The Whale Trail Day 3: Noetsie to Hamerkop

Upon reaching Noetsie most of us dumped our bags in one of the huts and went to go and sit in the shade of the outdoor braai area overlooking the bay. There were two reasons for this. Due to the wood and glass construction of the huts combined with the sweltering sun they felt like ovens on the inside. The other, more compelling, reason was that the view was absolutely stunning.

The Noetsie huts themselves are great. The glass allows you to fall asleep looking out at the waves crashing into the rocky shore. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the electricity to work, so we had no light yet again. This wasn’t too big of a deal as we spent most of our time outside anyway.

Since the third day of hiking looked to be quite flat with a short distance of only 7km we decided to have a leisurely start to the day and enjoy breakfast while drinking in as much of the view as we could. After the harsh sun of the day before we were relieved to see that some clouds had rolled in overnight and it was actually quite overcast.

The hike starts with retracing your steps up to the top of that rather steep cliff off in the distance in the picture above. This isn’t easy as the rocks are awkwardly spaced and rather slippery. Thankfully we made it to the top before the rain started pouring down. This was a welcome change from the sun and very refreshing. After a bit of walking the path starts edging closer to the cliff face and starts offering an unparalleled view of the cliff face jutting out toward the ocean.

On these narrow and tricky rock ledges the rain proved to be a bit of a hindrance. I slipped a couple of time on some of the descents, but luckily managed to recover before slipping too far. Be really careful on these rocks, especially if they’re wet. Part of the reason I kept slipping was because I couldn’t help myself from staring at the amazing scenes in front of me. One of the group mentioned that this stretch of the hike was the most picturesque bit of land he had ever seen. I have to agree, it is such a shame that pictures really doesn’t do it justice at all.

We had to work quite a bit more than we expected to for these great views though. As mentioned before the elevation chart for Day 3 looked rather flat but just because it doesn’t have any major peaks, don’t be fooled! There were lots more smaller ascents and descents on this trail than we expected. Because of this unanticipated effort coupled with the fact that we were making good pace, we decided to stop and have some tea after the rain had cleared.

 Our tea time view Our tea time view

Reinvigorated by the warm beverages, we set off again. Not too long after tea we came across Stilgat. Stilgat is a collection of rock pools that is a popular swimming and snorkeling spot. This roughly marked that we had passed half the distance required for the day. Unfortunately the Stilgat pools were closed for maintenance, so we didn’t get to explore around.

Around this point we started noticing some rather cool caves in the cliffs. Some even went all the way through, so you could see the ocean on the other side.

Another thing to keep an eye out for on this hike is the wildlife. We spotted quite a few of the shy African Oystercatchers.

We also came across this colony of dassies that had a bunch of sentries that were watching us intently.

Eventually the path started slowly descending until we rounded a corner and saw that we had reached the beach!

Once we got away from the cliffs completely it was only a short walk on the beach sand before we spotted the Hamerkop hut nestled in the trees on the right.

The third hike was a fairly easy hike with only around 3 to 4 hours of hiking. The budgeted time of around 6 hours is what we actually took to reach our destination since we couldn’t help but stop very frequently to admire the breathtaking views along the way. This one should definitely not be rushed, and might just be my favourite hike that I’ve ever done.

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