|Bedroom at one of the Sandpiper Cottages
Black Oystercatcher Hike – 2014
Please click – here – to read from the start of this trip
The cottages were nicely decorated and comfortable. We had welcome drinks and snacks waiting for us. After a nice hot bath or shower we all met at one cottage for sundowners before heading to the Leisure
|Bathroom at a Sandpiper Cottage
Centre where we had more sundowners on the deck and then supper. The tour organisers pride themselves on making authentic South African food. Food like Babotie, Karoo lamb, I really don’t think they have catered for so many vegans before. If any at all. One chef bought a vegan recipe book and had been practicing. She did well.
|Day Two was beach hiking
The next day we had breakfast at the Leisure Centre and were bundled into a van and taken back to where we finished the day before. We resumed our hike. If Day One was about the coast and cliffs, Day Two was mostly flat and along the beach. Day Two was 12 kilometres.
There is abundant wildlife in the area. Various buck, wild cats such as the caracal, mongoose and genets, penguins, eagles, cranes and gulls are amongst the creatures that can be spotted in the area. We were looking out for Southern Right Whales which are present from January to May and again from September to November. Dolphins are present all year round. Amongst the bird life are of course the black Oystercatchers. Turns they eat mussels and not oysters. They are unique to a strip of the South
African coast. The Oystercatcher Trail is right
|Black Oyster Catchers
in the middle of this strip. We saw loads of them on the beach.
The key thing with a group of people traveling together is – getting along. It’s hard. People all want different things from a holiday. A sure fire recipe for tension. We had a nice group. We chatted so much we probably missed on wildlife spotting.
|Preparing for a swim in a lagoon
Suppertimes were fun with lots of bawdy commentary. Our organiser asked us to have awards for dumb things. At first I wasn’t so keen. Seemed a bit, well, high school. But the guy nominated to give the awards did it in such a way, it was bags of fun.
Day Three was 21 kilometres. Um, that’s a half marathon! Not going to lie, I was a bit anxious about it. Especially shortly after we got going and scrambled up an almighty hill. Fortunately the rest of course was a LOT easier. That didn’t stop me climbing up a dinkum sand dune later in the day. How could I not?
The organisers brought us lunch al fresco. I’m talking a proper table with a cloth, stainless steel cutlery, pasta and salad, drinks and fruit.
A person could almost never move again. But we got going and headed to the finale, which was a boat trip along the Gourits River.
The end almost never came. We walked and walked and just could not find the boat. And then – there it was. We took off our shoes. Stepped on board and went across the river. Very. Very. Slowly. Heaven.
On the boat were ice cold beers. A few brave folk were swimming in the river next to the
|River boat on Gourits River
boat. Eish. On the other side the crew collected us and took us back to our cottages for a hot shower and if you wanted – a massage or treatment at the Leisure Centre.
The staff were amazing. Real warm proper South African hospitality. I loved the rustic charm of the cottages. The sincere efforts of the chefs to cater for vegans. They did a fabulous job. The beauty of the coast and time out to enjoy it all. It doesn’t get much better!
There is lots of info on the Internet should you want to do this hike. Google – oystercatchertrail.co.za.
|Hiking up a dune Day Two
Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.