Whale Trail Photo-Hike (25-30 November 2019)

The Whale Trail in De Hoop Nature Reserve is one of South Africa’s top Hiking Trails and an incredible experience.

 

Thephotowalkers.com have arranged this hike to make it an exciting, well planned photographic treat. Every detail has been thought of and taken care of.

Transport, food, drinks and carting of your luggage while you hike is all arranged and included. All you have to do is arrive with charged batteries!

During this hike you will be entertained by the Southern Right Whales and their babies all along the coast-line. This is indeed a spectacular treat. You can literally hear them breathing and communicating as you hike – and of course watch them frolicking and breaching.

 

 

>>>BOOKINGS ARE OPEN<<<

>>>SOLO TRAVELLERS ARE WELCOME<<<

>>>5% EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT OFFERED ON THIS TOUR IF BOOKED BEFORE 31 JANUARY 2019*<<<

if you have been on a photo-tour with us before or completed a 52 Week Challenge – enjoy less 10%.

 

Testimonial – The Whale Trail Hike 2015:

“Walking with Leanne and Peter provided me with the opportunity to discover and experience the Whale Trail in a unique way – through the lens of my camera. The walk is challenging, but every day offered different photographic learning. From photographing the small to the wide, bright light to low light. And anything you have not photographed before offered a chance for a lesson. Leanne and Peter are considerate guides and kept us oldies in good shape. This experience is one of my favourite memories.” Annabe Tredoux.

There are a minimum of six and maximum of ten people per photographer on this tour so early booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

Please see below for price and payment policy – as well as what is included and excluded.

Dates: 25-30 November 2019

Our Photographers:

Peter Hassall (National President of SA Pro-Photographers with 35 years experience) and Leanne Dryburgh (Western Cape Manager of SA Pro-Photographers with 27 years experience) from thephotowalkers.com are the photographers selected for this tour. Peter Hassall will join if there are more than 10 people booked.

Photographic Skills:

Hobbyist and travel photographers of all skills level are welcome. Solo Travellers are welcome. Come Join Us!

Partners and Non-Photographers:

Partners/Non-Photographers are welcome to join at the same price as the photographers.

Our photographer’s years of experience behind the lens and years of hiking is what puts thephotowalkers.com into a league of its own.  Between Leanne and Peter, they have hiked this trail 5 times in the last 3 years.

Photographic Highlights Include:

  • Landscapes that only 12 people get to walk along every day – very few of them stopping to take beautiful photographs. A truly unique photographic opportunity.
  • Exposure and how to balance light in Manual Mode
  • Shutter Speed workshop including how to use a Neutral Density Filter*’.
  • Depth of field workshop in the indigenous forests
  • Understanding how to use a Polarising Filter*
  • Night Skies and Painting with light
  • Macro in the small holes in the rocks – where the most beautiful ‘bonsai’ fynbos grows
  • The importance of good composition using your foreground, middleground and background.
  • How to use hiking paths as leading lines
  • How to handle all different types of light and how it reacts to natural elements such as dust

*we have these filters available for loan and sale on the tour – in all sizes.

Itinerary:

Day 1: 25 November 2019

For those travelling to Hermanus – meet and greet at Cape Town International Airport at 10h30 and travel to Hermanus. Arrive in Hermanus at 12h00, change, leave bags. shop and enjoy a light lunch. Those based in Hermanus will be collected from their homes at 14h00. Arrive at the first hut of the Trail for an evening braai at around 17h00. On this evening we will pack into our crates, organise ourselves for the hike and enjoy a braai together. We will also enjoy our first low-light workshop and “Painting with light’.

Day 2: 26 November 2019

An early wake-up and depart to the start of the hike after a cooked breakfast, stopping for lunch along the way. Hike Potberg to Cupidoskraal (14, 7 km – Moderate to strenuous ± 8 hours) This is the toughest stretch of the trail which is why we are having an early start. It will take you to the top of Potberg at 611 meters, with breathtaking panoramic views of Swellendam in the north, Cape Infante in the east and Cape Agulhas in the west. You will also have a good chance of sighting the rare Cape vulture. The trail descends towards Cupidoskraal where a swim in the dam offers a refreshing end to the day as well as beautiful photographic opportunities. An evening meal and workshop in the forest will finish off the day.

Day 3: 27 November 2019

An early start after breakfast with many stops along the way to photograph. Hike from Cupidoskraal to Noetsie (15 km – Moderate ± 8 hours) The trail follows the crest of the Potberg through mountain fynbos with unequalled views of the Indian Ocean and the Breede River. The route finally leaves the Potberg and leads onto limestone hills with strikingly different fynbos, then descends to the enchanting bay of Noetsie at the coast. A casual supper and a workshop photographing the stars’ on this beautiful sheltered beach. A wonderful location for an ocean swim.

Day 4: 28 November 2019

A leisurely start to the morning and sun-rise shutter speed photography on the beach. Hike from Noetsie to Hamerkop (8.5 km – Easy ± *6 hours – 4 hours of actual walking) This short distance allows a leisurely start to the day and ample time for exploring and photographing the coastline. Stilgat, with its clear tidal pools and abundant marine life will provide an unsurpassed opportunity for snorkelling and swimming. Several viewpoints lie ahead until you reach a lovely sandy beach stretching all the way to Hamerkop.

Day 5: 29 November 2019

Hike from Hamerkop to Vaalkrans (10, 5 km – Moderate ± 6 hours) It is well worth the long walk on the beach as the views and turquoise rock pools that you eventually reach are splendid. Please stay clear of the sensitive calcrete formations and look out for interesting seabirds like the shy oystercatchers and white breasted cormorants basking in the sun. Hikers are requested to respect the privacy of the guests staying at the remote Lekkerwater Lodge which is on this route.

Day 6: 30 November 2019

Hike from Vaalkrans to Koppie Alleen .7 km – Easy ± *6 hours (2 hours of actual walking) Again, a short hike allows you ample time to photograph the scenic landscapes and watch the southern right whales and bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the waves. Snorkel at your leisure or float in the Hippo Pools before walking up to the Koppie Alleen parking where the bus will collect you and transport you back to Hermanus. At 16h30 the bus will leave for Cape Town International Airport. Hotel transfers in and around Cape Town can also be arranged during that evening.

Accommodation:

Accommodation is included and is in overnight huts which are clean.  It is ‘dorm living’ with 4 in a room – on 2 bunk beds with comfortable mattresses. You need to bring a sleeping bag, pillow, towels and all toiletries. “I will challenge all of you to find more beautiful places in the world to sleep!” (Leanne – the co-owner of thephotowalkers.com and long-time hiker)

Transport:

thephotowalkers.com is offering shared transport from Hermanus. It’s by far the nicest way to do the tours and it’s good fun too!

You will be picked up and dropped off where you are staying in Hermanus at around 14h00 on the 25th of November  and return to Hermanus at roughly 16h00 on the 30th of November.

The price of this service is excluded and is estimated R750.00 each way – depending on the number of people on the bus. This is calculated a week before departure and is invoiced.

If you are coming from out of town, we will arrange an airport transfer from Cape Town International Airport on 25th of November at 10h30 (please make sure your flight lands by  10h00) – or the 24th of November (please land between 11h00 and 16h00 – out of heavy traffic times) – we can arrange transport to the shops if there is any fresh produce or drinks that you would like to purchase – as well as accommodation for you for that night in Hermanus.

Airport transfers and accommodation in Hermanus are additional charges.

On the 30th of November   – airport transfers can also be arranged either for a 20h00 flight – or flights departing between 11h00 and 16h00 on the 1st of December (out of heavy traffic times).

If you need to leave a car in Hermanus for the duration of the tour, we offer safe parking facilities at no charge.

The shared transport will also collect anywhere en-route between Hermanus and De hoop.

You are welcome to self drive and leave your car parked in The De Hoop Nature Reserve for the duration of the hike at your own risk.

Please click the ‘BOOKINGS & ENQUIRIES’ button towards the top of the page. There are drop-downs that prompt you to tell us what your accommodation requirements are  and if you would like to share transport . You will then receive an email with all of the relevant details.

Should you have any  questions, you are welcome to call or WhatsApp Leanne on 083 293 7208 or email Jeanne at tours@thephotowalkers.com. One of them will get back to you as soon as possible. (If Leanne is taking a tour or on a shoot – she may take a couple of days to reply -WhatsApp is most effective form of communication for her)

Price and Payment Policy:

The price of hike is R7500.00 per person – single or sharing. ***

A deposit of R3500.00 is required to secure your place and the balance is payable 2 weeks before departure. There is limited space so early booking is advisable.

Includes: ***

The price of the tour listed above includes Accredited South African Professional Photographer/s who will be on hand throughout the hike, to assist you – no matter what skill level you are. Our photographers are trained in film photography and therefore have a very deep understanding and knowledge of all aspects of photography. A second Professional Photographer will join the tour once 8 people have confirmed.

Also included is  the park fees, conservation fees, booking fees, accommodation and the carting of you crate between huts offering a ‘slackpacking’ experience – as well as the transport of your tripods between huts.

The option of leaving a suitcase with clean clothes locked away in Hermanus on day one of the tour,  enables you to have clean clothes for your journey home.

Excludes: ***

Transport between Hermanus and  De Hoop Nature Reserve, all meals and refreshments ** camera equipment, airport transfers, additional accommodation in Hermanus, medical aid kit, and any expenses of a personal nature – including all types of evacuations from the trail.

**Meals and refreshments:

You are welcome to supply your own meals – or be part of the communal catering which is an additional R300.00 per person per day.

Thephotowalkers.com has a portable fridge that they bring for the communal meals – allowing fresh salads, meats and fruit throughout the hike.

Included in the communal catering is:

  • Plunger coffee, english and rooibos tea and biscuits
  • 3 cooked breakfasts with egg, bacon, tomatoes / mushrooms and toast
  • 2 breakfasts with muesli or oats
  • Fruit
  • 1 evening braai with salads and garlic bread
  • 1 evening of steak, mushroom sauce, baby potatoes and vegetables
  • 1 dinner of beef stroganoff, rice and vegetables
  • 1 dinner of thai green chicken curry, basmati rice and sambals
  • 1 dinner of gnocchi with a choice of two sauces and a side salad

Excluded in the communal catering is:

  • All cool drinks including alcoholic beverages
  • If you love a lot of coffee or tea – please bring extra. We cater two cups per person per day. We bring a plunger with us
  • All evening snacks and puddings / sweets
  • Daily packed lunch and snacks to enjoy en-route

Crates for carting your goods between huts:

Each person is allocated 1 by 80 litre crate – and there is one additional crate for food for the group. In your crate you have to pack your clothing, food, sleeping bag and pillow (or pillow case that you put clothes into), camera equipment that you choose not to hike with, as well as meals and refreshments.

If you are part of the communal catering – you will be allocated food to pack into your crate.

If you choose to self cater – you will have to fit all of your food into your own crate.

The transport service between huts has agreed to transport tripods for us which included in the booking fee.

Camera gear and essential hiking gear to bring:

In order to achieve the most from the Accredited South African Professional Photographer, a camera body with a manual mode function is recommended. However, all makes of cameras and cell phones are welcome. A tripod is essential (in the event that you do not own a tripod you are welcome to hire one from thephotowalkers.com at a cost of R200.00 for the duration of the tour). Pre-booking is essential.

Please also include the following in a comfortable daypack for hiking :-  a head torch, first aid kit, a spare pair of shoes, water bottle, sunscreen, a packet for your litter, a light lunch, snacks or energy bars, insect repellent, hat, swimming costume and a light waterproof jacket

What to Wear:

This is a hike – so please dress accordingly. Comfortable clothing and walking shoes are recommended. Make sure you have a pair of shoes with a good grip for the paths and rocks. Water shoes are also recommended – as well as comfortable open slops for the evening to give your feet some fresh air. Wind breakers come in handy for photographing at dusk and dawn and pockets are useful.  Hike with 2 pairs of thin socks on to prevent blisters – and pants that won’t make you chafe.

thephotowalkers.com will communicate with you closer to the of date of departure should there any be any inclement weather expected that would encourage additional items of clothing that are not typical.

Fitness:

A reasonably high level of walking fitness is required to enable you to carry your own camera bag and / or a daily hiking bag.  We don’t race the trail, rather go at a pace that allows us to stop, soak up and capture the beauty and the scenery.

Olympus Mirrorless Cameras:

Wandering about Mirrorless Technology and lighter camera equipment that is easier for travel?

thephotowalkers.com have partnered with Olympus and have these cameras on hand throughout the tour, for you to try and use as much as you would like to.  Our photographers are well versed in this incredible Micro four/thirds technology and can answer any questions that you have. These cameras, lenses, filters and accessories are available for purchase through our sister company –  The Photo Shed.

Cancellation Policy:

Due to the logistics of booking this hike, the high demand for the hike and the non-refundable policies of Cape Nature  – the R3500.00 deposit to secure is non-refundable.

In the event that either you or thephotowalkers.com team are able to re-sell your place, we will refund your deposit – less any costs incurred.

In the event that thephotowalkers.com has to cancel the tour for any reason whatsoever, a full refund will be issued immediately.

Indemnity:

By booking this Photo-Tour you agree to be bound by thephotowalkers.com indemnity terms and conditions. thephotowalkers.com, it’s staff, employees, suppliers and partners will not be held responsible for loss, injury, death or damage including consequential loss of any nature whatsoever, while on the tour, in the shared transport, in the accommodation or during an activity. By booking this tour you understand and accept this. thephotowalkers.com will do their best to avoid any circumstances that may lead to the above.

Intellectual Property and Confidentiality:

By booking this tour you understand, accept and agree that any information given as well as any service providers, locations, workshops, partners, techniques or any part of the tour whatsoever is the Intellectual Property of The Photowalkers (t/a thephotowalkers.com).