Get your ducts in a row

Remember tape for all seasons, substitute sleeping bags, pancake paradise

An African black oystercatcher at the east end of Bosbokstrand
BIRD MARKS THE SPOT: An African black oystercatcher at the east end of Bosbokstrand

When we were organising our Strandloper Hiking Trail (084 034 0247/, the first thing we needed to establish was where at the end point we could safely leave our car.

Strandloper’s normal partner hotel had closed because of the Covid lockdown regulations and several other establishments I tried had similarly buckled under.

But then Bluewaters Hotel in Gonubie (043-740-5532 or 079-506-1074) saved the day.

Manageress Chantel Schwedhelm called me back and said though they were partially closed there would be someone at reception and we could use their gated carpark. 

We got picked up from the Bluewaters and shuttled through to Kei Mouth by Great Kei Adventures (082- 825-0624).

Besides their shuttle service, Great Kei’s staple is fishing and kayaking excursions.

With a little time to spare before our shuttle arrived, we dropped in at Gonubie’s Pancake Palace (043- 740-5273) for a sumptuous snack.

We did the trail in mid-January and although there was quite a bit of rain around it was very hot.

In this regard, Strandloper manager Bryan Church suggested taking just duvet covers instead of sleeping bags and that proved excellent advice.

Besides cooling things down at night it also meant more space for other necessities including food, cookpot, crockery and cutlery all of which we had to fit into our rucksacks.

Having lost a trusty old raincoat a few weeks before, I had bought my son and I a poncho each and they were not great purchases.

The cheap plastic they were made of left us sweltering even in the drizzle — and the one (we discovered as the heavens opened) only had one armhole.

A moment of laxity on the Xiamen factory floor or inspired equity (a poncho for one arm man)? We will never know. But check those purchases before you pack them.

Other contact numbers include for The Haga Haga Hotel (043) 841 1670, Double Mouth Camp and Caravan Site (043) 705 4400, The Village Bistro in Cintsa East (043) 738-5026.

To quote Oscar Willemsen, if duct tape doesn’t fix it, you’re not using enough. Next time I’ll definitely take along a roll.

The Rider of Lost Creek is an audio story book from the original western by Louis L’Amour. It was great for the car journey and even on occasion on the trail.


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