Woke up just before 6 and rushed to get dressed and down to the beach to watch the changing light on the coast. The moon is still up and the sky begins to turn pink.
The waves are as impressive as the evening before although the sea has calmed. Clear and cold, the coldest morning on the trail, it’s cold sitting on the rocks, but what a view.
After hot coffee and porridge we pack up, say good bye and leave about 8:45. Low tide today is at 10:52.
Andre Camp to Nature Valley
We have to cross the river on the far end of the camp before the climbing up to the ridge. Even though it is close to low tide the water is still too high cross with boots on. We throw stones in the water to walk on. The Germans are just behind us and help. Soon we have a decent stone path across.
The 6.8K today is supposed to be easier with a stiff climb up followed by a scenic walk along the cliff. It’s almost that good. Just a couple of dips down into the forest to cross a stream with a short uphill to remind you that you are still on the Otter Trail.
The amazing views continue to the very end, with a variety of spring flowers mixed among the fynbos and a beautiful blue sky. The temperature quickly warms to comfortable for walking but not too hot.
We reach Nature Valley beach around 11 after one last steep descent. Not far from where you hit the beach is a sign to the right saying that trekkers need to take this route to the reception office to check out. If you want to have a beer and burger at the Nature Valley Pub and Restaurant don’t take this route. It’s another 3-4k up the hill. The restaurant is 2k down at the other end of the beach.
One last stream crosses the beach with mid-thigh water even at low tide.
Nature Valley Pub
We finally reach the restaurant at nearly 12PM. Carol and Simon are already washed up. 30 minutes later the whole crew has arrived. One couple actually climbed to the reception office and got a ride back down.
The trail ends with the Otter’s arsehole, a horrible drink that curdles in your mouth, but something you must do.
Michael picked us up at 1PM as scheduled. A little more time at the Pub would have been nice.
Without a doubt if you like rugged seascapes this is one of the most scenic hikes in the world.
September 18, 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.