Slackpacking on the Cape West Coast is my kind of walking!
Being somewhat sedentary (unfortunately), it was with some trepidation that I packed my bags on Friday for an overnight stay on the Cape West Coast in preparation for a 20km coastal hike which kicked off from Paternoster early on the Saturday morning. I was off on a slackpacking on the Cape West Coast adventure.
My anxiety levels grew as I set off in what was one of the biggest storms the Cape has seen in some time. The weather report had predicted this terrible weather – and driving along at a snails pace being lashed by the wind and rain I kept thinking about my husbands words, “cancel and stay home where it is dry and safe”. At this stage I was truly unconvinced that this slackpacking on the Cape West Coast trip would go ahead the next day as planned and wondered at my folly.
Finally after a long (not really, it just felt that way) slow drive I arrived with a huge sigh of relief at our overnight destination – Blue Bay Lodge in Saldanha. I have never been so happy to park my car and switch off! But it just got better from there.
The place is immaculately kept and the lady at reception was so friendly and helpful – even coming out with me into the rain to show me where to find our accommodation. We (my sister and I) were booked into an upstairs Studio, which is a one bedroom self-catering unit, and I was so impressed with everything about it – the décor was lovely, the linen was puffy and white, the bathroom was huge, and everything (TV, kettle, fridge etc.) was practically new.
After a restorative cup of tea (all the makings provided for in the room), and while waiting for my sister to arrive, I made my way to the bar and restaurant for an even more restorative glass (or two – ok, so I brought a whole bottle, but I deserved it after that drive, and I shared it in the end) of really good red wine.
Wow – I was blown away when I walked into the room and will try not to wax too lyrical in case readers stop believing me – but it is fantastic! Huge glass doors open out onto a narrow stretch of well maintained, bright green lawn that then gives way to the beach and the sea – stretching out in a vista that you can sit and admire from a comfy leather coach or arm chair whilst sipping on your beverage of choice.
The restaurant enjoys the same views and we later sat by a crackling fire enjoying Half a Kilo of Mussels cooked with coconut milk and coriander – yum! Here we met the same friendly staff, from the bar men to the waitresses, and it was all round just a fabulous evening in a fantastic setting.
Thankfully the Saturday dawned clear and lovely and we rushed through our breakfast the next morning to set off at 7am to head for Paternoster for our slackpacking on the Cape West Coast adventure. I was so pleased to see how close Blue Bay Lodge is to this quaint coastal village – we made it in just over 20 minutes and met up with the other ladies in our group who were all taking part in a beach hike from Trekoskraal to Tietiesbaai, which was organised by Annette Grobler of Take a Hike.
I surprised myself by not being AS unfit as I thought I was, and we covered the 20km’s fairly easily in the space of four hours – walking through some of the most stunning, unspoilt coastline that is quintessentially Cape West Coast. Arriving at the “finish” we were met with welcoming cold drinks under a gazebo on the beach in Tieitiesbaai, followed by paella and salads that were delicious (also spiced by a healthy appetite worked up on that hike no doubt)!
Sitting in an autumn sunbeam in Tieitiesbaai with a cold cider in my hand listening to the lively conversation going on around me from the other lady hikers I was so very thankful that I had not decided to cancel the trip and instead set off in pursuit of my “folly”!
It was an all round wonderful experience and I can say with honesty that I WILL be back to Blue Bay Lodge and have already started to research my next slackpacking adventure!
• Restaurant • Conference Centre • Lounge with a Fireplace • Play Area: Trampoline; Dam with ducks • Kiddies Menu • Pet Friendly (Small Breeds) • Tennis Court • Satellite TV • WiFi • Swimming pool • Boat Launch Access
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