This fully guided walking experience along beaches and rocky shores starts at the Khoi San cave at Cape St Blaize in Mossel Bay and ends at the Gourits River. There are 3 versions of the Oystercatcher Trail.
They are all equal in quality and experience. The differences are in the cost which varies from:
R2900 per person sharing for the GREEN version. This is self catering but also fully guided . You only carry day packs with clothing. There are food packs available for sale at the various guest houses where you overnight and prepare your own meals. Preferred minimum number required are 8 persons per hike and max is 16. Self drive to Mossel Bay as the starting point.
R4800 per person sharing for the SILVER version. This is fully catered and all meals and accommodation is supplied. Self drive to Mossel Bay as the starting point. Preferred minimum 6 persons and maximum 16 persons.
R7230 per person sharing for the GOLD version. This version includes pick up and drop at George airport. It also includes all bar drinks and a complimentary T shirt or caps for all hikers. Preferred minimum 4/6 hikers and max 10 persons.
Itinerary for all 3 versions:
Arrival at Mossel Bay. Visit to museum and harbor optional as time of arrival in Mossel Bay is normally later afternoon. 1st Night - Accommodation provided at Mossel Bay in 3 to 5 star quality guest houses.
After breakfast with the guide next morning the hike starts at the historical St Blaize cave. The footpath is along the edge of the cliffs overlooking the vast Indian ocean. Regular sightings of dolphins from high vantage points as well as humpback whales. During the months from July to October daily sightings of the Southern Right whales are common. Visits to the Pinnacle Point stone age caves along the route can be pre- arranged as an option. 1st day ends at Dana Bay about mid to later afternoon. Distance approx. 15 kms. Difficulty scale 7/10
Accommodation either at Dana Bay guest house or at Sandpiper Cottages in Boggomsbaai. Venues for Green (self catering)and Silver (fully catered) are normally at Dana Bay in Bokmakierie guest house (4 star). Overnight venue for Gold version at Sandpiper Cottages in Boggomsbaai. Hikers on Gold version are transported to the Sandpiper from Dana Bay and returned there after breakfast the next morning.
After breakfast hikers walk along the edge of the sea from Dana Bay all on wide and unspoilt beaches and visit stone age middens of the Hunter Gatherers and Khoi San beachcombers in the dunes. Swimming in the sea optional. Guide reveals the secrets, the nests and habits of the African Black Oystercatcher. You can help him locate white sand mussels and watch how the plough snails clean the beach of marine organic material and watch the scuttling of sandpipers and ghost crabs. Meander through the Kleinbos Cape cottage indigenous and totally natural botanical garden, to Sandpiper cottages. Distance about 14 kms. Difficulty scale 5/10
Accommodation in Boggomsbaai at 4 star quality Sandpiper Cape fisherman cottages. Gold and Silver trail have their meals prepared and served in front of large open log fire at the Sandpiper Leisure centre. The Green version prepare their own meals in the Sandpiper cottages, also by the fireside. Food packs available for Green version.
After breakfast hike continues along the beach, past the historic Vleesbaai village, along the edge of the rocky shore. This village was named by the Old Dutch Sea Farers who traded beads for cattle with the Khoi San, 150 years before Jan van Riebeeck landed at the fairest Cape. Along here you can see the oysters, clams, black mussels and red bait in unspoilt and unpolluted rock pools. Prepare for a scrumptious beach lunch at Fransmanshoek and visit the small info centre that was the holiday cottage of an old family of the area. This also near the site where the La Fortune sank with 400 men on board in 1763. From Fransmanshoek the hike is again along a very remote and unspoilt beach flanked by massive Namib like dunes, to the tiny village of Kanon (also known as Cape Vacca). This is where the guide will also explain how the Khoi San built fish traps known as “ Fish Favours”. The Gold version hikers will be picked up and transported back to Boggomsbaai and Sandpiper Cottages. The Silver and Green hikers continue to the Gourits river where they will be ferried across the river by small boat, picked up and transported back to Sandpiper Cottages in Boggomsbaai. Distance to Kanon 16 kms, distance to Gourits about 21 kms.
Gold and Silver have their traditionally prepared and cooked meals at Sandpiper Leisure centre by the fireside once again. Green will either overnight in Gouritsmond or will be transported back to Sandpiper. This depends on availability of accommodation.
After breakfast Gold gets transported back to Kanon and from there they continue to Gourits river (5 km`s)where they will be ferried across by small boat and be taken back to Sandpiper at about mid day. From Boggomsbaai after washing up and packing they will be taken back, either to Mossel Bay or to George airport by private vehicle shuttle. Silver and Green will not hike on this day, but will have breakfast and will be transported back to Mossel Bay, either from Gourits or from Boggomsbaai. This will be about mid morning.
Total distance for Oystercatcher Trail about 50 kms