A Walk in The Park is not quite the first phrase that comes to mind when thinking of The Whale Trail. Maybe we had these pre-conceived ideas of it being an “easy” hike and let’s face it
– there are no “easy” hikes. When scolded the phrase “Go Take a Hike” really means – “Go Suffer!” Okay, compared to The Fish River Canyon, Otter Trail or Argangieskop – yes, this was easier. However, this is certainly one of the most pretty hikes and the accommodation is beautiful! How privileged we are to be able to hike.
Day one is a steady (not too steep) climb up Potberg to a long plateau walk along the beautiful mountain tops. Breathtaking views of the Breederiver Valley on the northern side and the beaches on the southern side, far in the distance. Beware – the last 2km before the hut is a rather nasty little incline that seems never to end. We forgot to have a look at the topographic map – the obe showing the ups and downs – very important. Its okay to let out a few little “krag-woordjies” to yourself (we never swear on a hike – for sure) if it helps you get there! We are happy to reach the hut with a hot shower and inside braai our reward.
Day two we continue in the (cold) mountains for the morning and then descend towards the (warmer) coastline. The Voltaren, Panamor and other medication is taken out for those with knee problems /old age and off we go. We end at Noetsie (not the Knysna Noetsie) with various old and new huts. Our group is small and we all just about have our own private quarters! There is an inviting outside braai but the wind is cold and we opt to make pasta inside tonight.
Day three is the day to see many amazing caves and rock pools. We walk mostly along the plateau of the coast line. We just finished a coffee break when a heavy cloud burst caught us! We are now walking on ledge-like rocky terrain in the pouring rain. Then we hear it – a loud (terrifying) scream. Fanus does not think twice – he dumps his rucksack and runs back up the mountain path…the rest of us follow, scared of what we might find. Krappie has a serious foot/leg injury (we later find out she had broken her leg!). The guys take action in calming her, one took the rucksack and the other acted as her crutch to get her down the rocky ledges and to the hut – thankfully not much more than 2km. Thank goodness also for Ulger’s strong back pain medication! The next day the injured and another hiker/driver are evacuated. We are sad to not have them with us but are determined to finish the hike.
Day four is the “Beach Walk” day. Now this is almost like someone telling you to “Go Take a Hike” – very eina on the legs. The sand is soft all over and all that helps to some extent is to follow in someone’s footsteps (literally). However, the rewards are great with amazing patterns being formed on the sand, shadows and rock formations, pools of crystal clear water, caves…it is simply beautiful! The last section is once again deceiving as there are a number of water towers of older houses and ruins and we kept on thinking “now we are there”…only to have to continue the walk! The last night’s hut is really pretty, situated on a rock with huge crashing waves all around, one feels very close to nature.
Day five…we feel sad to be completing the hike. Walking in low tide allows one to see many more awesome sights along the coast. The tidal pools seem surreal. Next time we will leave the hut earlier to explore thoroughly. We reach the end and have the bus take us back to the start, already making plans for our next hiking expedition. (We found it a slight bit disconcerting that the driver wore spectacles over her sunglasses). Otherwise, what a pleasant experience!
COMMENTS FORM OUR HIKERS:
What will you not walk without?
Shalom: My brain (this is such a typical hiker answer!)
Ulger: Baby powder, whiskey and Mypaid (pain pills)
Krappie: Knee & ankle guards and walking stick!
Fanus: Walking stick
Helga: Enrista (or similar coffee/sugar/creamer) sachets are highly recommended if you have a coffee-pot husband like mine!
I never hike without my down sleeping bag.
Remember the sun block – even in winter.
Just a laugh…
My favourite comment after being poured some expensive Jeripico by Ulger on the second night… Shalom asked “What is Jeripico?”
She took a sip and then answered her own question with…
“Oh, it’s OBS!” Old Brown Sherry – a cheap, yet very effective kind of sherry.
Hehehehe…Pack your boots and “go take a hike”!
|Whale Trail, Bredasdorp|
|Tel no||(021) 483 0190||G.P.S.|
|Nearest Town||Swellendam||Max Persons||12|
|Distance from Town||Overnight Shelter||Yes,|
|Map to start of hike||Brochure|
|No of days||5||Trail Type||Linear, a van will pick you up at the end and bring you back to your vechiles|
|Tips and things to do|