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Shipwreck Hiking & Canoe Trails

Port Alfred, South Africa
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dannywimpey wrote a review Oct 2020
Johannesburg, South Africa6 contributions
+1
The Shipwreck trail, which takes 6 days (5nights) is one of the best trails I have done. The scenery is exquisite and the trail takes advantage of the unspoiled natural beauty of the environment to deliver an experience that is diverse and interesting. Dave Marais, who has decades of experience in hiking in Africa, is a marvelous host, just the right amount of information and guidance, and clearly taking pleasure in our enjoyment of his hike. From the beach to the mountain, dune to the forest, and taking in the canoe trip up the Klenemond river, we had an absolutely wonderful time. Each hut is completely different, adding to the magic of the hike. A moderate amount of fitness is required but one of our party, who had a dicky knee, still managed to do part of the trail and provided one takes one's time, it is achievable by most. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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Date of experience: October 2020
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Rob878 wrote a review Mar 2019
Pretoria, South Africa18 contributions2 helpful votes
A five-day hike with slack packing option from Port Alfred to the Fish River. We enjoyed the beauty of this coast line and the private farms on which we stayed. The huts are rudimentary but the setting of most of the huts was unique and special.
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Date of experience: December 2018
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Maryann P wrote a review Dec 2018
Johannesburg, South Africa28 contributions
+1
A group of 7 of us aged 17 years to let's just say over 40 years travelled from Jo'burg to complete the 6 day/5 night option of the Shipwreck hiking and canoe trail. We were of varying fitness levels however we all found the route to be doable. I think you need a moderate level of fitness. From the excited anticipation on our arrival at Bellevue until the very tired and sad goodbyes at Fish River Diner we all had an absolutely amazing time. This is not a coastal hike, or a forest hike, or a dunes hike, or a wildlife hike or a canoeing experience - It is all of that in one! The diversity of the terrain kept us on our toes (and sometimes our knees and bums). The overnight huts are so unique. They are basic and rustic, however perfect for what is needed to rest after a beautiful day's walk or canoeing. If you read Dave Marais' emails thoroughly and follow his advise, which is what we did, you will be very comfortable. Even more so, if you take the slack-packing option, which is also what we did. Dave met us at Bellevue early on our first day and explained all that we needed to know, he then introduced us to Vaughan, who became our favourite person! Pack your bags well and follow all the guidelines and Vaughan will look after you so very well (even do a bit of shopping) if - like us - one or two things were forgotten. Really just super helpful and friendly. Some of our highlights - Hot shower and flushing open air toilet at Milkwood Sleeping in a tree house in fact the whole Tree House experience even our skinny dip in the pond around the corner Otter spoor everywhere on the beaches (flippin things wouldn't show themselves to us though) DO THE WALK TO THREE SISTERS ROCKS! (even if you feel tired) it is so worth it. Just everything about Lily Pad, that is a magical place and once you have the donkey burner on the go you get to experience the luxury of a hot shower. One word for Stone Cottage - POWER! (even loadshedding behaved for that night) Canoeing on a calm river is something you have to experience. Loads of kingfishers and waterbirds, even a water monitor on the river bank. The expanse of the dunes is something else. You lose depth perception, just beautiful. The wildlife was incredible, we saw so many birds, bushbuck, wildebeest, giraffe, nyala, impala and a few scary bulls (not quite wildlife but just as exciting). Most importantly, a soft mattress to lay your wary bones on each night. Dave warned us about the Puffy on the Path... however, thankfully we never saw one! Lastly... make sure you finish off this great experience with an amazing meal and ice cold beverage at FISH RIVER DINER. Thea is super friendly and is so knowledgeable about the area.
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Date of experience: December 2018
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Christelle L wrote a review Oct 2018
Jeffreys Bay, South Africa5 contributions
+1
Great hike with scenery varying between open beaches, dunes, forest and rivers. There is quite a bit of beach walking - be prepared. Route is very well marked and the huts are all very well appointed, hot showers are possible every night. Thanks Dave, we enjoyed the experience and will definitely be back to do the canoe trip.
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Date of experience: October 2018
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Colleen781116 wrote a review Dec 2017
Pretoria, South Africa27 contributions8 helpful votes
+1
I hiked the Shipwreck hike with a group of friends ranging from first timers to experienced, fit and not so fit hikers just before Christmas. We opted for the 6 day hike including the overnight canoe trail. Unfortunately we ended up not able to paddle as the river had opened up to the ocean and paddling was not possible. Dave (the hiking organiser) is very accommodating and always had a plan to hike through beautiful terrain instead of paddling. Day 1 hike along the beach was fairly easy and the Milkwood hut where we overnighted a pleasure to stay in. Day 2 hike of around 13km was more challenging with hike including beach and forest to the beautiful Treehouse huts. These are beautiful and special but due for some maintenance and some safety measures to be put in place. The supporting beam on the ramp up to the treehouse broke completely on the day we were there and it was fortunate no-one got badly hurt. The hike on day 3 to 3 Sisters was quite easy. It was a little strange to be walking a part of our way alongside the very busy R72. The hut at 3 sisters is in a sad state and gathering from previous reviews has been so for some time. It is dirty and neglected and close to the busy road. The only thing making the hike there worthwhile was the afternoon stroll to the 3 sister rocks which is on a beautiful stretch of unspoiled beach. Day 4 we hiked straight through to the game reserve and the Lilypad hut. This was my personal favourite- fairly challenging but beautiful terrain and the hut was the best of the whole hike. We had a short hike on day 5 and spent the rest of the day at Stone Cottage which had electricity and hot water. A 4km hike gets you to the beach and from there you hike 10km on the beach to the Fishriver mouth. All in all it was a good experience. Compared to my previous hiking trips and frame of reference (Otter, Fishriver, Magoebaskloof, Whale trail,Fanie Botha, Drakensberg etc), this was a little haphazardly strung together. It was a bit strange to me to sometimes be backpacking on a beach accessible to other holidaymakers and alongside a busy road. Also the 3 sisters hut is really in a sorry state. All in all a memorable experience though.
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Date of experience: December 2017
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