Bookings


The otter trail can be booked around a year in advance, bookings are in high demand, especially if you want all 12 places on the hike.

The Otter trail bookings are done directly through South African National Parks (http://www.sanparks.org) up to a year in advance. It’s a five day/four night hike costing around ZAR 1,150 pp (2017 pricing) excluding  the conservation fees which are payable on entry at the park. This fee if for the full 5 day hike per person.

A maximum of 12 people are allowed on the trail per day, making this hike somewhat difficult to book. Availability can be viewed on their website or by calling the central reservations number on +27 (0)12 428 9111. You can choose to be added to a waiting list for earlier times or check with them regularly for any further cancellations. 

Many third parties offer packages including the Otter hike fees on certain dates, travel as well as accommodation before and after the hike. The offered dates may suit you better.
Ideal times of the year for doing the Otter hike are somewhat of a personal preference. Some prefer the dryer months, whereas others prefer the warmer months. Average temperature and rainfall is as follows: 





Travel


There are many travel options. Nearest airports are Port Elizabeth, George and a smaller one at Plettenberg. Car hire is also available at these airports but it’s highly recommended that you pre-book, as these airports and facilities are not available 24 hours.

There are a number of private companies who provide transfers specifically for the otter trail (http://www.ottertrailtransfers.co.za/ or http://www.geckotours.co.za/ or even your hotel).

The hike begins at the Tsitsikamma National Park- Storms River and ends at Natures Valley in a westward direction. Car parking is available at both camps. You should leave at least one car at the finish point to escort the drivers to collect their vehicles if necessary. Bear in mind there is a toll gate between these two camps.

 

Accommodation


A number of nearby places provide accommodation before and after the hike. Accommodation is available at both storms river and natures valley camps prior to and after the hike. This is separate from the trail fees. Alternatively there are a number of private accommodation places nearby but outside of the park. One such place is The Village Lodge, a decent establishment with great service. They also assist with transport to the start and end points.

Tips

  •            Try for your own group of 12 people- this will assist with a whole lot of issues from motivation to sharing of communal items.
  •           Day 4 of the hike includes the famous Bloukrans river crossing. This river is usually crossed at low tide. It takes approximately 6+ hours to get to the river mouth from the hut. It may be better to search the tide tables before you book the hike and get a low tide time somewhere after 11am on day. 4. This will assist as you would then walk most of the 6 hours in daylight as opposed to night time walking. Annual tide tables for nearby seas can be viewed on www.satides.co.za or http://www.kwathabeng.co.za.
  •            If you are unfit (like me) try and book at least 6 months in advance. This should allow you to prepare a much more comprehensive training plan.
  •           You may want to look at travel arrangements (flights etc) before booking the otter trail, especially during peak times.

12 comments:

  1. I booked the Otter Trail for early next year. Is there space outside the huts to pitch a small tent? I just prefer to stay seperately from other hikers to have my privacy. The extra weight is not really an issue for me.

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    Replies
    1. Yes there is place to pitch the tents. However, i am not sure if this is allowed. Best check with SANPARKS on +27 (0) 42 281 1607

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    2. Good Day, could you pitch your tent close to the hut?
      Regards,
      alexandre

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  2. Thank you for the reply. And thanks for the great blog, it's been very useful. Another thing, is there adequate parking facilities for vehicles at Natures Valley for the duration of the hike? Is it safe to leave my car there, or is it better at Storms River?

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  3. There is place at natures valley camp, as well as storms river. Many surrounding lodges also offer free parking if you stay with them prior to the hike and afterwards. If you opt to park at natures valley, you will have to get a ride to storms river to start the otter or vice versa. Remember there is also a toll gate between the two camps.

    There are a number of companies that offer a taxi/transfer service as well.

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    Replies
    1. From a safety point of view, Storms river camp would seem much safer for your vehicle compared to natures valley.

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  4. I completed this trail in 2012 with my sister and brother in law and undertook back then to do it again - for obvious reasons!
    The peace and breathtaking contrasting beauty no picture can capture.A must!

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  5. Don't judge me, but is there electricity? To charge my phone (not do my hair!) Or do I need to pack a camera rather?

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    Replies
    1. There is no electricity available. Tag along your cellphone and consider a powerbank battery pack. If you do take along your camera, take along spare batteries, enough for the 5 days.

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  6. What sort of fitness level is required? I am interested in doing this hike and I am fairly fit, however I am no marathon runner. How much training is required?

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    Replies
    1. Hi
      You would need to be reasonably fit (not marathon runner type fit). You may want to prepare for the many uphills and downhills with a fully loaded backpack.

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  7. I think I will be ready to take this challenge not later than June next year; 2018

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