KAYAK (& LILO) UP THE STORMS RIVER
This two-to three-hour adventure starts with a paddle in a two-man kayak on the Indian Ocean, passing under the iconic Storms River suspension bridge – a popular picturesque stop on the Garden Route (an hour from Knysna or two from Port Elizabeth) – and heading into the river mouth. Pretty soon our expedition is in the formidable Storms River gorge, which is over 100 metres high in some places. The river guides share the history of the woodcutters who used to inhabit the area and you’ll see the caves they often slept in – now home to a big Egyptian fruit bat colony. Chances are also good you’ll spot dark shadows in the water as you paddle. The Storms River is a prime
‘nursery’ for ragged-tooth sharks and rays that shelter from sea predators until they’re mature. Otters and seals could also pop up at any moment. Once in safer water behind a boundary of big river rocks, the kayaks are stashed and the journey continues on heavy-duty lilos. It’s a lazy paddle upriver and the guides know the best rocks for jumping off. In summer you don’t need a wetsuit and the sea is more likely to be calmer – when I visited in October, big waves meant we had to kayak from the river rather than the ocean and its famous marine-protected reefs full of fish. Locals reckon that February is the best time to visit.
Keep an eye on the water for shark-shaped shadows. OPPOSITE, FROM TOP The journey passes below the concrete arches of the Paul Sauer suspension bridge, and right under the rivermouth footbridge, down into the gorge; later on, lilos allow access to enticing nooks and rock hopping.
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