The Gold Trail of the Oystercatcher Trail, is one of three ways to walk this slackpacking trail. Luggage is shuttled to the overnight accommodation, so all you need to carry is a light daypack, leaving you with plenty of energy to explore and enjoy the route. Pristine beaches, the warm Indian Ocean and a mountain backdrop await on the Oystercatcher trail.
An experienced guide accompanies your group every day. Their intimate knowledge of the region will ensure that you won’t miss out on any of the many attractions that the hike has to offer. With manageable daily distances of a maximum of sixteen kilometres, you will easily fit in the days hike, leaving plenty of time to play and relax.
At the end of each day, tired hikers can enjoy the sauna, indoor heated pool and other excellent facilities of the Sandpiper Sport and Spa Centre. For the energetic visitor, how about a game of squash, tennis or spinning class in the gym? If a relaxing Jacuzzi is more appealing, then you’ll be happy to discover that this one comes with exceptional views of the bay below. Massages and health therapies are also great treats for tired legs! Scrumptious meals are included in the Gold Trail Option – just remember to inform us of any specific dietary requirements.
Day One – Arrival
The Oystercatcher Trail starts with an evening at leisure in Mossel Bay. The mild climate, long stretches of beaches and warm waters of the Indian Ocean makes this region an ideal hiking destination for both summer and winter. Meander through this friendly town with its unhurried hospitality and a constant holiday feel. Dine at one of the many excellent restaurants and spend some quality time with your fellow hikers.
The hiking trail on day two encompasses ten kilometres of stunning coastline interspersed with some of South Africa’s many archaeological treasures. Mossel Bay lies on the peninsular of Cape St. Blaize. In the past, this rocky headland created a great danger to passing ships at night. Today it is home to a beacon for navigators; the elegant Cape St. Blaize lighthouse. Pass this landmark and continue along the pathway that winds itself to the first stop of the day – the St. Blaize Cave.
This archaeological treasure makes for a fascinating stop. Middens laid down by Khoisan herders give an insight into life in Mossel Bay over a hundred thousand years ago. The approach to the cave is also the start of the St. Blaize hiking trail. The path follows the contour of the rocky coastline from Mossel Bay to Dana Bay. Along the trail, you will come across another highlight – Pinnacle Point Caves, a provincial heritage site, where excavations have revealed occupation by Middle Stone Age people more than 100,000 years ago. Findings here have given new insight into the development of man. Ask your guide to explain the significance of finding pigment for body painting and other discoveries!
Upon arrival in Dana Bay, you will be transported to your home for the next few days – the delightful Sandpiper Guest Cottages in Boggomsbaai where you will end the day’s adventures with a hearty traditional fireside dinner.
After breakfast, you will return to Dana Bay where the adventure continues. Follow the bay east all the way to Boggomsbaai. Situated on the Blind River Mouth, the Moquini Nature Reserve beckons you to take a closer look – and a swim in the warm water!
The charismatic black African oystercatcher, after whom the trail is named, is frequently spotted along the rocky shoreline. On your way across the sandy beach, you will also explore ancient middens and Stone Age workshops. The route ends with snacks and refreshments followed by a fireside dinner at your overnight stay in the Sandpiper Guest Cottages in Boggomsbaai.
Today the route continues east towards the hamlet and surfers paradise of Vleesbaai. After breakfast, you will follow the rocky shores, rich with marine life, to the Fransmanshoek peninsula. Here, one fateful September day in 1763, the French man-o’-war, La Fortune, was wrecked on its voyage from Reunion. The term man-o’-war refers to a powerful warship manned with cannons and today you can still see a cannon wedged in the rocks at low tide. Lunch is served here followed by a swim or snorkel in the bay. After the day’s hike, you will return to the comforts of Sandpiper Guest Cottages.
This morning is your last at the tiny hamlet of Boggomsbaai (you have probably learnt to pronounce the name by now!), so enjoy the breakfast before your transport takes you to Cape Vacca where a quick stroll will take you to the banks of the Gouritz River. A boat trip up this picturesque body of water followed by a glass of bubbly and wild oysters marks the end of a wonderful hiking adventure.
You can choose to end in Mossel Bay or George Airport for your connecting flight home.