The route follows the iconic 5-day Whale Trail, is 53km long with approximately 1900m of ascent. The route will be marked only where necessary. Deviations from the established hiking trail will not be allowed and it is mandatory to stay on the paths at all times. There are two water tables along the race route and five checkpoints that you will need to pass.
- Race Start: 07h00
- Transfer from De Hoop to Potberg for Start: 05h30
- Cut offs: 23.5km – 4h45, 46km – 9h30
Download Colour PDF of the above map here – Merrell-Whale-of-Trail-Map-53KM-2019
Download PDF of Whale of Trail 2019 – predicted times
Route Overview (from Cape Nature Website): Here the route is broken down into the 5 day hiking sections.
- Potberg to Cupidoskraal hut – 13 km – It will take you to the top of Potberg at 611 metres with breathtaking panoramic views of Swellendam in the north, unequalled views of the Indian Ocean and the Breede River, Cape Infante in the east and Cape Agulhas in the west. You will also have a good chance of sighting the rare Cape vulture. The trail descends towards Cupidoskraal.
- Cupidoskraal to Noetsie Hut – 14 km – The trail follows the crest of the Potberg through mountain fynbos with unequalled views of the Indian Ocean and the Breede River. The route finally leaves the Potberg and leads onto limestone hills with strikingly different fynbos, then descends to the enchanting bay of Noetsie at the coast.
- Noetsie to Hamerkop Hut – 7 km – There is abundant marine life you can look out for. Several whale watching points lie ahead until you reach a lovely sandy beach stretching all the way to Hamerkop.
- Hamerkop to Vaalkrans Hut – 10 km – You are going to find it difficult not to swim in the turquoise rock pools. Please stay clear of the sensitive calcrete formations and look out for interesting seabirds like the shy oystercatchers and whitebreasted cormorants basking in the sun.
- Vaalkrans to Koppie Alleen Hut – 6 km – The trail goes through coastal thickets with ample time to soak up the last of the scenic landscapes, there are two alternative routes for high and low tide. Hippo Pools offers great swimming before the path leads up to Koppie Alleen where the trail ends. From here you will follow the marked course to the finish line and the much needed cold drink.