Whilst we are accustomed to the concept of luxury camping known as “glamping” lesser known is the concept of hiking without an onerous load known as “slack-packing”. You hike with a day pack and your luggage is taken from your overnight stay to your next overnight stay. It’s very civilised,
- You are active and walk far, yet you travel light.
- You can take cameras but cell phones are ideal.
- At the end of the day, you can have a cold drink, a hot home-cooked meal, a warm shower and sleep in comfort.
Welcome to slack-packing.
My wife and a friend hiked the Chokka Trail recently. The trail was launched in 2013 and since then hundreds of hikers have completed this 4-day, 3-night route. A slack-packing experience of 62 km that takes you from Oyster Bay via St Francis Bay to Cape St Francis.
It’s a beautiful part of the Eastern Cape, a mere hour’s drive west of Port Elizabeth and easily accessible from George as well.
On arrival they checked in at Oyster Kaya for the first night, the next day saw them exploring the coast covering roughly 22 km. The route is a coastal “Cradle of Humankind” and takes you through some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in southern Africa.
Although the route is fixed in terms of time there are so many other options available if you have time.
There are some great golf courses, and mountain biking routes and the Bavianskloof and Addo Elephant Park are nearby.
On the route, you will see whales, dolphins and otters as well as Duiker and bushbuck. You will also taste the Chokka which is a name for Calamari. The Seal Point Lighthouse is another highlight.
Despite rain and winds the ladies enjoyed every moment and are now fervently planning the next trip. Lunch is packed for collection as you set out and they included some really tasty vegan options for my wife. My wife took a large water bottle which was more than adequate for each day. A waterproof poncho helped due to the unpredictable nature of the weather. The tariff includes everything other than drinks.
To her, it was an amazing experience with surprises around every corner. The trail operates throughout the year and only closes from the 16th of December to the 7th of January.
Day two is a 16km route, day three is 15km and day four is a short 13km before you are transported back to the airport to return to the big smoke that is Jozi.
Expect a pristine hike through coastal forest areas. Look for the little gems that abound, bush pigs and small buck graze on the mushrooms and are evident.
The catering and accommodation were out of this world and the hosts Bokkie and Lindy went out of their way to assist. One no longer needs to “rough it “ as this is such a great way of exploring our coastal areas.
Any special requirements?
- A small first aid kit with plasters in case of blisters.
- A decent day pack and water bottle.
- A poncho or rain jacket.
- A waterproof case or pouch for your phone.
- Decent trail shoes without going over the top.
- Spare shoes and a positive attitude.
Other options exist;
- The Oyster Bay weekend trail with accommodation at Oyster Kaya, it’s an unguided 12 km route.
- The 12 km hike to Khoisan caves.
- The “Brakenduine” 4×4 sand route ( a six-hour drive ).
- Nearby Lourie also offers a 4×4 trail and Kereedouw about 80 km away also offers routes and hiking trails.
- And if you love the water you can book a kayaking tour nearby on the Krom river.
So get outdoors and enjoy what the area has to offer.
Contact Bokkie on 083-270-6552 for more info.