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 rough rocky areas, boulders, loose sand, footpaths and hard sand. The first day’s hike is long and quite demanding. Hikers up to age 70 (if fit and in good shape) should be able to handle the first day. 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 during all seasons. It can be rather windy in spring and summer. Spring is a good time to hike the trail, with lots of flowers and the whales being active close to the shore. But sometimes 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 mid June to early September, as well as during the December and January 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, 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 or boots
- Good hiking socks
- Comfortable hiking clothes and a good rain jacket
- Swimming costume and towel
- Walking stick, if you prefer to use one (recommended for the first day)
- Binoculars for keen birders
- 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
- A day pack to carry all your neccessities
- Good, comfortable hiking/trail running shoes or boots
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. We also have an agreement with the NSRI to assist with rescues via the sea along the remote parts of the coast.
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 not available at the overnight spots.
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. Your shoulder muscles will be tested, but anyone can actually do it.
9. Can I buy alcoholic drinks during dinners?
Only during one of the dinners at a restaurant. There is a liquor store within walking distance of the accommodation in Jongensfontein, but in Stilbaai it is a bit further away. The accommodation establishments are not licensed. You can bring your own drinks, or you can buy at the liquor stores.
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 arrive in Stilbaai, or Jongensfontein (where you sleep the night before the hike starts) before 18:00 on the day before the hike starts. 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 and registered tourist 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. 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 R3 200 per person (2021 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.