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Otter trail tips - Advice from a hiker

The Otter Hiking Trail is a 5 day adventure of a lifetime that's filled with sceneries of unimaginable beauty. The build up to the Otter Trail hike along the Garden Route can be both exciting and nerve wracking,  Here are some Otter Trail tips from Muazzam Rahim, that will help you prepare for this 5 day hike. Now you can make the most of your experience while not forgetting anything.

Otter Trail tips to book your hike

  • Book well in advance to allow some planning and preparation for tackling the Otter Hiking Trail. Also plan your travel arrangements before booking the trail, particularly during peak times.
     
  • Check low tide times for the Bloukrans crossing on day 4 before booking the trail. Try and get a low tide time somewhere after 10 am so you don’t spend too much time walking during the night.
     
  • Try and get a full complement of twelve easy going buddies for the hike. Communal items and jokes are easier shared this way.

Otter Trail Tips - Bloukrans at low tide

Above: Otter Hiking Trail Tips - Bloukrans at low tide

Otter Trail packing tips

  • Pack light! The Otter Hiking Trail is a 5 day hike, you don't want to spend most of the time trying to catch up with the group because your bag is so heavy.
     
  • Trekking poles help on the way up and down. They also give you a third leg when crossing rivers.
     
  • Be prepared for water; pack all sensitive items in dry bags or Ziploc bags. Quality dustbin bags also work well.
     
  • Take along lightweight, quick drying, good wicking and UV resistant clothing. Avoid cotton rich garments which retain moisture and take forever to dry. Packing layered clothing will help in travelling light.
     
  • Pack a rope that you can also use while hiking the Otter Trail. You can also use it as a washing/drying line, take along a few pegs or even use your smaller carabiner’s as pegs.
     
  • Given the climate, a good raincoat is a must. Stay away from low quality poncho’s which will tear in no time.
     
  • Powder and Vaseline in addition to good hiking socks will work well to keep the blisters away. Air your feet during breaks along the Otter Hiking Trail and consider two layers of socks if you are prone to blisters.
     
  • You can take along vacuum sealed meat for a braai. Pre-freeze and vacuum seal individually wrapped packs and keep them insulated near/in your sleeping bag.
     
  • Starting a camp fire can be difficult. Take along firelighters or candles to help you.
     
  • Cable ties and duct tape can fix many things, take some with.
     
  • Avoid too many simple sugars, particularly in the mornings. Go with low GI and high carbohydrate food for sustained energy throughout the day.  Protein at the end of each day's trail also assists with recovery.

Otter Trail tips - The top of Skilderkrans Koppie

Above: Tips to hike the Otter Trail  - The top of Skilderkrans Koppie

Some final tips for hiking the Otter Trail

  •  Take along a good camera, goggles, snorkel and a smile. They are all worth it.
     
  • Prepare a detailed food menu beforehand. This will assist against starving or taking too much food.

After reading these more than useful tips for hiking the Otter Trail along the Garden Route , you can now make the most of your adventure while knowing that you're fully prepared.

For further reading and more pictures, take a look at Muazzam Rahim's blog.

Muazzam Rahim

Muazzam Rahim Title: Blog Contributor
Affiliation: Drive South Africa Blog

As a hobby Muazzam runs his own website, dedicated to providing information on the Otter Trail in Tsitsikama. By day he's an accountant and MBA graduate, family man by night and a Kingsley Holgate wannabe every other time. He aspires to have a braai whilst exploring every place in South Africa; two things he loves dearly.


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