SA's Otter Trail 101 + 9 iconic global hikes you need to do at least once

2017-04-18 21:00 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
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Cape Town - SA's iconic Otter Trail, the 5-day trek along perhaps the most beautiful stretch of coastline in the world, the Garden Route, has been listed as the very best hiking trail on the globe. 

This is according to Insight Guides, listing our epic trail alongside other big hikes such as the Pacific Crest Trail or PCT which spans the US, as well as the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal. 

The list has been put together by the travel agencies' local experts, who warn that the ocean vistas seen from the secret nooks of the beloved Otter Trail will leave your jaw on the ground. 

The Garden Route keeps raking in travel awards. National Geographic also recently named the region as the world's best spring trip for 2017, saying that the 'road trip will break your Instagram'! 

HAVE YOU SEEN: NatGeo names SA's Garden Route the world's best spring trip for 2017

Between April 2016 and February 2017, the Garden Route National Park recorded some 188 238 gate arrivals... an increase over over 10 000 people from the same time last year, when 177 890 gate arrivals were recorded.

Take a look at the World's Top 10 Hiking Trails, and what they hold - 

1. Otter Trail, South Africa

The Otter Trail is one of the most amazing hiking trails in South Africa.

It follows the Eastern Cape coastline from Storms River Mouth to Natures Valley in the Tsitsikamma National Park. The trail is 42.5km long hike takes five days to complete as it follows the rocky shoreline ranging in elevation from sea level to a height of more than 150m.

On this trail you need to be prepared for everything, as you'll swim across rivers all the while carrying your own crockery.

If you've been considering ticking this one off your list of achievements, here's the essentials you need to know...

Otter Trail hike: When and how to apply

Bookings for the Otter Trail open 11 months in advance. There are only 12 spots available for any specific period of time and this is why people struggle through the booking process. It is, however, possible to apply for availability 14 months in advance by inquiring about the trail and then filling out a form. 

To get the application form online from SANParks, or call 012 426 5111. Once you’ve filled out the form, the applications get placed onto SANParks’ server, the day bookings open, it does a random selection and notifies the clients.

Click here for full details on how to plan and prep for this iconic hike

Where: SA's Garden Route coastline 
Distance: 43km 
Time: 5 Days
Fitness: Moderate 
NOTE: Bookings are limited 

WATCH: The best hikes in the World to try at least once:  

ALSO SEE: SA Active: Sporting events to check out across SA

2. Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

Where: Within the Annapurna mountain range of central Nepal
Distance: 230km
Time: 20 Days
Fitness: Fairly challenging 

3. The Cinque Terre, Italy

Where: 5 Seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline
Distance: Various trails between the 5 villages 
Time: No more than 2 hours each 
Fitness: Moderate 

4. Pacific Crest Trail, US

Where: Cross US, from Mexico to Canada
Distance: 4 279 km
Time: More than 100 days 
Fitness: Advanced  

5. The Sky Walk at Monteverde Park, Costa Rica

Where: Suspension bridges and walking trails through the Monteverde rainforest
Distance: 2.5km
Time: 2 - 3 Hours
Fitness: Moderate 

6. Laugavegurinn, Iceland

Where: South-West Iceland 
Distance: 55km
Time: 5 Days 
Fitness: Advanced   

7. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Where: To the Machu Picchu Incan citadel
Distance: 43km
Time: Various options
Fitness: Moderate 

8. Sierra Negra, the Galápagos Islands

Where: On a shield volcano at the South eastern end of Isabela Island in the Galapagos
Distance: 17km 
Time: 6 Hours
Fitness: Moderate  

9. The Appalachian Trail, US

Where: In the Eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine
Distance: 3 320km
Time: 180 Days 
Fitness: Advance 

10. Grey Glacier Trail, Chile

Where: In Chile's Torres del Paine park 
Distance: 12km 
Time: 5 Hours 
Fitness: Moderate 

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