Thank you for such a well organised hike. The staff were amazing and everything was perfectly set out – from the boxes to the kitchen, the campfire and the neat tent spots at each site. I loved the showers, which were most welcome at the end of each day. The water at each campsite was so sweet and refreshing (no problems with my tummy and certainly didn’t need tablets). I also drank water straight from the stream on the second day. The loos were clean and the mirror above the basin most welcome to sort out our disheveled hair.
The scenery was so beautiful – expansive and extensive! I loved that we were camping! I have just been given a MSR one person tent so it was great fun to be able to use it. Sadly we had heavy rain on the second last day, that included some thunder and lightening! The kitchen tent held out until the morning when the weight of the water caused some seepage.
I am not a strong walker, but each year take to the hills and valleys somewhere in South Africa. I have walked the Whale Trail a number of times, the Fish River and Oorlogskloof once and some other shorter local hikes. The Leopard Trail was a real treat, but I have to say it was a lot tougher than I had expected – the second day in particular – with a lot of up and down and up and down the hills and saddles. I focused mainly on my feet so missed a lot of what was around me! What was suggested as a 4 – 6 hour day took those of us at the back a good 8 hours. It would have been lovely if the detours, which were indicated as water and swimming spots, were included in the hike as part of the main trail. I kept hoping to find a rest spot, a pool or some sort of a shady reprieve every so often. I also would have liked to have been taken past Koi–San paintings (I understand there are some in the area), a cave or some other geographic feature.
I also loved your map and guide book, and of course the quirky signage! Very philosophical and a great touch. I am a bit worried though that your signs attached to rocks will not stand the test of time or souvenir collecting travellers. Perhaps you could paint your paws on rocks sometime in the future. Also how about adding some ‘milestones’, like one each kilometre, a rest spot, a lunch spot. Knowing that you are nearly there, or at least how far you still have to go at various points would have been helpful.
The history boards at the info centre were very interesting. Maybe include that info about in the booklet at some stage or on your website.
Thank you again for a fabulous four days. Unfortunately due to the rain we didn’t do the Cedar Falls walk – perhaps next time if I am lucky enough to return and try out the cottage stay.
All the best and good luck with the building!
PS I bought some jam from the shop, which I am looking forward to sharing with family and friends and I will upload some photos to your Facebook page.
PPS The boxes were large and encouraged me to bring much more than I needed to. I worry that the porterage is open to abuse and that the guys might be unnecessarily exploited – the option to bring cooler boxes encourages excessive meat and alcohol! I know that the Whale Trail had big issues with this and now limits the number of boxes per group and will not carry anything that is not secured inside the box. Just saying! Not everyone is nice and the porters are open to being taken advantage of.