A 62km slackpack hiking holiday over 4 days/3 nights between Oyster Bay, St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis.

And our hikers say …

Thank you so much for a well organised trail. You took great care of us. Thanks too to Eric for all he did.
So far my knee seems okay.

Just to say thank you for booking us yet another lovely place to stay for the last night. We’ve so enjoyed everything you and Eric arranged for us and the walking was superb.
We loved spending time with you both – and our 4 fellow walkers who were great company too.
We wish you all the very best with the Chokka Trail and hope maybe one day to meet again.
Take care
Carol & John, UK

From all of us, we want you to know that we had a wonderful and memorable experience. Great company, food, accommodation and beauty. Also, your organising was top notch. Well done. Keep up the excellent work. Please also convey our appreciation to Eric especially for his “markers” in the sand dunes. It was a privilege to know you. Jill would like you to know that even though she never hiked, she thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.

The Lord bless and enrich both your lives and the wonderful work you are engaged in.
Kind regards

A big thank you for all your organising that went into making the Chokka Trail such a memorable experience for us. It is appreciated !
Kind regards

On behalf of our group I would like to say that we had a great time on your hike. We also agree that it was one of our better ones in the thirteen years of doing this together. We thank you and your team for the professional way in which you work. ie mixing but not too much over the top if you get what I mean.
Thanks and best wishes
Arthur Brindley

Thank you for a delightful hike! It was truly wonderful to explore a beautiful new part of South Africa and to meet you and all the amazing people who work together with you and make this trip a memorable experience in all spheres! I also have to compliment you on your organisational skills and for the great package that you have created. I certainly intend to come back and hike your new trail!

As promised herewith recipes:

Pasta sauce: fry chopped garlic and a little chopped onion in sunflower oil. When golden add calamari wings cut into small pieces and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Add tinned tomatoes (always best to blend if the tomatoes are whole) – or you can add fresh tomatoes cut into small pieces skin removed – salt, pepper or little chilli and some chopped parsley. Partially cover with a lid and allow to simmer on medium to low heat for about 40 minutes or until calamari are tender.

Pasta sauce: fry chopped garlic in oil, add calamari wings (cut into small pieces), chilli and chopped parsley. Allow to simmer until water from calamari has evaporated and add white wine. (no tomatoes in this recipe)

Risotto: fry chopped garlic and a little chopped onion in sunflower oil. When golden add calamari cut into small pieces and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Add Arborio rice and allow to simmer until rice starts to crackle so it absorbs the oil. Add one glass white wine and allow rice to absorb. Continue to slowly add water or stock (I use plain fish stock which I freeze after boiling fish or you can use a fish stock cube). When rice is cooked add a few spoons of fresh cream, stir well and top with chopped parsley. Some people enjoy grated parmesan over the rice and also a little chilli added in whilst cooking is great.

Main dish: fry chopped garlic, onion and chilli with oil and knob of butter. Add calamari pieces and lots of chopped parsley and some chilli. Allow to simmer for a few minutes and add fresh chopped tomato, white wine and when evaporated some water. Cover and cook on low heat for around 2 hours or until calamari is done. Gently fry peas in a separate pan with some butter and onion and add to calamari just before serving. Alternative suggestion: add potato cubes instead of the peas but they must be added to the pot of calamari when the calamari are half cooked. The potato dish is really good try it!

Marinated calamari: place calamari in a pot containing salt, water and white vinegar (depends on your taste on how much vinegar you want to add – generally 1 or 2 cups of water to 1 cup of vinegar – or you can add lemon juice instead) I bay leaf, a carrot, some celery and pepper corns. Bring to boil and allow to cook until tender. Drain well, cut into pieces and add chilli, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and cover with oil (calamari tends to absorb oil so check if you have to add more to cover it) Seal and leave overnight. Can be eaten as a starter with fresh bread or as a light lunch or snack.

Hot or cold meal: cut calamari (and tentacles if you want to) into pieces. Place in saucepan with one large chopped onion, 2 or 3 bay leaves, chopped garlic, fresh or tinned tomato and olive oil. Cook for a while and then add red wine and a little vinegar and sugar. Salt and pepper. Cook until water has evaporated.

Best wishes to you, your husband and team for every success and fulfilment in your ventures.

Thank you for the wonderful time that we spent with you. It was the best “hike” that Barbara and I have been on in many years. The accommodation and food were excellent. We will always remember the walks, the boat ride around the houses, the visit to the golf course and the penguins, and of course all the lovely fynbos in the nature reserve and the whole area.

Jeremy and Barbara

Kort skryfsel om dankie te sê vir lekker stap, lekkerder kuier en gawe mense. Ons is al so gewoond aan die gejaag en dinge wat nie regtig die moeite (en geld) werd is nie, dat ons niks meer verwag nie.. Hierdie stap was onverwagse verrassing. Goeie reëlings, lekker kos en mense wat nie net vriendelik is omdat hulle betaal word nie. Dit voel soos familiekuier waar die mense nog regte mense is. Geluk met professionele, maar uitstaande diens wat jy lewer. Elke gastehuis, elke ete, al die mense betrokke het dit goedvoel ervaring gemaak.

Wens julle net die beste toe, baie besprekings, goeie tye en baie genade vir jou en jou gesin.

Die Stapsusters

Sjoe!  Ons het regtig ‘n fantastiese tyd saam met julle gehad!  Dankie weer eens,


Ek wil net baie baie dankie se vir ‘n wonderlike week se stap. Ek is trots op myslf dat ek alles kon stap.  Julle doen pragtige werk daar om die natuur te help bewaar.


Uit die boeke, die beste ervaring in jare!


Thanks so very very much for an absolutely fabulous hike with you – you made it so easy peasy and pleasant and well beyond our expectations – we were not used to all the lovely food and sleeping places and pampering!  I have persuaded all family and friends to book NOW and do it soon – so let’s see!

Love Nets

Ons is nou ‘n dag terug in die stad en in erge depro!  Nogmaals dankie vir ‘n onvergeetlike paar dae!


Thank you so very much!  It was just outstanding!!!  You are the best!


Thank you for a wonderful trail.  It was so enlightening and beautiful you have a wonderful talent for hosting and organising these trails.  We enjoyed every moment.  We wish you all the best in this venture.

Marian and Sore Feet Chris!

Hi Esti

Just a word of thanks from all of us on the Chokka Trail.  The hospitality, the accommodation and the trails were magic.  Unfortunately the weather interfered with the scheduling of the hikes, but it saved us great embarrassment in admitting that we could never have completed the 18 km hike on the sand dunes.  We were delusional to think that we were as fit as we were 10 years ago.  We are all pleased that you insisted that we do the dunes.  It was an experience we would have regretted missing (9 km was quite sufficient for us).

Day three has been voted as the most enjoyable day, the sand dunes a close second.

Thanks again to you, Eric and Kathy for your patience with us.

Kind regards

Audrey (ERHC Club)

This is a very long overdue e-mail to thank you both for the wonderful time that we spent in the Cape St. Francis area in October with you. It was the best “hike” that Barbara and I have been on in many years. The accommodation and food were excellent. We will always remember the walks, the boat ride around the houses, the Chokka boat, the visits to the golf course and the penguins, and of course all the lovely fynbos in the nature reserve and the whole area.

Jeremy and Barbara

On our way, what a great hike!  Thank you for everything, we hope to see you again next year.  We think you are doing a great job, please thank all involved.

Bo, Laurie, Rebekah and Ava

Baie dankie vir alles!  Gaan asseblief voort met julle uitmuntende werk om mense soos ek, wat nie baie van bewaring af weet nie, aan hierdie area voor te stel en meer oor die natuur te leer.  Ons mis jou gasvryheid en vriendelikheid.  Dit was wonderlik, ons kom beslis weer.


Namens die groep wil ek julle bedank vir die wonderlike geleentheid wat ons gehad het om die roete te kon stap.

Die gasvryheid en vriendelikheid van die mense by die gastehuise was ongelooflik en ons het heerlik daar gekuier en ontspan. Niks was vir hulle te veel moeite nie.

Ons het baie gepraat oor of ‘n gids nodig is en tog tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die roete uniek is en van die dae word ‘n gids verseker vereis. Wat vir ons lekker was dat een persoon (in ons geval jy en nie sommer iemand uit die gemeenskap nie) saamgestap het elke dag. Ek dink dit is lekkerder en mens raak gemaklik met mekaar.  Ons sal verkies dat een persoon die gids is vir die hele tyd, maar dalk is dit nie altyd moontlik nie.

Ons wens vir julle baie stapvoete vir die toekoms toe en dat almal dit net so sal geniet soos ons.

Rialda en groep

Once again thanks for an awesome hike, you truly were a super star.

Many thanks, Maggi

Thank you for a delightful hike! It was truly wonderful to explore a beautiful new part of South Africa and to meet you and all the amazing people who work together with you and make this trip a memorable experience in all spheres! I also have to compliment you on your organisational skills and for the great package that you have created. I certainly intend to come back and hike your new trail!


Thanks again for a really well organised hike. We all loved it and both you and your husband add value to this experience.


We are back in Cape Town and all the hiking gear has been washed and packed away – we brought lots of white white sand back!  Thank you again for showing us a beautiful and interesting eco-system – we will tell our friends about it.


Your team at the Chokka Trail are very special people who have greatly enriched our appreciation of this beautiful area.  Thank you for dealing with this “A type” fun loving and often exasperating group! We had a wonderful hike.

Love Sarah.

I just want to say a VERY BIG thank you to you both for making our hike so absolutely wonderful and memorable.  You are both so very committed and really go the extra mile (miles and miles!).  We truly appreciated all your kindness and were just sorry to not have told you in person.

Kind regards

Brenda and all the family

Can’t believe we finished our long awaited hike a week ago. The Chokka Trail was wonderful and we all enjoyed it. We will definitely recommend it to all our friends.

The accommodation was very good with beautiful scenery from every window and the food was a gourmet’s delight. Everyone enjoyed the lunch packs and even had extra to take home for another hike.

An added benefit was our knowledgeable guides, Esti, Eric and Maggie. What a pleasure to share the delights of nature with you.

We all agreed that we received real value for money with the sherry, canal cruise, home cooking (thank you Sandy), chokka tasting and wine, visit to the penguin rehab centre, lovely wood fires burning – I could go on and on!

Thank you, John and Diane.

Hi Esti and Eric

Again, thank you for such a fantastic experience. You guys were too generous in your support and accommodation. Many thanks to Uncle Brian too. His boat trip and house was great. In a nutshell, money well spent.

Anyway, I just thought I’d let you know, if you don’t know by now, we have organised a pub to pub walk to raise funds for SANCCOB. The event will be on 3 October. We hope it will be a big one. You guys keep well.

C ya, Tim.


Ek het gisteraand terug gekeer van die Chokka Stap by St Francis en wil graag die volgende se:

1. Dit was een van die beste “slack-packing” stappe wat ek nog gedoen het.

2. Die kos ten alle tye was uitstekend (eintlik was die gepakte middag-ete wat elke dag voorsien was te veel vir my).

3. Die verblyf by die 3 verskillende gaste-huise waar ons oornag het gerieflik, skoon, en die gashere baie tegemoetkomend.

4. Elke dag was die gids wat ons vergesel het ‘n bron van inligting en het dit vir elke persoon aangenaam gemaak.

5. Ek sal definitief die roete wil aanbeveel vir soveel mense as wat ek kan.

As ek hierdie stap vergelyk met die *****,  dan gee ek die Chokka 10/10 en die ******* 7/10.

Almal in my groep van 11 het aangedui dat hulle graag weer die roete sal wil stap, en ek vertrek die 14 Augustus om die ***** te gaan stap, sal dit dan vergelyk met die Chokka, maar ek is seker dat waarde vir geld, die kennis van die gidse, en die stap self nie beter sal wees as die Chokka nie.

Groete, Ina

Goeiedag Esti

Ons dink nog met groot dankbaarheid aan die aangename tydjie by julle en aan die besonder mooi staptog. Hopelik kan ons dit weer doen.

Hartlike groete, asb ook aan Eric, Andre en Elsa

Hallo Esti

Dit het bietjie lank geneem om al ons foto’s van die stappery verwerk te kry, maar ek heg vir jou ‘n paar van myne hierby aan.

Op pad terug het ek en George toe by Driekwartblou oorgeslaap en dit baie geniet. Dankie dat jy jou vriendin se gastehuis aanbeveel het. Haar kos is uitstekend en sy en haar man albei baie vriendelik.

Ons vertel land en sand van ons interessante stap en verblyf saam met julle en ook van die lekker oorslaapplek oppad na julle toe. Nogmaals baie dankie vir die aangename tyd wat ons saam met julle deurgebring het.

Groete, Liz en George

Hallo daar!

Wil net weer sê ons het die Chokka roete vreeslik geniet – dit was ‘n unieke, onvergeetlike ervaring. Baie dankie vir julle gasvryheid en professionele manier waarop die hele roete gereël is. Ek stuur paar foto’s wat ons tussen die groep bymekaargemaak het.

Groete daar, Gawie, Petro, Lucas, Jeanette, Casper, Leon, Tony, Henriette, Mariki, Naomi en Edna

Hi Esti and Eric!!

Just to thank you again every so much for a simply wonderful hike!!  Much love, Dave and Gillian

Goeienaand Eric en Esti!

Graag wil ons julle bedank vir ‘n great langnaweek se stap op die Chokka Trail.  Baie dankie vir die gasvryheid en puik organisasie, hoogs aantebeveel!!!

Groete, Sampie en Seugnet

Hi Esti

Wow… Trans Baviaans is mos vir die gesoute ouens, maar miskien moet ek my boundries bietjie push.

Dankie vir ‘n magic hike, julle het ons wildste verwagtinge oortref, roete, vervoer, verblyf, vriendelikheid…dis ‘n hike en ‘n vakansie in een.

Ons het klaar besluit ons stap Chokka weer oor 3 jaar, met ‘n potjie golf op die laaste dag vir die mans en ‘n Spa-oggend vir die dames.

Groete en sal in kontak bly


Hi Esti,

Ek wil net baie dankie sê vir baie aangename Chokka Trail. Die reëlings was puik en ons het dit terdee geniet! Ons het net heeltemal te veel geëet! Ons was ook baie gelukkig met die weer, so, absoluut niks om oor te kla nie!

Vriendelike Groete


Hello Esti,

We are all home, photos are loaded on facebook and we are still finding jungle energy bars, apples and smelly socks amongst all our hiking stuff!

I just wanted to say thank you for an amazing experience. On the last night my eldest son said what a wonderful time he had and I knew then that the weekend had been a great success.

Please say a big thank you to Shaun, Frikkie and Eric for transport, post-dune drinks and guided tours. A big thank you to all of you!

Kind regards, Michelle

Good morning Estie,

I herewith wish to convey my appreciation to you and Eric. I really enjoyed the Chokka Trail very much and will certainly promote it to all who wish to listen.

The breakfast and suppers with Nick and at the Resort were really great.  It may have been easier to do the canal trip, but to have stayed in the Resort for two nights without it being necessary to pack and unpack. I enjoyed the company of the guides. Keep up the good work. I think you should consider escalating your prices somewhat.

Kind regards, Harold

Hi Esti,

We received very good feedback from the group from Boksburg who did the hike over the Easter weekend. Their slight disappointment that the hike was not a strenuous one, just convinced us that this is the hike for us. We were pleased to hear that there is an option to opt out half way on the long 18km dune day.

The Easter group raved about the hospitality, the food, the accommodation and organization on the hike. All sounded very good to us, so we would like to book for next year.

Regards, Audrey


Dit was heeeerlik! Baie baie dankie. Ek gaan vir ALMAL vertel van hierdie wonderlike slack packing en hoop om dit gou weer te doen!

Se ook asb dankie vir Wessel en Frikkie. Hulle was great!

Hoop jul het die naweek oorleef.


Dear Esti

Thanks so much for your reply. We are glad you have taken our comments in the way they were intended : constructive rather than negative!

Our very best wishes for the future of the Chokka Trail : we are very pleased to have explored your beautiful part of the world!

Regards, Helen

Hi Este,

A very big thank you for looking after us on your wonderful Chokka Trail. We really felt spoilt everyday and thoroughly enjoyed it – even in the 50 mile an hour wind! How lucky was I to spend 4 days with my children, it made turning 70 not so bad! Wishing you lots of success with your Trail in 2015.

Best wishes for a Happy Christmas, Sincerely, Mandy

Hi Esti and Eric

Thank you for an amazing experience. The perfect organization, personal attention and the extras such as the canal cruise, visit to penguin rehab centre, chokka boat and so much more made it a memorable hike.

Kind regards. Ione Ritchie

Dear Esti, It was lovely meeting you when we did the trail last week.
Your accommodation was all excellent, the people so friendly and helpful. The boat trip was a real plus at the end of a long day. Well done. Roland was a very good guide and made the last morning very interesting.

I hope you continue to do well with the hike in the future.
Regards, Merle

Hi Esti,

At last I have a chance to write to you!  Thank you for all the extras you did for Rosie and myself.  I know you were worried on Day 2 when we took so long over the dune hike.  I must say that at no stage did we feel at all worried about being 2 girls alone. It was a challenging day, but the big thing is that we managed and coped. It was a good feeling, once the legs had recovered. Rosie did suffer with a couple of nasty blisters, but all healed now.

All in all it was a super hike and in such a pretty area.  Good luck and best wishes, Scotty

Good morning Esti

I hope the sun has returned to your lovely St Francis ~ we were so lucky with our good weather last week on the trail – and only the last day of our stay was wet and miserable.

I had a successful trip across the road to the Ostrich shop and bought a georgous chocolate brown clutch bag ( of course I wanted a big bag but couldn’t afford!) we went to the Italian for supper that night and got caught in a downpour but our accomm at the Sand Lodge with Marc and Anneke was v comfortable and we each had our own room which meant we both got a good night’s sleep – no talking!

Scotty and I enjoyed the trail enormously – apart from bad blisters on both my feet which I’m still doctoring ! – even Day 2 hiking up the Sand River, though hard physically for us both, we never felt lost or in danger and even when we lost the footsteps of the others we knew we would eventually come out at the end – but it was lovely to see you and Kevin at the end of the fence I have to say – we were pretty tired – we were amazed at how fit the other 2 were but we think they hike all the time and Scotty and I don’t! actually it worked out well as we all got to hike at our own speed and no pressure which made it happy and stress free…

The inclusion of a canal boat trip, SANCCOB visit and calamari tasting are a very nice touch and add to the overall experience – keep them included!

All the best to you both in the forthcoming months – my adult children would love to do the Chokka and perhaps they will on their next trip to SA – I will come too and just relax!!!! No more Sand River! But the coastal hike is great and very beautiful – so maybe we will see you down there again!

Best regards and many many warm thanks – Rosie