Dave’s interest in the outdoors started way back in his Boy Scout years. Later he joined the Border Outdoor Adventure Association and the hiking club for East London’s families and singles. He became a Committee member and advises landowners on trail development.
Meeting like-minded hikers, he led hikes around South Africa and backpacked through Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar, Tanzania, Ethiopia and the Congo (Congo River Adventure). He also visited the gorillas in Uganda and climbed the ‘Mountain Of The Moon’.
He was invited to join the award winning Strandloper Eco Tourism Board in 1999, as Projects Director and Deputy Chair.
Having moved from East London to Kleinemonde in January 2008 he saw the opportunity to start a canoe trail on the Kleinemonde West River. The canoe trail was established in October 2008. Knowing that hikers are always looking for new hiking trails along the coast, with the help of Brendan Walker, he approached the landowners with the idea of a coastal trail. With the landowners on board, the first group of seven hikers started on 22 December 2009. Each landowner has a unique hut and setting which makes this a very interesting coastal and inland trail.
There are three hiking trail options available:
Port Alfred to Fish River:
Hike from Port Alfred East Beach all the way up the coast to Fish River. (excluding the canoe trail). Five days and four nights – approximately 57km;
Port Alfred to Fish River:
Hike from Port Alfred East Beach all the way up the coast to Fish River with an extra night excursion where you canoe approximately 8km up the Kleinemonde West River and spend the night at Lily Pad hut. Six days and five nights – approximately 65km hike and 16km canoe (return).
There is a slack-packing option available for Options 1 and 2. All your gear and food will be dropped off at each hut every day, so that you can walk with day packs.
Kleinemonde West River Canoe Trail:
Start at the Kleinemonde West River mouth and canoe approximately 8km up the river. Hike 3km into Nyala Game Reserve (no dangerous game) and spend the night at the Lily Pad hut. Two days and one night. Approximately 8km hike and 16km canoe (return).
A portage service at R250.00 per group return on the canoe Option 3 is available, if requested.
All our trails are ‘self-guided’. Please make sure that you come prepared with all your own food, beverages, toiletries, utensils, torches, matches and sleeping bags.
All huts have drinking water, toilets and mattresses. Lily Pad has a donkey-boiler for hot water for the shower (wood supplied). There are cold water showers at Rufane Hut and Treehouse. You will have a bucket-wash at Three Sisters Hut. Stone Cottage is very comfortable and fully contained. It is the only accommodation with electricity.
Firewood is supplied free of charge at all huts, except the Lily Pad Hut.
Pre- and Post Trail Accommodation:
If you need accommodation before and after the trail, most hikers contact Paradise Bush Backpackers (Paradysbos). There is camping, backpackers accommodation and a 3-sleeper flat on the farm, plus a shuttle service to the start and end of the trail. This will all be an extra cost, and must be booked and paid directly to the owner, Mr Izak Scheepers. Your vehicles can remain on the farm while you hike.