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~ I dont blog about things to be liked. I blog about things that I like ~ ... so that one day, on my death bed, I will have said and done what I wanted to do, and die peacefully without regrets.
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says..' Oh shit....She's awake'

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Hiking Half Collared King Fisher Trail in the Wilderness national park Garden Route

Wow, its been a while since I last blogged, but hey, starting an online magazine and having a precious little baby and life then happens, blogging kinda falls behind a bit.  I missed writing about our hikes, but we did not stop hiking, we just did not have the time to blog our hikes.

Anyway enough excuses, and while on holiday recently in the Garden route we stumbled upon a few hikes that I wish to share with you.  Before the hike and much of its details slip my mind, I will write about our experiences of these lovely routes and hope you get to experience them too!

For now, I will discuss the Half Collared King Fisher Trail.

Accommodation: Lake Pleasant Living Holiday Resort, Sedgefield.

Comes highly recommended, especially if you are a family.  They have all the amenities one can ask for and are in close proximity to all the major attractions.  The hotel staff were so incredibly accommodating and friendly, I will have no hesitation to want to go back there.

How to get there:  
Start by going to get your permit from the Ebb and Flow Camp at the SANPARKS Wilderness national park.  Below is a geographic map to show where it is in relation to Wilderness, a copy of my FitBit calculation of distance and time to complete the route is also shown.  Park your car inside the camp or there is a small parking area just next to the railway bridge outside the camping areas.

Take careful note of the map below and you will see the 2 sections that we did not cover while on this route: 
1. We did not opt to go the BOSDUIF trail, due to time constraints we did not explore this loop.
2. When doing the Bosduif, you also have the option to cross the river at THE STEPPING STONES.

You need to pay a fee (R15 pp) at the Wilderness National park reception.  This is where they give you a map and all the important details.  It's free if you have a Wild Card of course.
4 km one way (8km return). Give yourself 4 hours, but nothing less, unless you plan to run it.
Easy but not for an old dog.  In fact this is not a route where dogs are allowed, the boardwalks can cut their feet in the wet slippery conditions.  Its practically flat the whole way, with a very super fancy board walk to guide you in your adventure through this beautiful forest.

Exit the Ebb and Flow South Rest Camp, and turn left to walk about 100m over the single lane railway bridge over the Touw River.

Opposite the Wilderness water purification plant, you will see a sign to mark the start of this hiking route.

No need to worry too much about a map or a guide, as this route is as clear as you can get. It is however nice to have a map, because the you can always have a good understanding of your location when you get to places where the road forks, the pontoon or the waterfall.

In the beginning you walk below a shaded canopy, and a few board walks to take you over the tricky parts of the mountain.

Scenic views are around every corner.  In this photo you can still see the Ebb and Flow North Camp site on the opposite side of the river.

In the image above you can clearly see how the river meanders into the background, clearly marking the path ahead of you.

You are also able to hire a kayak (from the reception) and paddle for half of the distance to a set point in the river.  We would loved to have done this too, but we started so late (3pm!), time was not on our side.  The kayak adventure looked so stunning. Would love to come back and do this part of it just for fun.

As we walked we found many well market picnic spots along the river.

This route hugs the Touw river all the way to a waterfall.

When to go:
Most of this walk is done in the shade and on a wooden board walk.  This should give you enough information to decide whether you would like to do it in summer or winter, on a dry or rainy day. "Slippery when wet" comes to mind here ;)

Halfway to our destination we had to cross the lovely Touw river by means of a fun pontoon.  Each to their own here.

A selfie was the order of the day while crossing the river on the pontoon !

A short distance after we crossed the pontoon, we found the Kayak-stop.  This is where the rowers parked their kayaks to continue their journey on foot to the waterfall another 2km further.

The tranquility of the river was the perfect spot for us to take a short break and enjoy the moment.  Our 2 year old son loved the cool water and 'rocks for Africa' to throw...

This well maintained board walk was an absolute pleasure, never been so spoilt for such a long distance on a hike before!

Eventually after 2 hours and 4km later, we reached the waterfall.  

From here we turned around and raced back, daylight time was not on our side as neither of us brought a Petzl with us and both of us ran out of phone battery.  Rather silly, but we did not expect this route to be as nice, and so long.  Key here is to always come prepared I guess.

Feel free to ask questions in the box below, I will be happy to help if I can.  Thanks,

As for the King Fishers... I did not hear or see any???

PS:  all these pics were happily shot from my Sony Xperia waterproof phone that I love, but there are a few beauties squeezed in that my hubby took with his brick ;)

Happy Hiking!

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