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Whale Trail Hike

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

ENQUIRIES & BOOKINGS

Thephotowalkers.com have arranged this hike to make it an exciting, well planned  treat with a photographic twist!  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!

Dates:

17-22 February 2022 Currently 2 places available 

31 May – 4 June 2022: Currently 4 places available 

  • Early booking is advisable to avoid disappointment.
  • There is a minimum of 8 people and a maximum of 12 (4 places are confirmed so far for May booking).
  • See below for deposit details to secure as well as price and payment terms.

On this hike, there are photography guides, not instructors.

Hikers, all makes of cameras users and cell phone photographers are welcome.

The guides will help you take the best photo you can – if you would like guidance!

If there are serious photography enthusiasts, the guides will include a couple of Pop Up workshops.

Who is the hike aimed at?
  • Hikers, photography enthusiasts, friends, couples and solo travellers!
Itinerary:

Day 1:  Spend the morning doing a last bit of shopping, site seeing, packing, traveling from the airport or simply sleeping in! The bus departs from Hermanus at 13h00. Arrive at the first hut at around 16h00 – explore the area and settle in around a braai.

Day 2:  An early wake up and start of the hike after breakfast.  Todays journey takes you from 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.  An evening braai next to the forest will finish off the day.

Day 3:  An early start after breakfast with many stops along the way.  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 beautiful place for a swim in the ocean or jacuzzi in the rock pools.  A casual supper on this sheltered beach.

Day 4:  A leisurely start to the morning and sun-rise 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.  You pass several whale watching points and are bound to see the Southern Rights Whales and their babies.  The accommodation is at the end of a lovely sandy beach stretching to finish off the days walk.

Day 5:  Early morning on the beach and then 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.  Pass the sensitive calcrete formations and look out for interesting seabirds like the shy oystercatchers and white breasted cormorants basking in the sun.

Day 6:  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 enjoy scenic landscapes and watch the bottle-nosed dolphins frolicking in the waves.  Snorkel at your leisure or float in the Hippo Pools before walking up to the Koppie Alleen parking where a shuttle will collect you and transport you back to the first hut where the bus will collect you. Drop off at Dutchies restaurant on Grotto Beach in  Hermanus.  At 16h00 the bus will leave for Cape Town International Airport – arriving at around 17h30. If you would prefer to spend this night in Hermanus, a bus can also be arranged for the morning – but only after 08h30 arriving at the airport at 10h00.

Testimonial – The Whale Trail Hike:

“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.

What does the hike cost?
 The price of hike is R7500.00 per person

Payments:
  • Upon booking – A deposit of R4000.00 is required to secure your place (This is the first instalment).
  • 2 Weeks before departure : The balance of R3500.00
Accommodation:

Accommodation during the hike 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).

Should you require accommodation in Hermanus before or after the hike, we can arrange that for you too as an additional add-on.

Transport:

thephotowalkers.com offers shared transport from Hermanus, to the start of the hike, and back to Hermanus at end of the hike.
It’s by far the nicest way to do the hike and it’s good fun too – and there are refreshments served on the bus.

Airport transfers from CT International can be arranged at an additional fee. 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.

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.

What is included?

Hiking fees, park fees, conservation fees, booking fees, accommodation, breakfast, dinner, tea and coffee, photography guides, a basic first aid kit, a comprehensive guide on what to pack / wear etc,  the carting of your crate between huts offering a ‘slackpacking’ experience plus transport to the start and end of the hike.

Catering includes:

  • 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.

** vegetarian options are available upon request.

What is excluded?

Emergency evacuations from the trail plus:

  • All  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.
How do I book?

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

What if I have a question?
  • Call or WhatsApp Leanne on 083 293 7208.
  • Email Jeanne at tours@thephotowalkers.com.
How fit do I need to be?

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.

What if I have to cancel?
  • On the deposit

Due to the logistics of booking this hike, the high demand for the hike and the non-refundable policies of Cape Nature  – the R4000.00 deposit to secure is non-refundable.  thephotowalkers.com will do their best to resell your place.

What if thephotowalkers.com has to cancel?

In the event that thephotowalkers.com has to cancel the tour for any reason whatsoever, a full refund will be issued on all expenses paid to date.

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).