Garden Route Coastal Meander – Slackpacking with a Youthful Attitude

This week we hosted an incredible group on our flagship 5 day slackpacking Garden Route Coastal Meander between Wilderness and Brenton on Sea.

Don’t let the Old Man in.

What made the group incredible was their average age of 77 years with the oldest guest at a spritely 85 years old. Undaunted by the terrain and the daily stages, they completed the 51.5km hiking and 13km of canoeing with ease.

As trail hosts, it was a privilege for Amanda and I to host such inspiring guests whose approach to life is to think young and make the most of life, and more importantly, to not ‘Let the Old Man In’.

Day 1

The trail starts off with a 3km canoe trip up the Touw River.
Paddling through the riverine forest
After the 3km paddle, the route transitions to a 2.5km forest hike to the waterfall.
The turn around point for the first day is at the waterfall which is an ideal location for a lunch break.
The Touw River waterfall is a tranquil feature that the Giant Kingfisher Trail leads to and is ideal for a lunch break and swimming in summer.
The forest trail is ideal for birding, but is a perfect opportunity to seek out a wide range of invertebrates along the trail.
The forest trail is easy to access on the well laid out boardwalk to the waterfall.
The final stage of the first day is a return paddle.

Day 2

The second day is a moderate 16km beach hike from Kleinkrans to Myoli Beach.
The freedom along the beach
Lunch break between the ocean and fossil dune cliffs

Day 3

The third day is a moderate 16km beach and dune stage from Myoli to the Goukamma River
Each trail is different as section of beach sand wash away and leave tracts of exposed boulders that need to be traversed carefully.
Eating lunch beneath an outcrop with a Strandloper midden that began approximately 700 years ago imparts a sense of continuity with our ancestral origins that foraged along this section of the landscape for 164000 years.
Section of beach are precarious to hike as the tide pushed in. On the third day we had to leave the beach up a steep fisherman’s pathway at Oysterbeds as the tide crashed on the rocky shelf to the east.
Following the 2017 wildfires that swept through the Garden Route and decimated the vegetation in the Goukamma Nature Reserve, seeing the current regrowth offers incite into the role of fire in coastal fynbos.

Day 4

The 4th day is started with a birding canoe trip up the Goukamma River with the opportunity to see a pair of African Fish Eagles which have nested along the river for over 45 years.
The second half of the day is a Fynbos hike discovering the diversity of of both flora and fauna found in this unique floral kingdom.

Day 5

The final stage is a 9.5km hike from the Goukamma Nature reserve to Brenton on Sea
Along the way guests reflect on their experience of the past 5 days…
…and inspired by their current achievement, begin plans for their next slackpacking trail.

Carpe Diem


Slackpacking is a multiday trail format which includes luggage logistics between overnight venues, freeing up hikers to carry only a day pack with food and protective gear on the daily stages of the trail.

South Africa has numerous trail formats for hiking enthusiasts that cater for the full spectrum of experience, and is particularly endowed with a wide selection of salckpacking trails, particularly coastal trail, but also includes a wide choice of inland trail options. Read More

Read More on slackpacking options

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