1. How difficult is the hike?
You must be used to walking long distances and have a fair degree of fitness. While the terrain is relatively flat, the underfoot conditions range from footpaths to rocky areas, boulders, loose sand and hard sand. Good hiking shoes are obviously important.
2. When is the best time to do the trail?
The Stilbaai area has a moderate climate with no extreme temperatures. Rain can fall in all seasons. It can be rather windy in spring and summer. Spring is a good time to do the trail, with lots of flowers and the whales being active close to the shore. However, the weather can be a bit unstable during springtime. Late summer and autumn is also a good time to hike along the coast, when the weather is more stable and warmer.
The Alikreukel Trail is closed from June to August, as well as during the December holiday season.
3. What is an Alikreukel?
The Alikreukel, olly krik, giant periwinkle or giant turban are the names by which this slow-growing, herbivorous sea snail is known. It has a large, roundish shell. Alikreukels are found in the lower intertidal and subtidal zones, to a depth of 8m. They are endemic to South Africa, only being found from False Bay to the Transkei coast. Alikreukel are collected for food and bait, and has no commercial value. They are the largest growing of four Turbo species found along the coast.
4. 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, fruit juice and water will be supplied.
We recommend the following items for the trip:
- Good, comfortable hiking/trail running shoes
- Good hiking socks
- Comfortable hiking clothes and a good rain jacket
- Swimming costume and towel
- Walking stick (if you prefer to use one)
- Binoculars for keen birders (a bird book will be carried by the guide)
- Sun hat, sunblock and sunglasses
- Warm, comfortable clothing and shoes for the evenings
- Personal items like toiletries
- 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)
5. What about medical issues?
Although a First Aid kit will be carried by the guide, please ensure that you always have any special medication you might need, with you. The guide must be made aware of any pre-existing conditions prior to the hike.
6. Is there cell phone reception on the trail?
Being a sparsely developed part of our coast, cell phone reception is infrequent and vary in strength. Your overnight spots will have good reception. Wi-Fi is only available at the Stilbaai overnight spot.
7. What about special dietary requirements?
While we can make provision for special diets like vegan and gluten free, the range is limited. Should you have an unusual diet, please bring the necessary food along. But we will not let you go hungry!
8. Will I be able to do the kayak paddle without any experience?
The kayaks are very stable and easy to master. Life jackets will be supplied and you will be accompanied and assisted by a guide.
9. Can I buy alcoholic drinks during dinners?
During some of the dinners, yes. There is a liquor store close to the accommodation in Jongensfontein, but not in Stilbaai, where the Guest House is not licensed. You can bring your own drinks, or we can make a plan for you….
10. If I don’t have transport to Stilbaai, can you assist me?
Yes, we can arrange that you are picked up in Riversdal (the closest bus stop along the N2) or even from George Airport. Please contact us so we can give you the additional cost.
11. What time should I arrive in Stilbaai before the hike, and what time will I be able to leave on the last day?
Hikers should be in Stilbaai, or Jongensfontein (where you sleep the night before the hike starts) at 18:00 on the day before the hike kicks off. Hikers will be able to leave Stilbaai at about 14:00 on the last day of the hike.
12. How safe is it to hike along that part of the coast?
The South Cape coast is one of the safest places in South Africa and you have nothing to fear. After spending four days on the trail in this area, you will see what we mean.
13. Who will be our guide?
The main guide along the trail will be Derek Odendaal, a very experienced backpacker and hiking leader. He has more than 40 years of hiking experience and is a qualified hiking guide. The assistant and back-up guide is Clifton Donald, who will lead the kayak leg of the trail. He is an experienced canoeist and backpacker.
14. Is there a self-catering option available for this trail?
Yes. The condition is that you book and pay for at least 10 people. We will then take no other hikers for the same trip. You provide all your own food and arrange your own accommodation in Jongensfontein and Stilbaai (we will advise you on suitable, affordable accommodation). We offer this option at R2 800 per person (2020 price). This price will include a qualified guide all the way (with a host of information on the sea life, plant life, geology, archaeology, etc), local transport to start and ending points, assistance to move your cars from the Jongensfontein to Stilbaai accommodation, and the kayak trip on the river, with an olive tasting and lunch on the olive farm. Please enquire about this option.