To us South Africans, the Otter Trail is that five day hike that you have to commit to, like, a hundred years in advance so only those who plan ahead ever do it. I mean, we know it’s beautiful and majestic, but it’s like dating: you just never know what else will come up during that time.
Anyways, a local writer Megan King planned ahead and completed the Otter Trail and then used a whole lot of magical adjectives to report on it, indicating the spiritual journey through an ancient wilderness. It’s actually quite humbling, albeit a little gushy, so I pulled the best quotes from her piece. To read the rest, go HERE.
On taking your time:
Then there’s the trail itself, crossing an incredible ancient wilderness so removed from the modern world that to experience it is to lose yourself in time.
On the trail itself:
The trail is characterized by virgin evergreen forests, rocky contours that plunge into dramatic coastlines and a gushing network of waterfalls and rivers.
Day 1: Storm’s River Mouth to the Ngubu huts
About three kilometers into the hike we encounter an enormous waterfall that pours down in front of us to form great big black pools of water.
I was instantly energized, grasping the ancient beauty we’d be experiencing on our journey.
Colors and contrasts are greatly intensified by the presence of mist, infusing the atmosphere with a kind of surreal, cinematic emotion that totally changes when the sun glistens over the land.
Day 2: Ngubu huts to Scott huts
Skilderkrans is a solid quartz outcrop, which comes into view like a floating planet suspended in the mist.
Reaching the top, we’re literally sitting on a giant crystal.
Dragonflies and butterflies the size of my palm are flying overhead, drawing us further in.
The narrow walls — with luminous moss growing on black rocks, lush ferns and the fresh trickling of water — are something prehistoric.
Day 3: Scott huts to Oakhurst huts
The surreal patterns and textures created by the bending process were further sculpted by the sun, salt and water to form the mind-blowing three-dimensional geometries that exist today.
The formations resemble the backs of dinosaurs and gigantic prehistoric oysters that have been frozen by time, while others look like the remnants of ancient fortresses and deserted kingdoms.
The landscape is hypnotic.
Day 4: Oakhurst huts to Andre huts
I stuff my entire backpack into a dry bag for the crossing. On the other side, I fall into a deep sleep on the beach for a few hours before setting off again to our final night’s camp.
Day 5: Andre to Nature’s Valley
There’s the many-zoned polypore — a gigantic protrusion from the trunk of a tree that has solidified and crystallized and feels as hard as a rock.
Others like the truffle fungus and funnel woodcap grow in the shape of flowers and shells, and the red-orange sulfur tufts live off aged tree stumps and damp wood on the forest floor.
On Moving Moments:
I remember when I sat alone on a rock, right near to where the waves were crashing. The water rushed over and between the rocks with extreme force, then would disappear again as if sucked into a vacuum.
I could feel the age and earth.
And there you have it.
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