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The Black Oyster Trail

2 - 4 Night Slackpacking Trail on the Garden Route, Mossel Bay

Marvel at surfing dolphins, frolicking seals and black oystercatchers on this 4 day hike along the green and gold Mossel Bay coastline on the Western Cape's Garden Route.

Explore stone-age caves at Pinnacle Point (a Provincial Heritage site) and meander along cliff tops, sea front caves and sandy shores. The diverse terrain of fynbos, rocky shores and expansive sand dunes provide a varied hike experience by day, whilst starry nights and the moon rising over the ocean, provide a romantic backdrop to your seafood dinner.

This 4 day professionally guided trail goes from St Blaize cave, Mossel Bay to the Gourits River. Accommodation is in quality lodges and quaint thatched cottages. Each day has its own surprise pleasures, and provides a top quality educational experience in the classroom of nature.


Trip Duration 3 Hike Days/ 4 Nights 
Chose between catered or self-catered option
Daily Distances Day 1:15km/ 5-6hr (Sea front cliff tops) 
Day 2:13km / 4 - 6hr (at sea level) 
Day 3:21km (At sea level)
Trail Grading  HOSA /VOSA registered Green Flag Trail
Physical Fitness Grade 3/5 Moderate to good walking fitness is required. Average of 6hrs hiking / a day.
Technicality Grade 1/5 –No real technical requirements or difficulties. Oldest person to complete has been 83yrs, and youngest 6yrs.
Trail Terrain The trail starts and ends at sea level. Terrain differs every day., from footpaths along cliff tops to beaches and rocky shores.
Accommodation Quality guesthouses or characteristic cottages on all nights (4-Star grade). Meals are prepared by local cooks in the traditional Cape style
Logistic Support This is a fully catered, guided and luggage supported trail, with overnights in 4-star quality establishments, and top-notch meals.  All rooms are private and en-suite, with bedding & towels provided. You need only bring your clothes and camera. Catering on Day 1 is esteemed restaurant cuisine, whilst on days 2 -4, groups can enjoy traditional Cape home cooking. Extra transfers offered to/from George & Mossel Bay airports.
Tour Highlights This trail provides quality guiding to ensure the hiker enjoys an enriched ecological encounter with marine species, dynamic dunes, rare plants and a wide variety of birds, mammals and marine life.

Every day has it`s own highlights. Starting off at the historical Khoi-San cave at Cape St Blaize, there is the option of exploring Tunnel Cave where the Indian ocean waters crash and roar. At Pinnacle Point, an optional experience is the POHO (Point of Human Origin) presentation by Dr Peter Nilssen with a guided tour of the famous 13 series middle stone age  caves.

Hike day 2 boasts endless stretches of golden beach, more stone age middens and swimming at Blind River Lagoon. There is also plenty opportunity to see & photograph the Oystercatcher’s and their nests – the beautiful endangered bird after which this trail is named.

Hike Day 3 and 4 offers more rocky shores and fascinating tidal life that frequent these pools. There is good opportunity to swim and snorkel, whilst at Kanon beach the massive sand dunes, beckon you to climb them.  A boat trip across the Gouritz river, rounds the experience.
Other Activities Educational experience, birding, squash, tennis, whale and dolphin watching, swimming, body surfing.
Fauna & Flora From fynbos to coastal thicket and valley bushveld. You will see many sea shore birds, and of course the magnificent African Black Oystercatcher, with it`s peculiar breeding habits. This is also the domain of the aloe. In May and June the landscape is a colourful collage of orange and red. July to October is whale watching time from the shore. Dolphins all year round. Plenty of small antelope species incl. grysbok and bush buck.
Climate This part of the coastline has its own micro climate. It is considered to be one of the best all year round mild holiday climates in the world. In winter the nights are cooler. Rainfall is low all year round.
Seasonality & Best Time Year Any time of year is good. The winters have the wild flowers and the whales. In summer you can enjoy better swimming weather. No hikes run between 10 Dec - 10 Jan due to school holidays.
Group Size Preferred minimum of 6 - preferred maximum of 15 hikers. With more than 12 people, an extra guide is recommended.
Price / PP Price dependent on Package choice & group but indicative costing:

Catered Package: R7450/ pps. (min 4 pax)
4 Nights/ 5 days & 3 hike days. Fully catered, guided slackpacking trail with luggage transfers and 4 nights guesthouse accommodation

'Green' self-catered Package: from R6200/pps. (min 4 pax) 
Same 4 nights & 3 hike days. Incl accommodation, guide fees, luggage transported. Difference is you will self-cater. No meals incl.

Price Includes
  • 4 Nights Accommodation in 4-Star guesthouses & cottages.
  • All meals - 4 dinners, 3 packed lunches, one beach lunch, 4 breakfasts
  • Local Hiking Guide for 3 days
  • Daily Luggage transfers between guesthouses.
  • Dietary requirements catered for

The endangered Black Oystercatchers can be seen in their breeding pairs along this stretch of coastline
Overnight in quaint Cape Dutch style cottages