Whale trail

November 6, 2009 at 9:45 am | Posted in south africa | Leave a comment

The whale trail is a 5 day, 45 mile hike on the south coast of Africa. The added incentive being that we were guaranteed to see whales.

The trip involved Mark and some of his friends: chilli farmer, photographer, handyman, vegan, author, professional frisbee champion, toothpaste tester and an ex dog clothes maker. (some jobs may be innacurate)

When kelly and i woke up we realised that some people take their hiking quite serious. Everyone was kitted out in big hiking boots, walking sticks, backpacks full of survival packs, dried fruit and snake bite kits.  Compared to our trainers and granola bars, we felt a little under-equipped. After a few motivational speeches and faceslaps we set off. 

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kelly: through a crazy mix up, the trail was double booked which turned out to be the best thing ever as we stayed in luxury tents and had our own chef pals to cook gourmet camp meals. anyways… we stayed on this beach the first and fourth nights. since it’s  on govt property, we knew no one else was around. the beach was unbelievably beautiful and isolated without feeling desolate.

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kelly: bagged wine, the perfect camping companion.

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I wanted a free willy experience, but seeing the whales breach was pretty cool.

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Difficult to get good photos

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We saw loads of whales. They came so close to the shore that it seemed feasible to swim out to them – don’t know what they’d have done.

Dolphins swimming off the shore (kelly: they were playing and splashing about, having a great time)

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Kelly and i with mark.

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Part of the journey was spent walking with Mark. This proved to be really insightful as he used to be a bush guide. At one point, Mark stopped us all and shouted to stay back as there was a puff adder (really dangerous snake with flesh rotting venom) on the path. Now, having been to mark’s house and counted 5 rubber snakes and 8 rubber spiders, we thought there was a severe case of Johnny bullshit going on. In fact, he was telling the truth and an amazing coloured snake slithered past us. Mark and i were both gutted that we weren’t fast enough to get a picture. Mark told us that he should have picked up the snake with a stick and put it on a rock to pose for shots – would have been funny to see that.

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amazing water hole where we had a lovely evening float.

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A 7 mile hike on the beach was a killer

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Our house on one of the nights was the former summer house of Frederik Willem De Klerk (tha last apartheid president)
kelly: we got to stay here because of the double booking and it was amazing. we had an inside braii and oil lamps everywhere. it was a strange but cool feeling to be staying in the only beach house on a 30 mile stretch.

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originally i hadn’t been all that excited about whale trail, but huddy was right and i really liked it. a lot of schlepping around hiking, but it’s been one of my favorite experiences so far. and now i can say i’ve been proper camping and survived.

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