Strandloper Hiking Trail : Days 1 – 4
The Strandloper Trail has been described as “the one trail where you can savour the feeling of solitude on an unspoilt beach and down a bar lunch in a cosy pub barely an hour later”.
The trail is almost 57 km in total and takes 4 days to complete. It is clearly marked with little painted white on green boot prints and can be walked throughout the year. The best weather is between January and May which have warm windless days.
The Trail Manager will issue you with a tide table to assist you in planning your river crossings at the Quko, Kwenxura, Kwelegha and Gonubie Rivers. Include strong watertight bags and rope in your pack.
There are braai places, water and ablution facilities at all overnight sites. This is a one way trail, so shuttling is required – the Reservations Manager will supply you with shuttle options.
Day 1 : Kei Mouth to Double Mouth (13,5 kms)
The trail starts at the Strandloper Ecotourism Centre at Cape Morgan in Kei Mouth where you will be met by the Trail Manager and issued with a permit. Highlights of today include walks in coastal forests, and along sandy beaches and rocky ledges.
Walking towards Morgan’s Bay, the Trail continues over fairly rough grass, boulders and sandy beaches. The awesome Morgan Bay Cliff rises out of the sea to a height of 57 metres and presents an ideal spot to observe a literal bird’s eye view of sea birds and, if you’re lucky, bottlenose dolphins. While today’s walk is relatively short, the crossing over the headland is quite challenging and there are plenty of opportunities to fish, collect shells and to wander and wonder!
Overnight site: Hikers’ Cabin, Double Mouth Nature Reserve
Day 2 : Double Mouth to Haga Haga (9kms)
Round the headland to the Quko estuary, the trail makes its way to the famous Treasure or Bead Beach. After passing Black Rock (the graveyard of many ships) and a beautiful shell beach, hike to the village of Haga Haga.
Delicious pub lunches are available at the Haga Haga Hotel and shops allow one to stock up on supplies.
Overnight site: Haga Haga Hotel. Two en-suite rooms have been made available by the owners Neil and Sandy Chemaly, and named Dog Box 1 and Dog Box 2
Day 3 : Haga Haga to Beacon Valley (23kms)
Today’s walk covers 8 kilometres of rocky ledges with intermittent shingle beaches and then 15 kilometres of beach backed by sand dunes –you will walk past four beautiful estuaries, all of which may or may not be open to the sea. High dunes are the Strandloper middens, indicating the presence of hunter gatherers (Khoi or Gonaqua) who visited the coast to harvest mussels and other shellfish over 400 years ago. Other highlights include bird watching sites, fishing spots and swimming beaches.
Overnight site: Settlers Cottage, Beacon Valley
Day 4 : Beacon Valley to Gonubie (15kms)
Most of today’s walk is along rocky coastline with narrow intertidal beaches. The hamlets of Glen Muir, Queensberry Bay and Glen Eden are tucked away en-route to Glengariff. This area offers safe bathing and wonderful surfing. After passing the Bulugha River, a grass track leads to a sandy beach before the mouth of the Kwelegha River.
After a bumpy shuffle with Gonubie in sight, the river mouth beckons and a last swim brings you home!