Looking back, the otter trail was truly an adventure, especially for someone like myself! When I was in it, it was torture physically and a struggle to keep going (though I knew what I was capable of and how far I would go). I said f***k-shit a lot! Why am I here? Whose idea was this? f**k f**k shit!
Day 2 was very beautiful, but very repititious with the “up the mountain, down the mountain, up the mountain, down the mountain”All day long!
Day 3’s walk felt like a peak in terms of endurance and stamina. By this day you are getting used to walking with a pack, you are finding your stride. There are 2 river crossings on this day which would be lots of fun when the weather is bright and sunny.
Day 4 had a relatively easy walk, not as many up and down hills.
The weather was great for the most part, walking through the forests, you don’t feel the heat as much – you don’t need as much water as when you are hiking in the hot dry Magaliesberg.
At the end of each walking day, you are in physical pain (for some of us who are not regular hikers and lack leg strength), but there is a sense of accomplishment, gratitude for the simple things in life, appreciation for being in beautiful surroundings, wonder at how much your body can endure. I loved the camping and cooking on little gas stoves, making fires and telling stories around them. Seeing so many stars in the sky at night when you’re trekking from the cabin to the loo with a torch on your head. Climbing into my sleeping bag and passing out.
use one inner dry sack for all your belongings that fits into the main compartment of your backpack – this way you ensure that if your bag does get wet, your inner dry sack won’t rip/tear and the water seepage will be minimal. And another dry sack for your sleeping bag which will probably be in the bottom compartment of your backpack and an extra one for your digital camera, your phone, cash money.
Clothing, 2 pairs of quick-dry shorts are sufficient, 3 t-shirts. Some longs for the evenings around the camp, 3 or 4 pairs of hiking socks, a fleece top for the evenings. A clean set of clothing for when you finish the hike. Swimming costume. Undies. The body shop has some awesome biodegradable soap that smells really good, and can be used on your hair, face and body. Otherwise, wet wipes are pretty useful. Sun block.
Leave the big dslr camera at home! You will be glad that you did! take a good quality compact camera such as the canon g12 – one fully charged battery was enough, but it doesn’t hurt to carry a spare. Take hiking poles/sticks. Use a water bladder that fits into your pack. Have a rain cover for your pack and a rain jacket for yourself (a poncho is just cumbersome and gets in the way).
Stop every so often, lift your head up, take your eyes off the path (make sure you’ve stopped walking before you take your eyes off the path or else you may step/stumble off a cliff) take in the scenery, appreciate where you are, take some photos, look out for dophins and whales.
These are the hiking shoes that I eventually used –
Merrell Women’s Chameleon Arc 2 Mid WP Boot. Looks like this.
I highly recommend them. light and waterproof with good grip! R900 at Cape Union Mart
I used a Karrimor Bobcat 55-65L pack. It was the lightest I could find at 1.5kg. R800 at Sportmans or Outdoor Warehouse.
Feel free to comment or message if you have any questions or tips.