Another mission I had been planning for a while and had completely forgotten about.  Recently I decided that I want to start hiking more as there are so many amazing places in South Africa that very few people ever see, and I want to be one of the few.  One afternoon during my annual Summer holiday, after I realised I would not be able to do the hike I’d originally wanted to do, these forgotten plans popped into my head:  I’m going to hike along the Southern most coast of Africa.  I was immediately excited.  There and then I started planning everything.  I was going to visit some good friends in the Struisbaai caravan park for a couple of days and I quickly organised my friends to drop me off at Die Dam holiday resort.  So I started packing and I was on my way a few days later.

I was dropped off at Die Dam holiday resort at 10:30am on the 27th of December.  I had about 30km of almost completely uninhabited coastline to cover during the next two days.  The wind was howling and the sand was blasting my legs but nothing could dampen my excitement.  I had postponed this moment for way too long and finally the time to take action had arrived.  It’s long been a dream of mine to do solo missions, especially in uninhabited territory and preferably unsupported.  This mission is not much of a challenge to anybody with some level of fitness, but to me it meant the start of one of my dreams.  Sometimes we get excited about something and then after a while it starts fading away and we carry on with our daily lives.  I’m going to try my best to keep the momentum of this dream going.

I made sure I was walking during low tide.  At high tide the sand is loose and that makes walking slow and tiring.  With a tail wind and the sand nice and hard, I was cruising the first 10km stretch of beach.  My pack was not too heavy and I had a smile on my face.  A friend from the area told me that I would be able to get some water along the way so I was carrying the bare minimum.  Soon there was not much to remind me of civilization and I felt free.

Southcoast0003

The sandy beach ended and the walking became slower as I was crossing rocks and pebbly beaches.  When a fishermen’s path appeared on the hard bank above the shore walking became easy again.  The scenery was spectacular now with huge waves crashing into the rocks.  I was where I wanted to be and the company (myself) was excellent.

Southcoast0004Southcoast0005

At about the 15km mark I reached Asfontein: a bunch of whitewashed houses in the middle of nowhere.  It’s a beautiful place in an idyllic setting.  I would guess it belongs to one of the families from the area that uses it as their private getaway.  I re-filled my water there and carried on.  I was close to my planned distance (17km) for the day and started looking for a spot out of the wind to pitch camp.  The vegetation now got thicker reaching waist height in places.  From there on there were rock formations, little bays and simply beautiful scenery.  I was relaxed and dreaming the day away.

I got a bit of an abrupt wakeup call when the biggest snake I have ever seen raised its flat head in front of me to announce its presence.  I have actually developed a bit of a liking for snakes lately and was hoping to see some on my hikes.  But I could never have hoped for such a fine specimen.  Confidently and unafraid, this three meter golden brown beauty of a Cape Cobra checked me out for about two minutes and when it disappeared into a mole hole I got out of there quickly.  A bite from this guy would kill me in a couple of hours for sure.  Unfortunately I did not get a picture of the snake.  My camera was in my backpack and I was not going to take my eyes off the snake to get it out.

Southcoast0007 Southcoast0006Southcoast0012

Soon thereafter I found a nice camping spot, pitched my tent on a grassy spot and had a quick swim in the tidal pool in front of it.  The afternoon was relaxing, watching the big waves crashing into the rocky shore and I had a chat to a local fisherman coming to check out one of his usual fishing spots nearby.  Later when the wind died down I made a fire and eased into the evening with some sherry.

Southcoast0008 Southcoast0010Southcoast0009

I had a good rest that evening, with the soothing sound of the waves as my constant companion.  The next morning I had an early start.  After about 2km I reached Brandfontein and filled up my water supplies at the Albertyn family’s place, a group of stone cottages.  After that the rocky shore made way for a wide sandy beach again.  It was low tide and life was easy.  An hour or so later the shore got steeper and the sand gave way to a loose pebble beach.  This area is called Die Walle and I used to come fishing here with my older cousin when I was still a school boy.  The walking was hard now but the end was getting closer.  I passed a beautiful lagoon and soon after, civilization appeared and I was suddenly in Suiderstrand.  From there I hitchhiked to Struisbaai and quickly got a lift with two youngsters in a white jeep.  I enjoyed the wind in my hair and the scenery flying past.  Mission accomplished.

Southcoast0011

Soon I was back at the campsite in Struisbaai and my adventure was over.  It was strangely easy to maintain my adventure momentum as the Otter Trail was next….

Advertisements