Whales . . . what whales?

Willie and a small party of family and friends recently did The Whale Trail hiking route in the Southern Cape. Unlike the gruelling and spectacular Otter Trail (See the Here Be Dragons post) which this group hiked last year, The Whale Trail is a somewhat gentler – and more civilized – hike. It is “slackpacking” with most of your stuff being transported for you in crates from one hut to the next. This means that you only need carry a day pack with food, water and anything you might need during the day. Then there are little cottages (mostly stone or brick) to stay in each night – with hot showers.

Coming soon on this blog is a series of posts on The Whale Trail, so you can follow in the footsteps of our energetic hikers and experience some of what they did.

Three of the hikers in disguise . . . actually they look like this most of the time. Buffs pulled up over their faces shield them from the high UV rays and wind. They have taken off the sunglasses they usually wear for the photograph. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

In these series you will be seeing photographs of beautiful scenery from and in the Potberg mountains . . .

Looking back after the first ascent. The Potberg tourism office where the trail starts lies below. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

Looking down on the Breede River from the Potberg mountains ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

. . . pretty flowers . . .



. . . little animals and insects  . . .



. . . a very tame Small-spotted Genet . . .

A Small-spotted Genet living at the Hamerkop camp.Its left eye seemed to have a cataract, so that is a possible reason why it sticks to the safety of the camp - and to score some easy meals. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

. . . some amazing “rock art” . . .

A rock shaped like some sort of creature. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

Abstract rock art providing a nice pool for the fish. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

. . . some fish and dolphins  . . .


. . . beautiful bays and cottages with a sea-view . . .



. . . stunning beaches . . .


. . . a real working archaeological dig . . .


. . . a mound of shells – with a story . . .


. . .  but alas NO whales. Even though it is called The Whale Trail, this was the wrong time of year to see whales off this coastline. According to CapeNature (the nature conservation organization in the Western Cape)

De Hoop is world-renowned as one of the best whale-watching spots. Between June and December, this coastline is transformed into one of the world’s most important nursery areas for southern right whales.

Whale watchers regularly stand in awe at the sight of more than 50 of these sea giants lying a mere kilometre from the coast.

And at the end of the series, you will still be fresh and rested, unlike these hikers . . .


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Lifestyle/Travel, Nature/Environment


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)


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25 Comments on “Whales . . . what whales?”

  1. March 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Can’t wait! I’ve heard this is a great hike.

    • March 20, 2012 at 8:51 am #

      Yes, it does look like a great hike . . . and not as tough as the Otter Trail.

  2. March 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    How incredible, Lisa. Absolutely stunning! Love the notion of “slackpacking”–how fun!

    Hope you and Willie are having a lovely Sunday——-


    • March 20, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      Thanks Kathy! Slackpacking is gaining popularity here in South Africa, with a number of trails being opened/adapted for the lazier folks amongst us! 😉

  3. March 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    Wonderfull pics…thnx 4 sharing here; Seems you guys struggled a lot to bear the heat

    • March 20, 2012 at 8:57 am #

      Thank you! And thanks also for reading the post and leaving a comment. 🙂 It is summer here in South Africa, and the temperatures have been quite high. Maybe not as high as where you come from though?

      • March 20, 2012 at 9:17 am #

        Its my pleasure…Of course you are right about Summer, in India it will go upto 40 – 45 deg cel max., whereas in UAE (where i am working) it will reach 52-55 deg cel at peak.

  4. March 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    Great photos! It looks like a lot of fun.

    • March 20, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      Thanks Debra! It sounds like it was great fun, and not as exhausting as a normal hike where you have to carry a big backpack with all your gear.

  5. March 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    What a beautiful hike! I would love to go on that. The beach scenes are stunning. Like that cat- weasel like animal also.

    • March 20, 2012 at 9:03 am #

      I wish I could have gone hiking too, but I can’t handle the sun and heat. I’ll be showing more photos of the cat-weasel in a future post.

  6. March 19, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    Gorgeous pictures, as always. I especially like the butterfly, and the genet. And the rock formations. And the shells. Okay, I admit it — I like all of them.

    • March 20, 2012 at 9:05 am #

      Thanks Laura – Willie will be happy to hear that! 🙂 He took with him the small compact camera that I often use. Told him it was on condition that he take lots of pretty pictures. He did such a great job, that I’m now having trouble selecting photos for the blog.

  7. March 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    I love the rock formation. It looks like a monster!

    • March 20, 2012 at 9:06 am #

      Thanks for reading the post and leaving a comment! 🙂 Yes, it does look like a monster. I’ll be doing a whole post just on the rock formations that they came across on this hike.

  8. March 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    I look forward to reading more of this series, Lisa.

  9. Jackie Cangro
    March 21, 2012 at 5:25 am #

    What a great hike, Lisa. I feel refreshed and full of energy! 🙂
    This looks like a marvelous trail with plenty of beautiful vistas, even without the famed whales.

    • March 26, 2012 at 5:20 am #

      Thanks Jackie! Of course it would actually be better to experience the hike first hand, but the photos will give you an idea.

  10. March 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Those rock pools look so welcoming – I miss the sea!

    • April 3, 2012 at 7:15 am #

      I’m not sure that the water is that inviting – probably not that warm. 🙂

  11. April 2, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    It looks like it would be a spectacular walk – the photos are stunning!
    Are these hikes an option during the winter months? I’m sure the scenery would be just as breathtaking – and then you’d also have the pleasure of enjoying it for yourself.
    Looking forwards to the rest of the series 🙂

    • April 3, 2012 at 7:18 am #

      From a distance – when you drive past – that coastline doesn’t look that interesting. But up close it is really pretty.

      Am having a problem publishing posts at the moment – not feeling well, and not feeling inspired. 😦

      • April 3, 2012 at 11:13 am #

        I’m sorry to hear that you are not feeling so great. Definitely 😦
        It’s difficult to climb out of a rut when in the depths of one, but the day will come that will make it seem a breeze to step out of it. Take it easy, and don’t worry about not posting – we all know that when you are ready to return to the blogs that it’ll be oh so worth it! We’ll all be here for you 🙂

      • April 19, 2012 at 9:01 am #

        Hi Lu! Sorry it’s taken so long for me to reply to this comment . . . Thanks for your kind words and your support. I really appreciate it! 🙂

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