Strandloper | The Wild Coast Of No Regrets

11 Friends. Alone in the wild on a quest of no regrets that will take them on an unforgettable journey this summer. The Wild coast of no regrets. – The Flynn Brothers || Strandloper Hike elevator pitch.

It was finally time to take a hike along the wild Cost from Kei Mouth to Gonubie River otherwise known as the Strandloper. This 5-day trial is more or less 60km in total and marked with yellow feet indicators. Since we missed some indicators we walked about 10km extra.

We all met up at Cape St Francis and drove off to Kei Mouth and the Trail Enviro Centre on New Year’s Eve. Bryan and Erica Church received us like we were family. They ran us through all the “need to knows”, a detailed overview of the trail and a brief history of the area. Did you know this used to be a titanium mine area? We lit a wood fire after the debrief and started to prepare the ingredients for the potjie. We drank wine, spoke about our New Years Resolutions and promised to hold each other accountable this year.

DAY 1

  • Sunny Weather
  • Kei Mouth to Double Mouth
  • 13,5 km
  • Terrain: Coastal forest, sandy beaches, rocky ledges
  • Overnight: Hikers’ Cabin

On day one we were all ready and eager to experience the journey of the Strandlopers as we explore their shores and experience their world. Strandlopers are members of the Khoisan tribe who lived on the southern shores of South Africa.

We all woke up bright and early to ensure our bags were packed with water and suncream on hand. We struggled to get the bags on our backs seeing as Gert insisted that we carry 6 liters of Milk and bialetties. “Next level coffee snob this one!” I thought grimly seeing as we were already carrying extra weight since the girl that insisted we carry enough food for an army conveniently took the smallest backpack on the trip and thus were unable to help carry the load she so smilingly distributed among the rest of us.

We were issued with a permit and given a look that said; “Please don’t die.” I was still battling with a severe cold and broke into another coughing fit at that precise moment. Marcelle, a very close friend of mine, reminded us that we don’t have to rough it if we plan properly. Unfortunately for Marcelle, he was hiking with purists which meant carrying his own backpack and food, sleeping in huts and a shot of whiskey for me when the caught became too bad.

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The first day was a beautiful hike and much easier than I expected. We made it to the hut rather early and even came across white wild horses along our hike. We even saw dolphins.

There was no electricity at the hut which made this an early evening for all. We made pasta, hot chocolate and moved all our mattresses out to a big deck overlooking the ocean. That night we slept underneath the stars.

DAY 2

  • Sunny Weather
  • Double Mouth to Haga Haga
  • 9 km
  • Terrain: Black Rock, Treasure Beach, a beautiful shell beach, Haga Haga Village
  • Overnight: Haga Haga Hotel

This was the easiest day for me because it was such a short walk on a fairly straight beach. We went for drinks at Haga Haga and had a refreshing swim at Fish Bay. We finished the hike so early in fact that we decided to make a beach day out of it. Byron even brought his Frisbee. Back home he is known as the ultimate frisbee king.

Boys will be boys. The guys were showing off their best backflips and that’s when we heard it. The sickening sound of Jacques ankle breaking in the sand. Being the good friends we are we carried his backpack, some guys carried him, and we left him at the Haga Haga hotel before we continued on our hike the next day.

DAY 3

  • Misty, Overcast Weather
  • Haga Haga to Beacon Valley
  • 23 km
  • Terrain: 8km rocky ledges, 15km beach, 4 estuaries, high dunes
  • Overnight: Settlers Cottage

The day I thought I was going to die! Day three has a long stretch beach with very few places to fill up on fresh water. Evidently, we ran out of water thinking that we will just top up along the way. There is nothing worse than being sick and dehydrated in the middle of nowhere. We all ended up sharing the little bit of water we had left among ourselves.

By the time we arrived at Cinsta West we were all running towards the water no longer caring what we looked and smelled like!

We stayed in the overnight hut in Beacon Valley. We again had no electricity and no hot water, but we at least had wood and were able to build a nice big fire. I had a bit of a sleepless night with a bad chest and cough keeping me – and everyone else – up.

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DAY 4

  • Sunny Weather
  • Beacon Valley to Gonubie
  • 15 km
  • Terrain: Rocky coastline, Narrow intertidal beaches, The hamlets of Glen Muir, Queensberry Bay, Glen Eden, Bulugha River, grass track, sandy beach, Kwelegha river mouth.
  • Overnight: Hikers’ Cabin

Beach please, we’ve got this. On the final day, we faced rocky, shelly and sandy beaches. This was the most remote walk yet. I loved it. The boys played pranks tying sticks to our backpacks or dropping stones in our pockets. We walked long stretched barefoot.

We had a rather dry river crossing. I have heard tales of it being quite a duzi when it rains. After the hike, we arranged for lifts back to the Eco Center where we picked up Jacques.

Desert beaches, wave-lashed rocks, and tropical forest …  Each day uncovered so many different aspects of this wild coastline, blessing us with so much more than we sought out to find. It was truly a quest of no regret.

 

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