The Crayfish Trail is a slack-packing trail that uncovers the secrets of the coastal towns and villages of the West Coast situated between Rocher Pan and Papendorp.
Located on the West Coast Way Berg Route and Wild Route
The full trail is 61km walked over five days, but you can opt for a 25km two-day option or create your own route over three or four days.
Guests can choose between the Recreational Package which offers 3-star accommodation and foodie level cuisine, or the Subsistence Package where meals are still good but more casual and accommodation is in comfortable backpackers.
All the options are guided by a local who provides insights into the local communities. The terrain is mostly flat and walked on rough paths, jeep tracks, boardwalks, beaches and coastal hill paths.
Experience the slow living ethos of the West Coast Wild Route where life is savoured in long moments and the only time is right now.
Highlights of this trail include Baboon Cave, also known as Cape Deseada, where stories of the past whisper from the emptiness of abandoned buildings and the views of Elandsbaai are endless.
Doringbaai and the cliff paths and structured walkways that lead to a labyrinth. The vibrant harbour colourful boats and a winery called Fryers Cove, located in a repurposed factory at the end of the jetty.
Verlorenvlei, a World Heritage site of incredible natural beauty and huge archaeological importance due to the caves and rock art found here. It is an IBA (International Birding Area), home to over 170 bird species. The wetland is a RAMSAR site. Vensterklip is a resort on Verlorenvlei and a wonderful base from which to explore the area.
Lamberts Bay is the place to go for fish and chips. The people are friendly, the fish is fresh, and they know just how to cook it. Isabella’s or the Weskus Kombuis are both highly recommended. After lunch, a visit to Bird Island is a short walk away. There are only six Cape Gannet Breeding colonies in the world and Bird Island is one of them. Access is easy as the island is connected to the mainland by a breakwater. Spend some time alone or with a guide in the bird hide, it is extraordinary to see thousands of these blue-eyed birds. A small museum houses some interesting exhibits and look out for the “Beach Man” standing about 2 meters high, dreadlocks blowing in the wind as he looks out to sea. He was constructed by the locals from driftwood and is quite beautiful.
Rocher Pan is presently dry due to the drought, but it is still worth a walk to the bird hide before sunset. Hear the weavers chatter while swallows gather, and sandpipers dart along the ground. Look out for the bright red Bishop birds in the reeds.
The fishing industry is the core of these towns, all which form part of the Sustainable Food Track by West Coast Way and all the fishers here adhere to sustainable fishing methods which are defined as follows:
“Sustainable fishing is harvesting only as many fish as the fish stock can accommodate while maintaining its population at healthy levels.”
Learn about over-fishing, poaching and how these issues have a negative impact on the socio-economic health of the communities. Growing the tourism industry in this area is vital to ensure growth and economic empowerment for the people of these West Coast towns.
Serious hikers, nature lovers, casual walkers, photographers, birders, surfers, beach addicts, families, foodies and eco-friendly people will all love this trail.
The Crayfish Trail Company is located on the West Coast Way Wild Route to Wild Route’s Sustainable Seafood Track