This 5-day hiking route is without a doubt the most beautiful 5-day backpack hike we have done to date. Its awesome beauty and vast array of different terrains underfoot stimulates all five senses of the hiker. The daily distances are short but difficult underfoot varying in terrain from walking on stretches of beach sand with waves crashing into rocks next to you to clambering over sharp edged rocks to negotiating steep forest paths to knee buckling downhills, crossing rivers with backpacks wrapped in survival bags and criss-crossing beautiful fynbos veld. The soothing noise of the Indian Ocean accompanied us throughout the five days and soothed us to sleep at night snug inside the wooden huts. We saw the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises over the sea that will stay imprinted in our souls for the rest of our lives.
We were privileged to be entertained by a few otters at one of the overnight huts. Only a handful of hikers ever see a real Otter whilst hiking the Otter Hiking Trail. We were sitting on the rocks at our third day's overnight hut, enjoying yet another beautiful sunset whilst feeling the cool spray of seawater on our faces when we suddenly saw a group of three otters swimming in out of rock pools just below us. They were hunting down crabs and it looked like they enjoyed munching away at the sweet crab flesh. I had to pinch myself to make sure that I am not dreaming. This was the highlight of the hike!
It has become quite a tradition that on completing the hike, hikers enjoy their first real food in five days by visiting the local pub at the finish in the small coastal village of Nature's Valley where each hiker receives a certificate stating (tongue in cheek) the following: "This is to certify that DESIRE FOURIE has successfully completed the fabled Otter Trail, and in so doing displayed great endurance, comradeship and skill in managing to avoid being thrown off a cliff by your comrades for any of the following reasons: For putting rocks in someone's backpack and thinking it funny when they only realise it two hours later. Rushing up ahead and chasing all the wild life away before anyone else has had a chance to see it. Excessive farting in the crowded and cramped confines of the overnight hut. Finishing your booze on the first night and then bumming from everyone else. Having too much booze and not wanting to share it with anyone else. Being the last to pack up after breakfast when everyone else is ready to leave. Wanting to party in the middle of the night when everyone else desperately wants to sleep. Wanting to move on after a break just as the exhausted stragglers arrive. For successfully downing an otters arsehole (horrible tasting shooter) without getting sick"
Here are two of my favourite layouts from the 27 layouts I have done of this amazing hike.
If you have perhaps hiked the Otter Trail in South Africa, I would love to hear how you have experienced it. Just leave a comment below.- Enchanted Otter Admirer signing off