04 May 2012 by Kate Turkington

Hike the Diaz Cross Trail

Go alone, with good friends, or take the family, but however you go, when you hike the Diaz Trail you’ll experience some of South Africa’s most beautiful, pristine beaches

David, our Diaz Trail guide

Expect pristine deserted beaches stretching as far as the eye can see.

Discover ancient rivers pulsing into the sea, the largest shifting dune field in the southern hemisphere, mysterious legend-enshrouded shipwrecks, black oystercatchers pecking at the rocks, cruising dolphins and whales, curious sea sponges and little sea critters lining the foam-fringed shores, and finally the Great Fish Wetland in the Kap Nature Reserve. 

Sundowners on the Kleinemund river with good companions

Discover ancient rivers pulsing into the sea, the largest shifting dune field in the southern hemisphere, mysterious legend-enshrouded shipwrecks…

The Diaz Cross Trail is a leisurely 5-day trail where all you carry is your daily survival kit of sunscreen, camera, binocs, swimsuit and water – your overnight baggage is taken by road to your nightly stopovers. (Warning: it’s essential to take along good companions with great senses of humour. Avoid testosterone-packed achievers or whiners.)

I walked the trail with good companions as The Ides of March favoured us with low tides and a full moon.

Here’s a thumbnail sketch of what’s in store for you.

Day 1. Spot Bird Island shimmering off shore, home to the largest breeding colony of African terns in the world.
Day 2. Reach the historic site of the Diaz Cross, planted by the intrepid Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Diaz in 1488 as he and his crew searched desperately for fresh water. 
Day 3. Amble along an award-winning beach from Kenton-on-Sea, across the Kariega river mouth by small boat and along more deserted beaches to the Kasouga river mouth. 
Day 4. Hike along more seemingly endless white sand dune beaches to Riet river, via Fountain Rocks, Oyster Rock and the Rufanes river.  Marvel at the beauty of the Three Sisters, stark rock formations marching into the sea. In the evening you’ll see the Fish Point Lighthouse, built in 1898, glimmering in the distance.
Day 5. Reach the mouth of the Great Fish River.  Take a leisurely canoe ride up the Kap river, gliding past steep cliffs dominated by century-old cycads, as Trumpeter hornbills wail and a inquisitive water monitor lizard cruise alongside.

One of the Trail’s most memorable secrets is the hospitality of the Eastern Capers who host you each night. You’ll stay in seaside cottages, family homes, an iconic old hotel. And everywhere you will be welcomed with great hospitality which includes fresh oysters, cold beer and sparkling wine.

Ready, steady, go…

The beach at Kenton-on-Sea. Picture: Chris Marais

Category: Routes & Trails

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