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Otter Trail- Info and Advice

Knysna, Tsitsikamma, Wilderness
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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:50 am

DuneRichard wrote:Thanks joshilewis, but I think you misunderstood my problem, water to drink is no issue, it's the water to get through thats worrying me...

Haha, ok :)
From reading a post on the river crossing thread, it seems the river's changed a lot since I did it, so I'm afraid my advice wouldn't be that useful :|
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DuneRichard
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Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by DuneRichard » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:56 am

Appreciated though...

I think I need to buy like a "river crossing for dummies" book or something, as you might imagine, life in the Kalahari means I have'nt been able to gain much experience in water-slogging... :huh: :huh: :huh:
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Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?

Unread post by heather_s » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:25 am

oh, I'm just used to doing multi day hikes in tents; and I spent too much time when young in boarding school and backpacker dorms (I'm well into my middle years, and like early nights and undisturbed sleep!)

Also another question, maybe someone can answer, the distances on the Otter trail seem very short, we'd normally do, for example, a 4km walk (even up a mountain), as a side trip on one of our usual walks. I suppose you can do the trail in as few days as you wish?

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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:30 am

No, there is space for only so many people in each hut each night, and you have to sleep in the allocated hut in each night.

There are 2 huts at each camp, each sleeping 6. I doubt anyone will keep you up with noise.

The distances aren't always so short, and there's a lot of uphill and downhill climbing (i.e. vertical distance) to take into account. The day with the river crossing is a very very long day (day 2 if I remember correctly).

Last year, a trail runner did the entire trail (plus a little more) in under 5 hours (in an organised race)
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JustNature
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Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by JustNature » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:43 am

DuneRichard I know when I did the trail there where 3 different crossing areas for the different times, I don't know if it has changed as It was in 2002 that I did the trail. the 3 ways helped for the time you got to the river as to which route to take and which is the safer :hmz:
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Tom124
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Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by Tom124 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:16 pm

So basically, if you're short like me you'll be going throught the water with just your scalp above the water!? :P
Back from beautiful Botswana - a long time to wait, but KNP and KTP planned for 2016!

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DuneRichard
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Re: Otter Trail

Unread post by DuneRichard » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:06 pm

LOL... If you happen to see a Witsand Kalahari Nature Reserve cap floating in the ocean, you'll know who drowned under it... :?
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Moira de Swardt
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Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?

Unread post by Moira de Swardt » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:41 pm

heather_s wrote:
Also another question, maybe someone can answer, the distances on the Otter trail seem very short, we'd normally do, for example, a 4km walk (even up a mountain), as a side trip on one of our usual walks. I suppose you can do the trail in as few days as you wish?


The Otter Trail is a fairly tough trail. Not impossible. Just enough to leave one pleasantly tired every day.

No, it is not likely that one can do the trail in as few days as one wishes. There are only a designated number of places on the trail every day and if one skips a camp one must have made sure that there is accommodation for the party at the next hut.

Day 1 was not tough. Day 2 is short but hilly. Day 3 or Day 4 has the river and one has to time that for low tide. Do not be fooled into thinking that one can do it at high tide. My father nearly died making that mistake AND he was a VERY STRONG swimmer with provincial colours in swimming. As it was he lost his pack with all his equipment but just, just managed to get to the river bank, too exhausted and depressed to carry on. Wet and miserable he would have fared badly if it wasn't for the concern of a fellow hiking party who were sensible enough to do the crossing at low tide.

Approach it as a joy with time to watch the otters (and butterflies).
I don't get to the Parks nearly often enough, despite two trips to the KNP and one to Golden Gate this year.

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Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?

Unread post by Moira de Swardt » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:23 am

joshilewis wrote:
Moira de Swardt wrote: My father nearly died making that mistake


Wow! :o
Glad he made it safely!


My father was an excellent and experienced hiker/climber. I could never get him to tell me WHY he was hiking alone when he was with a party. He was easy-going and sociable, and always followed the rule about not hiking alone. I have often wondered about that. But the story does have a cautionary value for this forum. The rules are there for a reason. One may, especially if one is "experienced" get away with breaking them for while, but there may come a day when the outcome is not so happy.
I don't get to the Parks nearly often enough, despite two trips to the KNP and one to Golden Gate this year.

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DuneRichard
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Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by DuneRichard » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:58 pm

Thanks a million for all the info...
It's certainly helped me a lot and will help everyone else who reads it.

I have one question though, are there no more cost effective ways of dealing with the crossings than proper survival bags etc etc etc...

The trouble is that I don't wan't to buy something, use it once and then let it become a white elephant somewhere in my house.

What about those green garden waste bags (They are destinctly stronger than black garbage bags)? If you sealed one with the backpack in it and then put it into a 2nd one the other way around and seal it.
Would that work?

If anyone has any further money-saving alternatives, please, lets hear them!!

I like the duct tape idea, as well as the Ziplok bags...
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mizzbee
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Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by mizzbee » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:08 pm

I did the Otter trail about 25 years ago. Fortunately the only river I had to swim across was the Bloukrans. All the other rivers were ankle deep.

I could not remember what we used to cross the Bloukrans and had to refer back to my photographs. All I see is a few black bags and a lot of wet kit and clothes. I guess the black bags did not work.

I am a competent swimmer, and still am, but I was petrified of having to cross THAT river.

I would love to do the Otter again, but am nervous about the latest conditions of the river mouth.

This should not put any aspiring hiker off doing the Otter Trail. Just be aware of the possible dangers. Take the necessary precautions and try and cross at low tide.

The Otter is the most scenic and beautiful hike I have ever done.
"The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope."

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Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by CapeDoc » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:58 pm

DuneRichard wrote:
What about those green garden waste bags (They are destinctly stronger than black garbage bags)? If you sealed one with the backpack in it and then put it into a 2nd one the other way around and seal it.
Would that work?

Just a few things to remember:
1) You probably will pick up and put down the bag on the rocks as you prepare. If the bag is thin, it WILL tear on the rocks.
2) Survival bags cost about R30 to R50
3) All your kit including food, dry clothes and your SLEEPING BAG will get wet if the bag has even a small hole in it.
When you are exhausted and it may be raining, how much is dry kit worth to you?

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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:07 am

DuneRichard wrote:I have one question though, are there no more cost effective ways of dealing with the crossings than proper survival bags etc etc etc...

The trouble is that I don't wan't to buy something, use it once and then let it become a white elephant somewhere in my house.
Buy a survival bag. Once you've got it, it'll be added motivation to do the trail again in the future (to recoup your investment) ;)

Also, look it at this way. You're spending a few thousand Rand on the trail and getting there. Are you not prepared to spend R100 (or much less) more to ensure your safety and enjoyment and on the trail? (I know that equipment adds up, I've also felt that pain. I also know that my survival bag is at least 10 years old and is still in good nick.)
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Re: Otter Trail, safety, own tent?

Unread post by CapeDoc » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:09 pm

I can understand not wanting to share the huts with other hikers. Given the experience you have, you sound very fit and are used to walking fast.
The distances are short and one could finish the trail quickly (as said above, 5 hours at a flat out run!) I think you have to examine why you want to do the trail.

Exercise? There are a few stair climbing ups that got me puffing. The equivalent of climbing stairs up a 40 story building. Straight up.
Image
To be away from it all, and soak up the surroundings? That's why I did it. The walk wasn't that tough, but we took it slowly, exploring caves, swimming at all the swimming spots, taking long lunches while enjoying our surroundings. Sometimes you get more out of it if you take it slowly.
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JPCoetzee
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Re: River Crossings on the Otter

Unread post by JPCoetzee » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:41 pm

I am a 47-year-old non-swimmer. I hope to do the Otter Trail this April. Will I be able to cross the rivers? :?


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