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Doring Bay, Ebenhaeser, Elands Bay, Lamberts Bay, Papendorp, Vanrhynsdorp

Other Routes:
Diamond Coast Route
Richtersveld Route
Kamieskroon Mountain Route
Hardeveld Route
Nama Route

The West Coast of South Africa between the Berg and Olifants Rivers offers superb hiking opportunities. The Crayfish Trail starts in Elandsbaai one of the few places on the West Coast with mountains, rivers and wetlands, long beaches and snow white dunes.

The Trail links Elandsbaai to Lambertsbaai a small fishing town turned business and holiday centre. Between the traditional culture of the local fishing community, hundreds of gannets at Bird Island and variety of waders occupying the surrounding wetlands, Lambertsbaai has plenty to offer cultural and natural history enthusiasts.

A long stretch of virtually uninhabited coastline separates Lambertsbaai from Doringbaai. Doringbaai once thrived around fishing but today the small harbour is hardly used and the fishing factory is struggling along. Luckily Doringbaai has much to offer the visitors with spectacular ocean views from the cliff paths, unique coastal vegetation, seabirds and in season - wildflowers, whales and dolphins.

Papendorp, the next stop along the Trail is entirely different, offering visitors a quiet, peaceful setting overlooking the wetland and mouth of the Olifants River. From Papendorp hikers follow the Olifants River inland to the last stop over in the peaceful farming and fishing community of Ebenhaeser, originally founded as a mission station in 1608.

See a gallery of recent images taken on the trail.

Trial Hike Itinerary

Day of arrival: Drive to Elandsbaai where you meet up with your local guide and host for the evening. Depending on your time of arrival explore the mountain that overlooks the wetland and beach. Enjoy the hospitality of your local host and caterers. Overnight in the Vleihuisie Guesthouse, a beautiful old clay farmhouse that has been renovated into a guesthouse run by a community enterprise. (We also use Elandsbay Guesthouse in case of larger groups - 8 or more.)
Distance: 0km

Hiking Day 1: Make your way along the wetland to the beach and walk along the beach adjacent beautiful white dune fields towards Steenboksfontein. En route you will occasionally meander inland to look at interesting features in the Strandveld. At Steenboksfontein you can meet up with your host, Mrs. Burger and enjoy your meals in the local Farm Kitchen. Overnight in Steenboksfontein Guesthouse.
Distance: 18km
Type of terrain: Mostly beach and dunes (loose sand), some veld

Hiking Day 2: Continue along the beach for 9km to Lambertsbaai for a cultural experience in the local fishing community, with a memorable visit to well known Bird Island". Spend the remainder of the day at leasure in Lambertsbaai, with accommodation at Eureka's best seafront-chalets. Dinner at Isabella's Restaurant.
Type of terrain: Mostly beach and dunes (loose sand), some veld

Hiking Day 3: A short guided drive (45km) through the Strandveld will bring you to Doringbaai to begin the day's hiking. Follow a scenic path along the cliff tops to Strandfontein and on to Papendorp. En route you will see unique plants and in winter and spring beautiful wildflowers, whales and dolphins. Overnight in the Papendorp Guesthouse in a relaxed environment overlooking the lovely Olifants River Mouth and wetland.
Distance: 15km
Type of terrain: Mostly beach and dunes (loose sand), some veld

Hiking Day 4: Follow an adventurous path along the Olifants River bank to Ebenhaeser. The river walk is beautiful with plenty of interesting birds and fishing activities to entertain you, but be prepared to get muddy. Though not always available - there is the option also to take a short boat ride on the river. Overnight at Ebenhaeser Guesthouse and enjoy the quiet peace of this rural farming and fishing community. (Note that groups larger than 6 will split accommodation to Big River Bend - meals still eaten together.) Ebenhaeser has many historical old clay buildings that are rapidly deteriorating. The guesthouse is located in a lovely old clay house that has recently been renovated by the Ebenhaeser Multi-Purpose Resource Centre with the assistance of the Church, the Matzikama Municipality and the Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism.
Distance: 18km
Type of terrain: Mostly veld, along the banks of the Olifants River

Final day: Return to Elandsbaai for your vehicle and your trip home.