Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Whale Trail

The De Hoop Nature Reserve, located about 60km south of Swellendam in the Western Cape, has got to be one of most beautiful in the country. And that’s saying something! SA has a lot of very good ones.

I recently joined friends and family and took on a journey through the area using the recommended vehicle, ones feet. The Whale Trail is a 60km hike that takes you from hut to hut on a roughly circular route through the picture perfect landscape of the park. The accommodation along the way is not 5 star but is way more comfortable than I expected. There were always hot showers and most had indoor and outdoor braai (BBQ) areas. The kitchen had all the crockery and cutlery you’d need and the bunk beds were fine. The best thing about the walk is the way it’s organised. If you pay a little extra you can have your luggage transported for you, and this comes in very handy when you’re taking cooler boxes and wine. The huts are cleaned every day and at the end of the trail, at Koppie Aleen, there’s a shuttle bus that takes you back to your vehicle at Potberg, where the walk started.

After climbing the Potberg Mountain, first thing on day 1, you meander along a ridge dominated by the colour of fynbos and proteas, with views over the Breede River Valley and the ocean in the distance. By early afternoon on day 2, you finally reach the sea as you drop down into the rocky cove of Noetzie, to what was my favourite overnight stop of the trip. About half an hour later a whale drifted past and greeted us with a couple of fin flaps. Day 3, 4 and 5 are spent making your way back along the beach and rocky coastline and the geographical beauty would under normal circumstances be more than enough to keep one entertained. But The Whale Trail is certainly not normal, and if you get the season right, like we did, you’ll have the added bonus of whale shows the whole way to the end. There are tidal pools to wallow in, beaches to laze on and if you’re of the birding variety you will be in your element.

As I mentioned earlier the fact that you can get your cooler box transported for you on a magic carpet is very convenient. We took wine, braai stuff and plenty of other goodies, way more than we would have been able to take if we were carting it around ourselves. We braaied most evenings and one night, to give us a bit of an energy boost, I made an easy puttanesca.

My easy camping puttanesca


- a blob of olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- chilli seasoning (to taste)
- 2 tsp dried origanum
- 2 packets of black olives
- 2 tins of capers wrapped in anchovies
- salt and pepper
- a packet of pasta
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes


- heat olive oil, add garlic and spices
- add tomato, olives and caper/anchovy mix
- season
- while this cooks slowly for around 15 mins cook the pasta
- mix all and serve hot with an extra glug of olive oil

I selected this post to be featured on Food Blogs. Please visit the site and vote for my blog!

No comments:

Post a Comment