Koekenaap, Western Cape
The Swarttobie Hiking Trail is approximately 4 hours from Cape Town.
This is a five day wilderness hike on the beaches of the West Coast near Koekenaap on the West Coast. The first and last night you sleep over at the same base camp, the “Kliphuis Bushman Cave” All backpacks and tents are transported by vehicle to the next overnight spot.
The route curves through breathtaking nature scenes and follows though cliffs on the beaches of the West coast. A variety of birds can be seen, especially the Swart Tobie. This is a five day hike of 15 – 18 km a day. Total distance is 64 km.
If low tide falls over mid day – trail can be regarded as moderate. High tide at mid day changes difficulty to strenuous. This trail should be regarded as a wilderness experience. Little or no facilities at overnight camps – it is advisable to take a spade for ablutions.
Arrival at Boesmangrot:
- No electricity.
- On sunny days you will have solar heated water.
- Please take own gas lamps.
Brand se baai – Jakkalshok (15 km / ± 5 hrs / Moderate)
From Boesmans caves go to the owners’ house to park vehicles. You are transported from here to the starting point at Brand se baai. It is mostly beach walking, not very strenuous. There will be opportunity for swimming and crayfish (during season) and to view the marine life.
Jakkalshok – Gert du Toit se baai (15 km / ± 5 hrs / Moderate)
It is mostly beach walking, not very strenuous. There will be opportunities for swimming and crayfish (during season) and to view the marine life.
Helga’s Heights to Luck se baai (15 km / ± 6 hrs / strenuous)
You are transported from here to Helga’s Heights due to problems with a new mine. It is very strenuous. There will be opportunities for swimming and crayfish (during season) and to view the marine life.This is the most beautiful part of the coastline. Plenty of heights – hikers with a fear of heights will be supported. Transported to overnight at the mouth of the Olifantsriver.
“Luck se baai” to Mond van Olifantsrivier (Camp David) (6Km / app 3 hrs / moderate)
The last 6km of this day is beach walking. Closer to the mouth of the river the Red Beak Oyster Catcher will be found in great numbers. At the mouth of the Olifants River a variety of wading birds can be seen. Overnight at Camp David.
Camp David to Withuis (6 Km / app 2 hrs – moderate)
From Camp David walk upstream on the banks of the Olifants River and experience the different eco systems between sea and land.
Boat trip available at Withuis to transport hikers to Boesmangrot.
This trip is app 1 hr long. The rest of the day can be used to relax, for sightseeing or to visit the wine cellar at Strandfontein and Doringbaai.
The trail is finished with dinner at our house if the group is not too big.
- Minimum 5 hiker’s maximum 15 hikers
- Flower season middle August to end September
- Crayfish season – 15 November to April (PERMITS ESSENTIAL)
- Whale to be seen
- Bring your own cutlery, bedding, tents and mattresses
- The trail is closed between Christmas and New Year.
- Distance from Gauteng – 1300 km, via Uppington – 1600 km.
The Starting point of this trail is on a private farm near Koekenaap, approximately 10 km north of Lutzville. Traveling time from Cape Town, ± 4 hrs. Traveling by car from Jhb one can either take the N14 to Springbok and then on the N7. You can also travel on the N12 to Britstown, from there on dirt roads through the Karoo (Vosburg, Carnarvon, Williston, Calvinia, Niewoudsville, Vanrhynsdorp on to Vredendal and then to Lutzville.) Closest Airport is Cape Town, from here best would be to rent a car and travel to Koekenaap as there is no shuttle service and the owner said that bus and taxi services are unreliable.
You park and leave your cars for the duration of your hike at the owners’ house which is about 4 km from Kliphuis Boesmancave where you spend the first and last nights. This is a well ventilated overnight cave next to the Olifants River. Here are showers with cold water (hot water on sunny days), flush toilets and braai facilities. There are 3 rooms (2 people per room) but most people opt to sleep in the cave. No mattresses provided.
The owner will transport you early on day one to the starting point and you then start hiking while he takes tents etc to overnight spot.
You supply your own food for the trail, except for the last night when the owners give a braai – you supply drinks only for this evening. You can take cooler boxes for food. These packs will be taken each day with other baggage to overnight spot. Food can be frozen at the owner’s and delivered to the overnight spot daily. Packs must be marked eg. Kruger DAY 1. You can also do some fishing – cray fish season starts mid November but be sure to get permits for this
You carry a day pack with sufficient water and snacks, binoculars or whatever else. All other baggage transported by owner to the next overnight spot. You have to take own tents, camp chairs, small table for working surface, if you want to camp shower, roll up mattresses etc. The overnight spots are very basic, fresh water, wood and grid supplied. Please note that the camping spots must be regarded as wilderness – no ablutions provided. PLEASE SUPPLY& OWN BLITZ/FIRE LIGHTERS. Also remember mosquito repellent and a dry mac.
One Venter trailer or similar per group allowed – NO big 4×4 trailers with tent/kitchen/bathroom please. Baggage collected around 9 am. It is advised that you do not start hiking later than 9 O’clock. If you do not see Mr Wickens in the morning, you will meet him in the evening.
There is no map of the hiking trail itself. You follow the coast and on days 3 and 4 when terrain becomes difficult and trail moves a little inland, the owner or his son hikes with you. On these days he will also take you to fossil sites.
- NO PETS ALLOWED ON THE TRAIL
15KG per person max to be transported. Please put all food to be frozen in one pack per day for the group and mark with group name and day. Only frozen stuff please, no refrigerator space available. Dry food may be packed in crates and marked same as frozen food.
- Minimum 5 people or R9750.00 per tour / R1950.00 pp (6 or more people)
- Admin fee R55.00 once off per reservation
- Boat Trip: Pre-arrangement essential. R200.00 pp