Today I went to Tsitsikamma national park. There is no consistent public transport to the park, so I hitchhiked. It is almost 10km on the N2 to Tsitsikamma road from where I was staying in storms river village, then another 6km on that road to the park entrance. From the entrance, it is about 4km down to the main area of the park. After waiting about a half hour, I got a ride from an Argentine fellow headed towards Cape Town for the match tomorrow. I was wearing my Argentina shirt underneath my sweatshirt, he must have gotten the vibes somehow. He was very nice and even drove me the 6km back to the park entrance. The ranger at the entrance was very kind, he allowed me to store my large backpack in the ranger station, and I continued with my daypack. I walked the 3km you are allowed to walk on the otter trail without a permit. This whole area is very beautiful. There is a mountain range about 20km from the coast, so the coast is still hilly. Because of this, there are many canyons, crevasses and waterfalls the mountain streams ude to get to the ocean. They are all very small because of how close the ocean is to the mountain range. So there is a waterfall on the otter trail that is the turn around point. It was a nice walk, very challenging as well, lots of rock scrambling (traversing fields of rocks) and steep trail.
Next was the mouth of storm river. I will get the pictures up as soon as I can. I was at the highway bridge over storms river yesterday…..it is a massive drop with very little width. You can barely see the river. So today I saw where it met the ocean. There are suspension bridges that allow you to walk out over the water and look back into the canyon. Then from the mouth there is a trail that climbs very quickly to ridge above. When I got back down I rested for a bit as I watched the waves slam against the rocks. It is rocky all along the coast. I never want to go to the beach again, this is much better. The waves swell magnificently over the rocks just underneath the water, then crash against the rocks out of the water, spraying water in all directions. If you need to swim, there are fresh water and salt water swimming holes of all shapes and sizes. The whole sand thing is lame. This was a really lazy description of the scenery I saw today, it would be a way too much writing to possibly give it justice, the park probably has a website if anyone wants to see good pictures, I don’t think I captured it very well.
After the mouth I had to get to the entrance, then back to the N2, then find a place to stay. There was a trail that cut over a hill in the direction of the ranger station. I’m not sure if I saved any distance taking it, but it was a more interesting walk through some nice forest. I had close to 2km left on the road when I came out. I got to the entrance at 4pm, grabbed my pack and asked if there was any way to get to a town to the west. They had no ideas. I wanted to keep heading towards Cape Town, and get to a place where I could catch a taxi in the morning. I started walking the 6km towards the N2 with my thumb out. I must have walked at least half of it before an Australian lad driving with his South African girlfriend picked me up. They were unfortunately heading back east to Storms river village, so I hopped out at the N2 and hoped for the best. I enjoyed standing beside the road for a bout the first half hour, but as the sun was fading out of sight I started growing thinking of other schemes. I decided at 5:30 I would change my scheme to head back to SRV, I would be easier to get a ride there. But at 5:25 a car stopped and grabbed me. They were from Brazil, it was truly gracious of them to stop, I wasn’t wearing my sweatshirt leaving my Argentina shirt visible. They hadn’t actually noticed I was wearing an Argentina jersey until I got in the car. Lucky me. They were headed to Plettensburg Bay, the next major town. They let me use their use phone to arrange a hostel and they dropped me there. It’s been a long day, I think I walked over 20km. I coulda done the otter trail in 2.5 days. Regardless, I’m in PB for the night, we’ll see where I end up tomorrow.