The Perlemoen Green Flag slackpacking trail, centered around South Africa’s famous Great White shark cage diving and whale watching capital of Gansbaai, basically consists of three days’ hiking (with alternative shorter as well as self catering options). The trail provides fascinating insight into the area – famous for its shipwrecks and infamous for its Perlemoen (abalone) poaching! This is a trail for whale watchers, fynbos lovers and cultural enthusiasts with wide open beaches, intimate coves for swimming, sea cliffs with pounding waves and limestone caves.
On Day 1 the trail hugs the coast from De Dam to Buffelsjag (15km) with the option of walking to Pearly Beach (another 7km). On Day 2 the trail follows the beach to Franskraal (12km) and Day 3 runs from Gansbaai, along the rocky coast, with its caves and excellent whale watching, to Die Plaat (8km).
An additional fourth and fifth day can be added with exciting activities like an Ocean Trip by rubber duck to view the thousands of seals around Dyer Island or an Inland Trip consisting of a guided walk through the renowned indigenous Platbos Milk wood forest as well as a quad bike or ‘tractor with trailer’ ride to the top of Franskraal Mountain. Other options are cage diving, wine route and an abalone farm visit.
Upon arrival first afternoon:
Settle in with sundowners & a traditional Strandveld fish dinner at a cosy B&B in Pearly Beach. There is an optional Strandveld hiking information session (Power Point and Video).
Day 1 (15km):
Hike through coastal fynbos, along rocky coasts, fascinating limestone sea cliffs and outstretched sandy beaches, past Quoin Point lighthouse with an unique fisherman’s lunch (with alikrekel pastries and abalone specially prepared for the hikers) at Buffelsjag. Visit the sand-engulfed ‘Spookdorp’ and swim in the tidal pool. Meet local fisherman en route and after the hike recline at the Pearly Beach B&B with a cold beer or acool drink alongside a swimming pool while potjiekos or braai is being prepared. (A longer – extra 7km - option, over easy flat terrain along the coast, is also available – including the Otari Maru shipwreck).
Day 2 (13km):
Follow the rocky coast and remote white sandy beaches along the ‘Gruis’ where there is ample opportunity to swim in rock pools or surf the waves. You are bound to see dolphins playing in the surf, seals scattering over rocky shores as well as the endangered Black Oyster Catcher and multitudes of other sea birds. The hike ends at the Uilkraals Nature Reserve and a visit to the little Strandveld museum where you can listen to the tragic stories of shipwrecks of days gone by as told by the writer SJ Fourie and her husband Oom Pyp Fourie. Overnight will be enjoyed in the luxury B&B in Kleinbaai.
Day 3 (8km):
Walk along the unsurpassed scenic beauty of the cliffs at De Kelders with its world class whale viewing, crawl into limestone caves not accessible to the general public (some of them optional for the more adventurous); unparallel views over the coast at Die Plaat with intimate coves for swimming along the trail and massive breakers thundering against the sea cliff and then finally rounding off the experience with a dinner at the vernacular Buitesteen Pub. See the description of the 5 Caves Trail.