The Garden Route is vast with many walks and trails to enjoy. However with so much on offer, it can be difficult to know where to start. That is why we were delighted recently to meet the team from Garden Route Trail who offer a selection of walks for all ages and fitness levels.
With a vast local knowledge and a passion for the creatures one might find along this coastline, they have a knack for introducing travellers to the many delights of the Garden Route.
We were particularly excited to recently join them on their moonlight meander. Now if you are one for exploring at night and getting your feet wet this is one walk you don't want to miss.
We started our journey in a dark car park of the Swartvlei beach just outside Sedgefield on the Garden Route where we meet our guide who would be taking us on a stroll into the intertidal zone.
Now this is an activity that only runs a few nights a month as it is all dependent on the spring low tide which allows you to access this part of the beach which is normally covered by water.
Equipped with our head torches we strolled down a short jeep track toward the beach where our guide stopped to show us some of the plants and gives us some useful info on what they can be used for, such as alleviating stings from jellyfish. Once on the beach we headed down to the water's edge where we could see thousands of small shells emerging as the water subsided. These small shells turned out the be the homes of crabs. Our guide explained to us
that that what if you come across this on other beaches it is an indication that it is a same swimming area as these tiny creatures are washed straight on shore, indicating that there are no rip tides in that area.
Moving along down the beach, the moon lit our way, occasionally flirting with us from behind the clouds, creating a moody atmosphere. We then arrived at a rock which at first glance just looked like an ordinary rock. Our guide explained that this rock was much smaller just a few days ago as about one and a half meters of sand had been removed by the sea from the base of the rock during recent storms. Taking a closer look at the rock we stared to realize the it was no ordinary rock but home to thousands of periwinkles and even some spiders.
We then got our feet wet as we moved further down the beach to another large rock. Here we had to time the waves just right to navigate around the rock on the sea side. Needless to say some of the group got their timing wrong and ended up in knee-height water but it was all worth it for what lay on the other side!
Once around the rock there are many small rock pools to explore where all sorts of sea life can be found. We were very lucky to come across an octopus which put on a great show for us with all its tentacles spread out. This was definitely a highlight and something you don't get to see everyday!
We could have spent many more hours exploring their rock pools and in fact many do, with the moonlight meander by Garden Route Trail offering turning into a midnight meander! A totally unique experience and one we highly recommend.
To discover more hiking and walking trails on the Garden Route click here.
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