Day 3 – Otter Trail, Tsitsikamma, South Africa

5:30 wakeup.

Cloudy morning to start but they soon break for a beautiful morning of clouds and sun.

Scott Camp to Oakhurst Camp

The morning’s hike is much more in the open with frequent views of the wave pounded coast. The trail continues to climb and descend.

Elandsbos River Crossing

2k in is the Elandsbos River crossing, the first of the day. We reach it at around 8AM low tide was at 9:33. We follow the trail up-river hoping for stones to hop across, but the river is rather deep here and we head back to the beach. Easy crossing in shin-deep water with a soft sand bottom.

From here the trail climbs up to where the vegetation meets a rock wall.

The trail continues as before climbing and descending with frequent open sections.

At 3.9K starts a long section through the vegetation followed by the steepest and longest ascent to the top of the hill where the trail descends back down to the Lottering River.

Lottering River Crossing

You can see camp across the river mouth, incredible setting with spectacular views from this point.

Rain is coming in from the sea and it starts to spit on us. We hurry down to the river. At low tide you can cross along the stones, beware they are very slippery.

Oakhurst Camp

One last punishing climb awaits you on the other side (not as bad as the one before) but it still doesn’t seem fair somehow. A few minutes later we are at Oakhurst camp. At camp the cleaning crew hasn’t come yet but arrives soon after we do.

We sit at the fire pit and prepare porridge and coffee. The clouds soon clear leaving a beautiful sunny day. This is a gorgeous spot, possibly the best of the hike.

I climb the rocks on the coast for better views but with the tide coming in I’m nervous to venture to close to the edge.

Ann and Joe climb above the crashing waves. Around 12:30PM the weather changes again. This time bringing high winds and rain clouds from inland and heading up the coast. A nearby lightning strike makes me jump, but within the hour the sky doesn’t look so threatening anymore although the temperature has dropped.

In the afternoon at high tide I go back to the viewpoint overlooking the river. The beach is nearly completely submerged and you can’t tell where the stepping stones are beneath the brown water.

Walking back past the turnoff for the huts towards the start of the next day’s hike the trail climbs up with fantastic views of the camp and the coastline north of the river.

We will pass this section in darkness tomorrow, as we have to get an early start in order to cross the Blaukrans River at low tide.

Bad weather has moved in again with passing squalls. In the evening we decide to have a communal fire.

The South Africans actually bring fresh meat for multiple days if not for the entire trip to cook over the coals. Dehydrated meals are hard to come by and not well thought of in this country.

We go to be early for a 4:30 wakeup.

September 16, 2016

For links to all the posts on South Africa see the South Africa page.

For links to all the Otter Trail posts see the Otter Trail page.