Goukamma Blombos Trail
Feeling guilty because you haven't had a workout lately? Forget about the gym, just do one or more of the Goukamma Trails.
There are six trails to choose from. You just couldn't ask for more diversity: the Goukamma river, the river at Buffalo bay, extensive dune fields with some of the highest vegetated dunes in South Africa, milkwood forests, coastal fynbos, the unique Groenvlei Lake (which has no in-flowing rivers and no link to the sea, it is fed by a fresh water fountain), abundant bird life, and, the habitat supports animal species like bushbuck, bushpig monkeys, caracal, mongoose and otter. The sound track to all this is the roar of the sea along the Platbank stretch of pristine beach.
The trails are accessible from two sides. The first being from the Buffalo bay turn-off on the N2. Just follow the road for a few kilometres until you reach the gate of Cape Nature on your right by the river. The Goukamma river is crossed by pontoon, and from there you can hike the beautiful Bushpig Trail. There is also a wonderful picnic site next to the river with braai facilities, canoes for rent, ample playing space for children, and tranquil surroundings. Maps can can be obtained from the Cape nature offices further along the access road (inquire at the gate).
The second entrance to the reserve is accessed by taking the Groenvlei turn-off. Follow the green and blue Cape Nature signposts on the dirt road leading to a small parking spot at he Groenvlei Trailhead.
From here hike the Cape Clawless Otter Trail along the edge of the lake. If you are lucky you might spot an otter, otherwise you'll have to be satisfied to see their droppings, or the tunnels through the reeds where they enter the water. Beware of the reeds, they are razor sharp.
The aptly named Blombos Trail originates from this trail too and is worthwhile doing. The flora is exceptionally beautiful, and there is a wide variety. This trail takes you over the huge dune visible from the N2, from where you are rewarded with a spectacular view of the lake. Once over the top you are greeted by layer upon layer of densely vegetated dunes which are hemmed in by the sea. What a magnificent site! There are three distances to choose from being 15km, 13km and 6.5km. These are all circular routes, the longer two return via Platbank Beach and the shorter one via a jeep track. Note that if you didn't leave a car at the Platbank Beach parking you will have to walk an additional 2.5km back to the car along the access road. Doing both the Cape Clawless Otter and Blombos Trails and walking back to your car will be 20km in total, well worth it, but start early!
Be aware of the tide as some places could be impassable during high tide.
The other trails in this network are the Buffalo Bay and Bushpig Trails (both circular), and the Porcupine and Galjoen Trails (both one way, arrange transport or leave a vehicle at both ends).
There is no water along the way so take enough to eat and ample fluids, as it can become extremely hot in summer. Always take warm clothing as the weather can change suddenly and it can also become much cooler along the beach. A map can be obtained at the Goukamma offices, this map contains invaluable information for hikers. This office is the gate on the Buffalo Bay side of the nature reserve.
Come on, get moving! You'll love it...
Distances: 15km, 13km & 6.5km (excludes 2.5km from Platbank back to your car at the Blombos Trailhead for the 13km & 15km).
Difficulty: Moderate, there is one big uphill to the top of the dune.
Permits & Costs: Entrance at the Goukamma river on the buffalo Bay side, entrance fee payable at the gate.
Contact Numbers: Goukamma Offices - 044 383 0042
Monday - Friday, 7:30-16:00
Directions: Goukamma NR Entrance - Take the Buffalo bay turn-off on the N2. Just follow the road for a few kilometres until you reach the gate of Cape Nature on your right by the river.
Blombos trailhead at Groenvlei - Take the Groenvlei turn-off from the N2 just to the east of Sedgefield. Follow the green and blue Cape Nature signposts on the dirt road leading to a small parking spot at he Groenvlei Trailhead.
Coordinates: Goukamma NR Entrance: S34 04.120 E22 56.871
Blombos trailhead at Groenflei: S34 02.041 E22 50.878
Other: There are no water along the way so take enough to eat and ample fluids, as it can become extremely hot in summer.
13KB. Only Garmin GPS units supported, need BaseCamp, MapSource or Trip & Waypoint Manger to open.
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