It was early morning when the sun solemnly broke through the cloud formations of the sky above, it lit up the quiet surroundings while the water gently lapped onto the wheat coloured beach of the Bitou estuary. The kayaks neatly strung along the still of this liquid edge patiently awaiting its paddlers.
We were about to embark on a two day journey of the Bitou, 15km per day edging the rivers and estuary of the Plettenberg area. Paired into twos to take on this paddling journey called the Cape Kayak Camino.
I’ve never explored these water ways before and while listening to the Johan’s brief my mind drifted and set into the idea of a new discovery and the excitment was so much that when we eventually slipped into the kayaks, settled into our seats and I adjusted my mindset to my paddling partners I couldn’t contain myself. My whole inside was shouting “Lets go and explore!!”
The estuary opened up while gliding along, the kayak steadily cutting its way through the salty water and the lapping sound of paddles becomes a heart beat, a rhythm of man and nature.
As a group we wound our way up the river and took in the beauty of the water world that so seldomly gets explored. Birds calling from their reed filled hideaways and every now and then we flushed Coot or a Kingfisher. The game fish jumped from their feeding pools while hunting for their daily meal and the wind rustled its song with its own melody. The early morning turned into midday when we stopped for our first meal. The smiles and chatter filled the air while we shared the first stretch of our journey.
In due course we left our peaceful setting on the river bank and readied ourselves for our next section. Syncronizing our partnerships once again we fell into the rhythm of the paddle, this time the tide assisting our journey back to the estuary. Chatting and smiling as we smoothly motioned the kayaks towards the sea while the scenic embankment of the river slip past us, telling visual stories of life on the rivers edges, slowly making our way to a beach bay in the estuary. The prolific bird life bobbing up and down in the salty liquid while carefully watching us disembark once again for a quick stop. Fleetly we stretched our legs and changed into some warmer clothing before we eagerly pushed out the kayaks over the squishy mud plains and headed for our evening stop on the Keurbooms River.
It was nearing sunset when finally arrived at our camping destination and logistics was the our first priority. With the kayaks out of the water we got busy setting up camp , tents need to be pitched and our gear was hung out to dry before hitting a warm shower and washing away the days clamminess. A hum of conversation hung around the fire, the laughter, chatter and a tall dink was part of winding the day down. After being well fed the fatigue of the days fresh air and exercise kicks in and slowly we all drifted off to our tents for a nights rest.
It’s early morning as we readied ourselves for the days paddle, wet gear on, hats, water, cooler boxes and go. The Keurboom’s River dark tannin water laps on the side of our kayaks while we head out, the topography of the land has changed, so different from the day before. The water way cuts through natural forest and snakes through cliff faces and rugged terrain. This is where you hear the calls of the fish eagle while they navigating the thermic activity of the updrafts. The chatter of robins, Kingfishers, Bou Bou’ s, Bok Makierie’s and Somber Green Bull’s join in in the bird parties along the way, other than that it’s quite, the tranquil waters of the Keurbooms and its Whiskey Creek closes in and surrounds you with a serene atmosphere. A quick stop for snacks and drinks on the river bed would be our last stop before heading back to where the fresh water mixes with the salty ocean.
The day draws to and end as we admire the landscape of the dunes and the Indian Ocean slaming into the beachy shores of Plettenberg Bay. It’s here we had the last glimpse of the day closing and dusk was fast approaching us. Tired and happy we reach to banks of the Bitou. One more adventure done and dusted, one that will remain with us for when we remeness and look back at our lives here in the Garden Route of the beautiful South Africa
Thank you for a amazing trip!! You truely made it memorable!!
Johan, Nexus, Claude, Travis
Teresa, Lovemore, Amos, Enya