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The Crayfish Trail

Lamberts Bay, South Africa
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About The Crayfish Trail
Explore South Africa’s beautiful West Coast! What would visiting Cape Town be without a road trip? We offer a series of overnight slackpacking trips which showcases the very best of SA's West Coast. There are few places in the world where one can experience mountains, rivers, wetlands, long beaches and snow white dunes on the same day of hiking. The trail covers the area between Elands Bay and Papendorp (the Olifants River mouth). Our trips include food, accommodation, a local guide as well as transport of luggage. 'Slackpacking' is the name given to hiking without the burden of a heavy backpack. We transport your luggage to your accommodation. All you need is a daypack and camera! We offer a range of different trips, from 3 Day Trails to the full 6 Day Trail. Our trips are suitable for the whole family. Distances average around 16 km per day. Highlights include: Local food & wine; insiders knowledge of the area; pristine and protected natural landscapes; rock art; birding
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The Crayfish Trail
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NMB257 wrote a review Feb 2020
Leatherhead, United Kingdom107 contributions52 helpful votes
We are frequent visitors to South Africa but hadn't previously experienced the West Coast. This is a great way of exploring this less visited part of the country - we booked the 3 night/3 day hike, starting in Elaands Bay and finishing at Doring Bay. We were met at check in on the first afternoon at Vensterklip by Chester, our guide, and our driver, and taken out to Baboon Point for sundowners after visiting the hand-paintings in a cave overlooking the sea. As the hotel restaurant was closed on Monday nights the hotel chef cooked 2 excellent steaks and served them to us in our bedroom - great room service! The following day started with a large breakfast and an excellent packed lunch was prepared for us - we then were driven to the trail on the beach at Elaands Bay, and had a fantastic 19km walk along the deserted beach. Be warned - take lots of water and suncream, there is nowhere on this stretch of coast to refill water bottles. We arrived, a little footsore, at Steenbokfontein farmhouse to be met by home made muffins and tea, enormously welcome! After a quick shower we were taken by tractor up to visit some stunning cave paintings, a definite plus on this trail, before being returned to the farmhouse for a massive, simple farmhouse dinner and plenty of stories of the history of the family who have owned the farm since it was built. BE WARNED - the restaurant has no licence for alcohol, so if you want wine or beer with your meal you need to buy it in advance and bring it with you. We slept well after all that fresh air and farmhouse cooking, and set off the next morning to walk into Lambert's Bay, a short 9km hike. We did spot seals and dolphins on this leg, and after a simple lunch overlooking the harbour we visited Bird Island, which was a highlight of the trail. Surrounded by thousands of gannets as well as countless tern and cormorants, was like being on the set of a natural history documentary. Dinner that evening was preceded by a wine pairing tasting - fascinating. Our 3rd day of walking was very different, more cliffs than beach, with wonderful views - and a fascinating chat with a local kelp collector. After another wine tasting and an abalone lunch, we reluctantly were returned to our starting point to collect our car and say our farewells. We would recommend this trail to anyone - it is more simply provided for than others we have been on in South Africa, the guiding is enthusiastic, and perhaps more insightful about the life of a fisherman on the West Coast (which is what Chester does when he isn't guiding) than about the history or geology of the countryside we were walking in. We would also suggest that the briefing by the guide on day 1 is comprehensive in terms of hike schedule, particularly if there have been changes made to the schedule compared to what has been advised by the Cape Town office. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that an additional morning of walking had been arranged on our final day which was news to us as we had been told our final morning would involve a visit to Bird Island, lunch and return to the car. This was far better. Also, suggest the trail organisers provide the guides with a pair of binoculars - we had to lend ours to Chester to help identify birds on the trail.
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Date of experience: January 2020
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JulieR12345 wrote a review Nov 2019
Johannesburg, South Africa40 contributions3 helpful votes
What a beautiful part of the country and the experience was made all the more wonderful by our lovely guides Johnny and Chester. They introduced us to a taste of the West Coast with its delicious food, friendly people, marine wildlife and stunning scenery! We did the Northern 3-day hike which was very manageable although first day was 18km. A well-organised hike and such fun for a group of friends to discover a special part of the country.
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Date of experience: October 2019
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610sallyj wrote a review Nov 2019
40 contributions28 helpful votes
A group of 12 ladies did the Crayfish 2 day trail. We had a fantastic time. The walk was so beautiful along a coast line we would probably not get to visit. Johnny and Chester were brilliant guides - so friendly and knowledgable. The accommodation was quaint but clean and comfortable with lovely characters running the establishments. I would highly recommend the Crayfish trail. The only cautionary bit of advice would be to not use the local transport guy for the Cape Town airport pick up. He was fine for the trips locally but rather get someone else for the longer drives. A wonderful trail and would love to be back to do it again.
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Date of experience: October 2019
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Inspire597463 wrote a review Sep 2019
1 contribution2 helpful votes
Compared to the Chokka Trail, the Crayfish Trail is left wanting: we did the three day hike (but no hiking happens on Day 1 or the last day.) We started at Rocherpan an upon our arrival we were surprised to find no coffee, tea, milk or anything in our eco chalet. Rocherpan is next to the N7 so the traffic noise is audible. We were expected to buy our own water for the hike (water has been included in abundance and free of charge in all of the slackpacking trails that we have done over the past years). Our guide was inexperienced and a poor communicator. He was not a good leader who inspired confidence at all. he would put in his earphones and hike and chase us along. My friends found his pace too fast on the first day: he strided ahead with a fit fellow hiker. We all know that the first rule of hiking is that the leader stays at the back with the slowest in the group. He did not carry extra water at any time. On the second day of hiking, it was extremely hot and some of our party were dehydrated (including the guide) yet there was not extra water for them. The second rule of hiking is: never break up the group. Two people were far in front and the rest decided to stop hiking as they were dehydrated. The two in the front did not know where the others had disappeared to. They did not have the "guide's" contact number and vice versa. When the transport fetched us, we were given a bottle of water, which we later were expected to pay for! The second night at Vensterklip was a highlight with the lovely hostess, Jane, making sure all of our needs were met, however, once again, after dinner, we were told that we had to pay for our own desserts. The second night, we were told that we would have sundowners at some Bushman paintings. We were never asked what we would like to drink and a bottle of sweet white wine was offered and a bottle of red but the bottle opener was left behind so some people had nothing to drink. Some of our party asked whether we could have Savannahs and we were told that we could but that we would have to pay for them. On the third night we were told that we were going to eat at Muisbosskerm but only 5 minutes before leaving for the restaurant, did our guide inform us that we would have to pay in R120 per head as the trail would only cover R180. We were not given an option of where we could eat as some of our party do not eat shell fish. The last day not hiking took place, we went to see some gannets and the museum was closed in Lambertsbay. For R5000, I felt ripped off. It felt that we had to pay in money at every possible opportunity. I feel that they either need to make the trail more expensive or find more affordable places to eat - which are all inclusive. Water needs to be a given on any hike. The Chokka Trail is cheaper, the owners are attentive and present and you get far more for your money. The Dolphin Trail is the ultimate if I have to compare what you get for your money. Not once did I EVER feel taken advantage of on any of the other two hikes mentioned - on the contrary.
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Date of experience: September 2019
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Terry157 wrote a review Sep 2019
St. Helena Bay, South Africa74 contributions15 helpful votes
We did the five day trail from Rocher Pan to Lamberts Bay - three couples in all together with our entertaining and extremely knowledgeable guide, Chester. I cannot recommend this trip highly enough - it is about so much more than hiking along pristine and beautiful beaches. It is also a cultural, culinary and viticultural experience. From the farmhouses where you stay, to the sundowners in the caves, to the tractor trip to archaeological sites, to wine tasting with a very interesting twist, to the absolutely mind-blowing food, there is something for everyone. If you can only do one trail in the West Coast, make it this one. You won't be disappointed! Just one word of warning - if you expect to return several pounds lighter from all the exercise, you won't! The food is much too good and we all gained weight.
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Date of experience: September 2019
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