faced another issue. Within the time that we were crossing, the CTN weather had arrived. It absolutely changed from sunny/calm to very windy and rain within hour. So the swell was definitely due to that, but to the uninitiated it would not be known. The scramble around wasn't too bad, just sharp rocks (good hand holds though) and barnacles on footholds, but now people were getting wet as well and the waves were coming up quite high onto rocks.

As we rounded into sandy exit at point A , I retrieved a bottle that earlier had dropped into river near where we crossed, showing how far the current had taken it.

The last 4 km to hut it started raining harder, and once up on escarpment it was stinging into face as we walked into wind. Rained the whole night, then was clear the next day for a good walk out.

If you have a group that even had someone who had easily crossed before (as we had) , but with less experienced people, and lulled into false sense of security about getting there at low tide, you could so easily have someone go over where he/she thinks..."this must be the normal low tide, lets go over at route A".

There was absolutely no way even a strong swimmer could have been advised to cross at point A on that day. I will try and post some photo's when I get them.

Other than that, the experience was great, even with that crossing. In fact the weaker ones in group, having crossed Bloukrans, have gained the confidence that they can "now do more things in life they thought they couldn't", and that's one of the main objectives of doing something like this together.

cheers
Last edited by OzKaapie on Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:54 am, edited 2 times in total.


Return to “Garden Route Parks”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Webcam Highlights

Addo
Submitted by Nkulu at 11:00:29
orpen
Submitted by Philip1 at 19:28:31
satara
Submitted by Oumie at 12:59:29
nossob
Submitted by Foxy at 18:15:20