Baviaans To Bay Hiking Trail
Our motto: Hike more, worry less…
a Hiking Holiday of up to 161km over 10 days (8 days’ Hiking) in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province
From the Mountains to the Sea, the journey the destination.
Would you like to hike from the Baviaanskloof, an UNESCO World Heritage Site to the southeastern most tip of Africa in Cape St Francis?
Baviaans to Bay is the combination of two popular hiking trails in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, the Baviaans Camino and the Chokka Trail. The Baviaans Camino is a north-south travers of the Baviaanskloof and Kouga Mountains – in fact, it is the only hiking trail where the route takes you over the majestic Baviaanskloof Mountains, continuing 95km south into the Tsitsikamma.
The coastal Chokka Trail is set out between Oyster Bay, Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay. It is far more than a hike, the 62km hike includes a visit to the working harbour of Port St Francis where hikers enjoy calamari tasting, a canal cruise on the St Francis canals, and it passes through the Coastal Cradle of Mankind, where ancient fish traps, middens, shipwrecks and an unknown Khoi grave can be found.
Arrival day (fly in to Port Elizabeth International Airport and shuttle to Willowmore), dinner and overnight in Willowmore.
Traverse the Baviaanskloof Mountains to Joachimskraal. 20km. Overnight in Joachimskraal Farmhouse.
Hike to Entkraal. 23km. Overnight Entkraal Outpost.
Hike to Nooitgedacht. 22km. Overnight Nooitgedacht Farmhouse.
Hike to Nguniland, 30km. Overnight Nguniland Guest Cottages.
Transport to Oyster Kayas. Rest day. Overnight Oyster Kayas.
Hike to Thysbaai: 20km. Overnight Oyster Kayas.
Hike the Oyster Bay Dune Bypass System to Duneridge Country House. 18km.
Hike via Mostertshoek to Cape St Francis Resort. 16km.
Hike via Port St Francis to St Francis Bay Village. 12km. Depart.
There are set dates between April and September, and group sizes are limited to 14, but they require a minimum of 12. 6 can be on horseback for the Baviaans Camino leg.
Rates are fully inclusive (accommodation, meals, transport – you only pay for your drinks). No single supplements are available, and bathrooms are shared.
What do I need: Hikers and riders must bring their own hiking/riding gear, day backpack, hiking pole, a headlamp, towels and sleeping bags with small pillow. Be prepared for extreme heat or severe cold. Make sure what you bring will fit into a medium size bag, - clothes, extra snacks (things you feel you cannot hike without) plus energy drinks (preferably powder/mixes).
Tents (if required), matrasses and chairs will be supplied. 99% of the route has no cell phone reception. The organisers will have a satellite phone for emergencies. One support vehicles will accompany groups on the Baviaans Camino. The hike is guided.
Breakfasts/brunches and dinners are cooked, and you will receive a hearty lunch pack for each day.
The accommodation for the Chokka Trail is in guest houses and a resort, so pack a separate bag for the 4 days of the Chokka Trail – you will only need a day pack and hiking pole.
Steytlerville – Joachimskraal 20km
After an early breakfast hiker will be transported to Nakop. The trail starts with a 400m climb over the first 5km, traversing the Baviaanskloof Mountain Range, followed by an 8km descent into the Kloof. Overnight accommodation is 7km further on the farm Joachimskraal in an old farmhouse.
Joachimskraal – Entkraal 23km
The trail starts through some farmland before you tackle the first short uphill for the day. Soon civilization is forgotten, and you start the traverse of the Kouga Mountain Range, with unimpeded views into the Klein Kommando and Tjandokloofs. You move from thorn trees to aloes, cycads, proteas and spekboom, and 95 bird species have been counted here.
Entkraal – Bokmakierie 22km
The trail starts off through the beautiful Kouenek Kortkloof, towards the Joubertskraal River, before you tackle the Kouenek to the highest point, a steep mountain with many false summits! Then a generous and slow reintroduction to civilization follows, as you enter the remote farming community of the Nooitgedacht area.
Nooitgedacht – Nguniland 30km
The early morning trail follows the kloofs around the Ragels River, before you tackle the Moordenaarskloof - by now nothing to fear! We continue through the Posberg Kloof (with a last few challenging hills…) to Nguniland on the outskirts of Kareedouw.
Thysbaai – Oyster Bay up to 20km
You will explore the coastline between Thysbaai and Oyster Bay. At Thysfontein, a little beach with a holiday cottage, you might find spoor of the cape clawless otter. The trail continues past a rock gully, where if it is low tide, you can see circular rock walls in the water – it is ancient Koi-San fish traps, more than 2 000 years old.
Oyster Bay – Dune Ridge 18km
You will traverse the dunes of the Sand River – a mobile dune field mobilised by wind and water. It changes from week to week, and mapping, marking or even describing this route seems impossible. The first 3km of the dune field have some steep dunes until it opens up and we follow the contours. We will walk through some vegetation; your feet might get wet and it is a challenging day.
Dune Ridge – Mostertshoek – Cape St Francis Resort 16km
The hike starts through a beautiful section of coastal forest and coastal thicket until you reach the shoreline. Enjoy walking through this special landscape, filled with bird calls, and keep your eyes open for grey duiker, mongoose, porcupine quills, bushbuck or caracal. Look for otters in the rock pools and keep your eyes open for Oystercatchers, Kelp Gulls, terns, and Turnstones.
You will pass Mostertshoek and walk along the Wild Side - so named for the untamed sea that crashes onto the rocks in spectacular fashion the length of the trail. You will see the second largest blow hole in SA, an unknown grave, the remains of the HMS Osprey that ran onto the rocks in 1867, as well as the Cape Recife (1929).
Cape St Francis Resort – St Francis Village – St Francis Canals
The hike starts at the Resort and follows the footpaths via Shark Point to Port St Francis, where your will enjoy calamari tasting. You will hike past Bruce’s Beauties to the Granny’s Pool and into St Francis Bay for a light lunch, celebrating your journey with some local brewed beer! You will finish your hiking holiday on the famous St Francis Canals at Brisan B&B.
Price available on Request
All information adapted with permission of owner