Kayaking up Storms River Gorge, South Africa
Since I was about 12 years old I have been visiting my family on their farm in Plettenberg Bay. For those of you who don’t know where Plett is, it is located along the breathtaking Garden Route. My absolute favourite slice of South Africa.
Like I said in my last blog post, It has everything to offer from secret beaches, forest hiking trails, endless mountains and moody lagoons. One of the things I discovered a few years ago is Storms River Mouth. With a spectacular suspension bridge crossing the river, an abundance of hiking trails for every kind of hiker, a campsite with views for days and a Gorge ideal for Kayaking.
All Kayak trips up the Gorge are hosted by Untouched Adventures. As a South African paying R55O to Kayak seems a bit steep but it was definitely worth it! I conquered a fear I have of going into the ocean and feeling vulnerable in a little Kayak. Don’t get me wrong i’m definitely not the next sea kayak champion but I would 100% do it again. A trip a bit further out would even be great! The route then heads towards the gorge, leading you under the suspension bridge and into the shade of the mountains looming overhead on either side. There are two guides who lead you and actually stop to clue you in on some very interesting facts about the gorge including its history, what types of animals you’ll find under you and on either side in the valley as well as the depth of the gorge. The tour then leads you to a part of the gorge your kayaks can no longer pass through, so you hop off and onto some Lilo’s. You then paddle the rest of the short way up. By this time I must tell you, I was so cold as it had been raining and drizzling all morning and due to the gorge getting minimal sun as it is, it was slightly chilly. This didn’t stop us though, and the cold outside only made the water feel warmer. (P.S. Im trying to train myself to be more optimistic and look for the positives at all times ;) )
The last thing we did before heading back was stop for a little cliff jumping. Now the jumps were not high at all and most cliff jumpers would most likely find it laughable as its probably more of a rock jump then a full on cliff. For me however, who is terrified of heights, I get the whole deer in the headlights expression and shaky knees, the 4M Jump was very out of my comfort zone but I thought what the heck! Let’s live a little. I climbed to the top thinking this isn’t so bad but the minute I was at the top looking down at everyone on their kayaks and the deep brown water below I froze. I had to mentally convince myself and ignore the butterflies as I jumped. It was flipping amazing though, so next time we do a 6M jump! Ready for it!
After the Kayak session was done we decided to hit a ‘quick’ 3km trail. The trail starts out really easy along a wooden board walk. There are about 6 hidden beaches off trail, a tiny little waterfall, a snake I met when he slithered past my foot and an abundance of lush green forest. What we didn’t know is that majority of the 3kms is a very steep uphill climb up a mountain including some very scarily angled stairs. Nature also has this way of toying with you. Where we had wanted beautiful and sunny weather for the Kayak and had absolutely not a speck of sun, mother nature decided the moment we got midway up the mountain, now was the time to shine stronger then ever. So nevertheless we sweated our way up and what a view! The mixture of ocean, river, mountains and fynbos was a stunner!
Definitely get yourself to the storms river national park if you haven’t been there before.
I will be back to try the other hiking trails, specifically the one to a waterfall.