Nature’s Valley is our finishing line. We decided to park the car here and to transfer to Storms river mouth rest camp where the Otter starts.
We overnight in the picturesque Forest Hut on the water’s edge. We have a quick final check of our rations for the five day Otter Trail.
Excited and nervous!
Sean and I get up early to enjoy a morning coffee over looking the sea. The nerves are behind us. Now just extreme excitement!
Day 1 - 4.8 km (± 2 hours) Storms River Mouth - Ngubu
First day of our Otter adventure. Otter briefing included a bag weigh in, Sean is carrying 22kg and I am slugging 14.5kg.
We hike over a couple of tricksy boulders. The rock scramble is rewarded when we arrive at a sparkling waterfall. A quick dunk in the cold water and onwards to Ngubu rest camp for our first night. We enjoyed a special bottle of red in the rock pools near the hut. Dinner was a couple of Karoo lamb chops on the braai, bean salad and cous cous.
No electricity. No hot water. No cell signal. Magnificent.
And breathe out...
Day 1 - 561 m total vertical - Climb 188 m - Descent -373 m
Day 2 - 7.9 km (± 4 hours) Ngubu - Scott
Day two of the hike is strenuous. We take the recommended detour for incredible views at the quartz out crops. Sean and I climbed to the top of an enormous quartz boulder. Breathtaking views for days!
We take the second recommended detour for a steep descent to Blue Bay. We enjoy complete privacy on the unspoilt beach surrounded by magnificent green Jurassic-Park-like emerald forests. A 1km steep climb to Scott huts presented awe inspiring views of the valleys below.
Sunsets. Boerie braai. Shower with a view. Tent night. Bliss...
Day 2 - 1480 m total vertical - Climb 746 m - Descent -734 m
Day 3 - 7.7 km (± 4 hours) Scott - Oakhurst
Day three’s 70% rain forecast was accurate. We wake up to the sound of a soft drizzle. We have a coffee and oats and we hit the road by 7:00 to ensure a smooth crossing of Lottering river during low tide. It’s slippery and wet, and some of the rock climbs are a bit technical, but we love the new perspective that the moody weather brings. Rain jackets and covers over our back packs, nothing can dampen our spirits!
The Lottering river crossing is a little underwhelming, we expected to use rope, hooks and wet bags, but made it across with a simple change to reef shoes. We make it to Oakhurst cabin in less than three hours. The huts are perched on a cliff edge over looking a the bay below.
Rehydrated spag-bol with couscous for dinner. It filled the gap...
Day 3 - 1257 m total vertical - Climb 623 m - Descent -634 m
Day 4 - 13.8 km (± 6 hours) Oakhurst - André
Day four is all about the Bloukrans river crossing. Our departure from Oakhurst hut is timed around low tide. We set off at 7:00 and reach Bloukrans at 11:45, about 45 min before low tide at 12:30. We crossed the river without any difficulty and stopped on the other end for our Pro-vita and tuna lunch. The river crossing is difficult, and shouldn’t be done any other time than low tide. We decide to wait for the rest of the group who reaches the river three hours later. The water levels are high and it becomes testy crossing for them but they make it safely to the other side. We march ahead to meet Burton for our special delivery of beers, ciders and wine. Highly recommended by our friends Ronel and Colin, a delightful way to complete the final night, watching the sunset and sipping a well deserved few cold ones.
Day 4 - 1905 m total vertical - Climb 945 m - Descent -960 m
Day 5 - 9.8 km (previously 6.8 km) (± 3 hours) André - Nature's Valley
The final day starts on the toilet with a view! Our last 11km is fairly easy after a steep climb from the bay to the top of the mountain. We walk on the cliff’s edge before descending to the Nature’s Valley beach and the final stretch to De Vasselot rest camp.
We collect our Otter Trail certificates and head to the restaurant for a well deserved burger and chips. We chase it down with The Otters Asshole, the infamous shooter for those who completed the hike.
Final overnight in Natures Valley Rest camp in our private Forest Hut.
Day 5 - 926 m total vertical - Climb 466 m - Descent -460 m
An extraordinary privilege to have completed this life changing hike with my favourite person ❤️
Completing the hike with the Otter’s Arsehole is a must.