SOUTHERN CAPE REGION
Regional Activity Report: Oyster Bay Lodge (Dune Trail)
21 April 2018
The activities list of the Hiking SA Southern Cape Region aims to provide for hiking opportunities for the Hiking SA in the Garden Route region and to partner with trail owners to assist in punting and five constructive feedback of their respective trails in terms of eco-tourism and to assist in giving guidance with regards to “best practice” standards and methods for the hiking fraternity at large. Partners are encouraged to provide feedback aimed at enhancing trail quality standards and general overall trail maintenance standards where necessary and applicable, all aimed at and steered towards the principle of “best practice”
Hiking SA Southern Cape met in Oyster Bay on the 21st April 2018, a privately owned lodge in the Kouga Region to hike the 7.5km Dune Trail and to also discuss matters pertaining to Hiking SA. A total of 13 members of which 3 were new members participated in the hike and discussions. The meeting was also represented by SANParks and MTO. Other strategic partners, i.e. CapeNature, ECPTA were absent.
The Dune Trail forms part of a network of hiking trails on the estate and is colour coded as per their in-house map. It is a 7.5km trail, walking across vast stretches of dune with spectacular vistas of the coastline and the surrounding landscapes. A hiker tariff of R30.00 is payable for day visitors who wish to hike the route. Starting immediately behind the restaurant, the route is clearly marked in the colour code (Green) and the hiker. It traverses along a pathway leading onto a beautiful open, stretched beach, passing vegetation i.e. Kapokbos (Eriocephalus africanus), Lion’s Tail or Wild Dagga (Leonotis leonorus), an exciting surprise to see outside of summer season the striking large pinkish Candelabra flower (Brunsvigia orientalis).
After a brisk walk the path immediately joins up with a beautiful beach for approximately 1km where hikers can enjoy the intertidal and sandy beach life. The pristineness of the beach however is compromised by litter washed up on the beach. This was picked up by members of the group and carried towards the end of the hike and handed over to one of the field guides.
The hike on the beach hereafter veers off onto the dunes, indicated by a signpost. Traversing through a short section of coastal vegetation, a steep climb awaits scrambling your way up the dune and then parallel with the foredune. This is undoubtedly the most challenging part of the hike before it descends again into sparse vegetation and thereafter heading northeast along the border fence until the Lookout as first resting spot, well worth the view of the coastal hamlet in the southeast.
Birdlife on the hike which were spotted is the endangered Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini), Southern Boubou (Laniarius aethiopicus) and the Sombre Bulbul (Andropadus importunus).
From the Lookout Deck, it is approximately 500m before the end of the trail is reached crossing a wooden suspension bridge near the restaurant, ending this circular route.
Trail maintenance is needed in the section, approximately 300m before the Lookout Deck. The path is overgrown and twigs and roots make this a somewhat cumbersome section. Vegetation to be trimmed back to allow for a pleasant hike in this section.
On certain section of the hike towards the slight climb en route to the Lookout cognizance needs to be taken of the potential erosion hazard by putting in flat rocks to prevent the area from being trampled and eroded as a result of heavy or torrential rain taking much needed top soil off the path.
Small v-drains or berms can also be made on this section of the pathway to effective take water off the path to reduce erosion.
Report compiled by Victor Cunningham, Regional Chairperson: Hiking SA (Southern Cape)
Southern Cape Members
Oyster Bay Lodge Beach
Collecting litter on beach
Selfies on Oyster Bay Beach
Early morning jog…before tackling the Dune!
Article By: Victor Cunningham