The Alikreukel Trail runs along a beautiful stretch of coast with wild rocky shores, lonely beaches, fynbos-covered coastal dunes, caves, amazing sea life and intriguing cultural heritage. As a variation to the hiking theme, there is also a paddle on the breathtaking Goukou River.
Authentic experiences during the hike:
• Listen to a talk by an expert on the excavations that were done in the Blombos Cave
• Learn more about inter-tidal sea life and fascinating facts about the octopus – also see it in its’ natural environment
• See what the semi-petrified sand dunes, formed during the last ice age, reveals about local conditions back then
• Taste a variety of olive products and become olive-wise on an olive farm
• Learn about the importance of the Alikreukel (giant periwinkle) during early inhabitation
• Taste the alikreukel shellfish in a starter to one of your meals
DAY 1: “Once upon a cave”, Distance: 17 km; Grading: somewhat difficult, with loose sand and rough rocky terrain in places
Hike from Blombos private hamlet to Jongensfontein, a beautiful and peaceful seaside village, past the impressive Blombos Arch and lovely places like Skurwebaai, Pletsenbaai and Heuningnesbaai.
- See the beautiful coastal area where stone-age people dwelled more than 70 000 years ago, with explanations on how these people lived
- See ancient shell middens with hundreds of alikreukel shells and other food-providing shell remains
- Get fascinating information on what the landscape looked like when these people lived in the area
- Good vantage points to spot whales and dolphins beyond the huge waves of this area
- Nice and safe places to swim during the warm season
- Overnight in Jongensfontein again
DAY 2: “Whales and walls”, Distance: 12 km; Grading: easy to average
Hike from Jongensfontein to Stilbaai, past scenic places like Jongensgat Cave, Noordkapper Point, the ancient fish traps and Skulpiesbaai Nature Reserve.
- Scenic coastline with a variety of natural and cultural features
- Whale and dolphin vantage points
- Learn more about the sea life of the area
- See the ancient fish traps (a National Heritage Site), built with stones by Khoikhoi people more than 2000 years ago, and get interesting information on it
- Walk through a milkwood tree forest
- Enjoy the best view of Stilbaai, before retiring to the Sea Coral & Lieflappie Guest House
DAY 3: “Up the River”, Distance: 4 km walking & 4 km paddling in a kayak: Grading: easy walking; rather easy paddling
Walk to the Stilbaai Museum to view the Blombos Cave exhibition, get transported to the Goukou River, paddle in kayaks for about an hour-and-a-half, visit an olive farm with a tasting and lunch, then get transported back to the Sea Coral & Lieflappie Guest Houses.
- Walk past the famous Stilbaai stilt beach houses and Goukou River mouth
- View the excellent display on the excavations done at the Blombos Cave and listen to an informative talk by an expert on this important archaeological site
- Paddle in a very stable kayak up the most scenic part of the Goukou River
- Have an olive tasting, informative talk and lunch at Kransfontein, a productive olive farm
- Enjoy some free time in Stilbaai during the afternoon
DAY 4: “The sands of time”, Distance: 11 or 16 km (group decision); Grading: easy to average
Hike on the eastern side of Stilbaai from the Preekstoel towards Geelkrans (and further to Rooikrans, if desired). It is a there-and-back walk, allowing for earlier or later departures.
This is a beach walk with fascinating scenery and formations, totally different from the first two days.
- Semi-petrified dunes, eroded into cliffs with fascinating textures and shapes
- Aeolianite formations dating from the last ice-age, with explanations of its’ origin
- Interesting eroded stones and pieces of shells that you will want to take home
- More fish traps built by the early inhabitants
- A really pristine and lonely stretch of coast – you will love this walk
What should I take along?
You need a day pack to carry your food and drinks for the day, as well as other essential items like a windbreaker, rain jacket, sun hat, sunblock, personal medication and a water container. A lunch pack with snacks and fruit juice will be supplied, as well as purified water.
We recommend the following items for the trip:
◦ Good, comfortable hiking/trail running shoes, and old tekkies/aqua shoes (for the kayaking)
◦ Good hiking socks
◦ Comfortable hiking clothes and a good rain jacket
◦ Swimming costume and towel
◦ Snorkel and goggles (if you like snorkeling)
◦ Walking stick, if you prefer it. Recommended for the first day
◦ Sun hat, sunblock and sunglasses
◦ Camera/ cell phone
◦ Warm, comfortable clothing and shoes for the evenings
◦ Personal items like toiletries (and a hair drier if needed)
◦ Personal medication
◦ Water container(s). Purified water will be available at your overnight places
Note: All your kit needs to fit inside a 110 liter portage box (60 x 40 x 40 cm)