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Overview
TThe Chokka Trail is a 4 day/3 night hiking holiday in the greater St Francis area between Oyster Bay, St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. This trail is so much more than just a hiking trail, it is a journey through the Coastal Cradle of Mankind, offering the full beach experience, it is educational, informative, adventurous. Hikers are active and get their excersize but have no worries about any logistics – the hike is fully guided, catered for and includes luggage transfers – it is a healthy, carefree and relaxing activity, all while you enjoy our beautiful South Africa. The hike includes a visit to Port St Francis, the only privately owned working harbour in South Africa and home to the chokka (squid) industry, where the trail’s name derives from. At the Port, hikers enjoy a calamari tasting – comparing local squid with imported squid as well as a chokka cleaning demonstration. Various heritage sites are visited over the four days, such as the ancient fish traps in Oyster Bay, various middens in the dune field and along the coastline as well as two shipwrecks, one from 1868. It also includes a visit to the SANCCOB Sea Bird Rehabilitation Centre, a cruise on the famous St Francis Bay canals and the farewell lunch includes a tasting of locally brewed beer. Fat Bike Rides on the Oyster Bay beach as well as surfing lessons can be added to the experience. The 62km hiking holiday kicks off with a 15km hike along the untouched coastline between Oyster Bay and Thysbaai, where the cape clawless otter often puts up a show in shallow waters. If you are not lucky enough to see small buck, you will find their spoor on the beach and the birdlife is prolific. Swimming, fishing and snorkelling are possible in the warmer summer months. The Oyster Bay Dune Bypass System, fondly called the Sand River, is a 16km sand of sea, to be conquered by hikers on day 2. The trail leads from Oyster Bay into the Dune Ridge Nature Reserve on the outskirts of St Francis Bay, and could be the most challenging of the 4 days. The moving dune field sometimes opens century old middens, protecting pot shards, bones, teeth and huge shells for future generations to see. The wetlands become a hive of bird activity during the wet months, changing the scenery completely. The last two days cover the rest of the shoreline into St Francis Bay, with many highlights – the second largest blow hole in southern Africa, an unknown Khoi grave, shipwrecks, more middens, the tallest masonry lighthouse situated on the south eastern most point of Africa as well as a visit to the SANCCOB Seabird and Penguin Rehabilitation Centre. The last evening is celebrated with a sundowner cruise on the St Francis canals, the most successful manmade canal system in South Africa. The final day includes the tour of Port St Francis where they can see the large fleet of chokka boats. It is untouched and unexplored beauty at its best. The trail is moderate and suitable for ages between 10 and 80 and open all year round. While hikers are enjoying the trail, their luggage is transported, and a hot meal, warm shower and cold beer awaits at the end of each day. It is fully catered and can fit into any longer itinerary through our beautiful South Africa. The operators are Eric and Esti Stewart, from St Francis Bay.

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