One of the most prominent features of Mossel Bay is the Point. This is where summer holidaymakers camp for weeks on end, where locals take walks along the rocks and waves or drink a coffee at Delfino’s, where you can find a Portuguese-themed restaurant and even a tattoo shop. All with the St. Blaize lighthouse looming on the rocky cliffs, an important beacon for passing vessels. The lighthouse looks out over a circular parking space underneath the Point’s distinctive hollow cave, with signposts of information on local marine species and ancient human inhabitants of Mossel Bay. When you pass this cave, you find yourself on the St. Blaize Trail.
The name, of course, immediately makes me think of Elton John’s “The trail we blaze” from The Road to El Dorado’s soundtrack. The song was stuck in my head for just about two hours during our hike. It’s not the most difficult trail, especially if you’re an experienced hiker. In fact, you don’t even have to walk the entire 13km if you don’t want to – some locals simply take their daily morning walks on the trail. The difficulty comes in, however, when you have to try and keep your eyes on the road with the majestic expanse of blue horizon to your left.
It might just sweep you off your feet.
We were a company of three: me, my fiance and our travel and environmental journalism intern for the month, Anisa. Though the weather wasn’t as pleasant as we’d hoped, it might have been a blessing in disguise as we walked for three hours exposed to the open sky and ocean air. The entire route stretches from beneath the lighthouse, past two golf courses (the Garden Route Golf Estate and Pinnacle Point) to Dana Bay. We only walked about 5 or 6 before resting at a hidden cave, accessible via a little off-road footpath to the left from the marked path. This is also the point where we turned around – there’s a gate on the trail where the first golf estate starts. It closes at 6 pm, so it’s important to make it back in time.
There’s another hidden route, about 3 km in, that leads down to another big cave. I went there the previous time I was on the St. Blaize. You can walk right through the rock cliff to the other side. It opens up into a large cavern looking out over only rocks and blue sea. The tide obviously makes a difference here, as you might get stuck when the waves come in too high. This is a breathtaking view and also a nice snack or lunch spot, but if you’d like to go there, make sure you do it with someone who’s been there before – it’s a little more high-risk than the marked path. And you’re not going to feel like doing the rest of the 13 km after it, so it’s a good option for a shorter morning or afternoon hike.
It’s quite spectacular to hike back in with the last rays of the sun guiding you. We ended off with a drink at Big Blu, a beach style restaurant right next to the naturally formed stretch of rock swimming pool known as the Poort.
The next time I’m hiking the St. Blaize, I’m definitely going all the way to Dana Bay. One can never get enough of an endless ocean horizon as your hiking companion.