Slackpackers of the World, Unite!


It takes a big person to be a slackpacker – to have your hiking cake and eat it, too, and not feel a jot of guilt. For slackpacking is the art of hiking without your gear, which someone else is schlepping to where you plan to stop for lunch or to sleep that night. It’s a brilliant concept, and I’m already a convert.

A bit of research turns up the top five slackpacking trails in the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces:

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  • Cape Town’s Hoerikwaggo Trail, which takes you across the Table Mountain range. (There are four options, of between three and six days each.)
  • The Overberg’s Whale Trail – five days – which traverses exquisite parts of the southern coast, with practically guaranteed whale sightings during the Sep – Oct whale season.
  • The Garden Route‘s Oystercatcher Trail – two or four days – which undulates along the gorgeous coast from Mossel Bay to the mouth of the Gouritz River
  • The Otter Trail in the Tsitsikamma National Park (Eastern Cape) – the five-night big daddy of hiking trails in SA.
  • And the Dolphin Trail, also in the Tsitsikamma (Eastern Cape), a two-nighter for those who aren’t yet quite ready for the rigors of the Otter Trail.

It’s tough going out there, slackpackers (this is literally true, in the case of the Otter Trail) – good luck!