The Oyster Catcher stage trail run follows the famous Oyster Catcher hiking route, from the Gouritz River Mouth to Mossel Bay via the St Blaize hiking route along the Southern Cape coastline in the Garden Route of South Africa. The Oystercatcher trail is a world-acclaimed experience, a lighthouse-to-lighthouse trail rated by National Geographic Traveller as “One of the Top 50 tours of a lifetime” with the BBC classing it as one of “30 Unforgettable hikes to do…” and the local Getaway Magazine rating it as one of the top 5 South African hiking routes.
Names like the Gourikwa Nature Reserve, Boggomsbaai, Vleesbaai and the St Blaize hiking trail are places you may never have heard of, while Mossel Bay, the Garden Route and Gouritz River Mouth are place names you are more likely to be familiar with on the South African map, running along breath-taking beaches, dunes, cliffs and fynbos (natural shrubland vegetation unique to South Africa). It is in this area that the Oyster Catcher trail run takes place, over three days. The trail run took runners along some of the most spectacular coastlines the country has to offer with a variety of raptors, smaller birdlife and marine species as inhabitants, including the famous and vulnerable African Black Oyster Catcher. These waders are found in the area, giving the route its name and was until recently on the endangered species list. Part of the initiative of this run is to re-kindle the runners with nature and create awareness to the plight of the species, as well as educate visitors to preserve the fragile ecosystem.
Day one took the runners along a 20km circular route into the Gourikwa Private Nature Reserve where they ran past the towering Ystervarkpunt (Porcupine point) lighthouse, on mainly coastal and jeep tracks. Day two brought some more technical areas over another 20km with runners starting at Gouritz River Mouth, on the opposite side of the river, ending in Boggemsbaai. On the final day, the route wrapped around the cliffs of the St Blaize hiking trail in Mossel Bay, starting at Dana Bay beach to The Point, Mossel Bay. The route passes the Pinnacle Point Caves where recent Mitochondrial DNA research has shown that all humans alive today descend from a small population that lived here between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. New archaeological research has revealed that at least some of those people lived in the area now known as Mossel Bay.
In 2023, the 2-day and 3-day events will once again, take place over the same weekend and follow a similar route, with a dedicated luxury tent race village, situated at Boggomsbaai. This is the ideal breakaway weekend for the whole family. Here you can escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy a weekend of trail running, magnificent views, fresh air and freedom along the Southern Cape coastline. The Oyster Catcher trail run is primarily designed for trail runners looking to complete their first multi-day stage race. The distances covered are manageable and the terrain is made up mainly of single track (hiking trails) and beach running, with some technical areas to add variety. Due to the sensitivity of the area, a limited number of only 500 runners can enter each year. Don’t miss out!
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