Keen hiker, Azania Mosaka conquers the Otter Trail
It is no secret that Azania Mosaka is quite the hiking enthusiast who spends her weekends trailing some of the most popular hiking spots in the country.
Last week, she embarked on her biggest challenge yet, the Otter Trail – South Africa’s oldest and most famous multi-day hikes that runs along the magnificent coastline from Storms River Mouth in the Eastern Cape to Nature’s Valley in the Garden Route over a distance of 45 kilometres.
Half of the victory comes from preparation.
In the weeks leading up to her big adventure, Azania filled her bag with cans and ran up the dreaded Westcliff stairs to simulate trailing rocky, steep terrain. And, despite being an avid hiker, she deemed it absolutely necessary to train for the epic trail with a hike up the Rustig in Magaliesburg.
In preparation for the Otter Trail, Azania appealed to her listeners for advice on what to expect. This is how they weighed in:
Day 1 - 4.8 kilometres
The first day of the hike didn't seem to take much of a toll on Azania. She finished the day with a 4km walk to the overnight huts where she spent her first night.
When we arrived at the overnight huts, we swam and cooled off in the ocean... in a rock pool. Just the best! Saw lots of fish, sea urchins, etc.Azania Mosaka, Presenter — 702
Day 2 - 7.9 kilometres
A total 7.9km hike to the Geelhoutbos River on day 2 which started with 2km inclines was the awakening Azania didn't quite expect.
The start was a taste of things to come... two kilometres of inclines. What a way to start, yho!Azania Mosaka, Presenter — 702
Having been warned by a listener about the stairs – it was time for Azania to experience the agony that awaited her at the bottom of the stairs. It was then that she understood the severity of the climb and, it's safe to say that she will not be rushing up those stairs anytime soon.
This climb just kept going. Every time you get through a bunch of stairs, thinking you are done or turn the corner hoping for the end, you get klapped with more steps.Azania Mosaka, Presenter — 702
Day 3 - 7.7 kilometres
The third day was easily her favourite day with the exclusion of the return of the dreaded stairs. She spent the rest of the day preparing for the following day's four-hour hike through the Tsitsikamma.
It's day 3 on the Otter Trail which hasn't gotten any easier for @Azania_ as she prepares for an even more challenging day 4 for a four hour hike through the tsitsikamma dark and river crossing.— 702 (@Radio702) November 26, 2020
Day 4 - 13.3 kilometres
Camping in her backyard, walking up and down the Westcliff stairs with a backpack filled with cans, none of these could have prepared her for what she experienced on day four of the hike.
To reach the river crossing at low tide, she awoke at 1:30 am to cover the 10km it takes to get to the Bloukrans River. Thereafter, the group navigated the Skeleton Gorge under a moonlit night sky.
Hiking at night is quite an experience, so surreal, almost unreal. I did Skeleton Gorge partly under night sky but there was moonlight.Azania Mosaka, Presenter — 702
At 6:30 am, Azania reached the river crossing, patiently watching the river until the tide got lower. Weakened by the lack of sleep, when it was time to cross, Azania was knocked over by a wave which swept her backpack away. Fortunately for her, the hikers behind her managed to grab the bag, thereby saving her belongings.
Day 5 - 10.8 kilometres
10.8km later and Azania was doing her victory dance to the end.
The final hike along the Klip River led Azania to the De Vasselot rest camp where she received her Otter Trail certificate. She completed the experience with a celebratory meal at the Nature's Valley restaurant – her first real meal in five days.
A well deserved victory dance.— 702 (@Radio702) November 29, 2020
Well done on completing the Otter Trail, one of the most challenging and beautiful hikes in SA, the Otter Trail. Thanks to #NorflexGel, she was able to take on the adventure with confidence.#AzaniaDoesOtterTrail #MyFeelGoodMoment pic.twitter.com/z9dI5EOQX8
Back in the studio
Still recovering from the gruelling hike – the following Monday, Azania returned to the office, excited to share her experience with her listeners. She switched seats with her producer Jonathan (Khabazela) Fairbairn, who interviewed her about life on the Otter Trail.
Listen as she recounts her experience of the Otter Trail.
Congratulations Aza, we knew you could do it!
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