General, Photography, Travel, Walking

South Africa 2008 – Day 9 Otter Trail last day

Day 5 should be a nice, easy 6km back to the beach at Nature’s Valley where we had been strolling less than a week earlier. It felt like we had been gone for months and now it was almost over! We were all somewhat reluctant to leave (except Heike who set off early in order to get to civilisation in time to watch Germany get beaten in the European Cup final) so we spent a while monkeying about climbing on rocks and taking photos. The weather was lovely and clear and for the first time in a while I found myself having to use sunscreen.

Surprise, surprise, there was a significant amount of up and down and some really steep steps in the first section of the day. this was really hard for all of us with our muscles and joints aching from the last four days.  Most of the ascent was in one go which did not provide much opportunity for resting.  However, it did mean that once we were on the flat we were free to enjoy ourselves. We were soon on a nice flat cliff top which provided a nice gentle stroll with excellent views back along the whole of the Otter Trail. We took our time along here, stopping frequently to mess about and to take silly pictures. All too soon we were at the gate which is supposed to stop curious people from Nature’s Valley wandering the wrong way down the trail. There should have been a ranger here to check our exit pass but it was a Sunday so there was no one there. We took advantage of the fact that there was no warden to make the forbidden crossing back onto the Otter Trail.

Although this is the official end of the Otter Trail, there is still a significant climb down to the beach and then a couple more kilometres to reach the pub which is the traditional unofficial end point. We stopped for a while to mess about on the beach and cool our feet in the sea. The final trek to the pub was possibly the hardest part as psychologically we had made it but physically we had to keep going.

Was really great to finally get to the pub and put down our packs for the penultimate time. Had a couple of drinks and a nice meal before heading back to the house for a rest. By rest of course I mean unpack and do a shed load of washing, play some games and head out to a restaurant for dinner.

The restaurant Helen has booked (Emily Moon) is quite difficult to find in the dark and there is also a massive detour through a polo estate! The place itself appeared to be very posh and we weren’t sure we would be allowed in in our dishevelled state. However everyone was very friendly and the food was excellent. Between us we had everything on the menu! Louise had managed to secure a cake for Helen’s birthday (actually not until the 1st) and the staff made a fuss of bringing it out, much to Helen’s surprise.

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