All About the Whale Trail

I was fortunate enough to do one of the best hiking trails South Africa has to offer!

If you love hiking and appreciate the outdoors, then the Whale trail is a MUST. It is a five day, 56km slack-packing trail through the De Hoop Nature Reserve that introduces you to some of the most beautiful scenery along the Western Cape coastline. The route from Potberg mountain to Koppie Alleen includes five overnight stops. The distance to each overnight cabin differs each day from easy to strenuous and takes approximately 4-8 hours of hiking per day.

What added to the atmosphere was the fact that this hike could cater for up to 12 people sharing. I met some amazing people who joined me on this incredible experience. Knowing this, I would suggest if you planning on going, you need to book in advanced because of the space limitation.

In order to enjoy the full extend of this amazing adventure, one needs to take the true sense of mother nature into consideration! In saying that, you should not be squeamish when it comes to mice or crickets or other bugs, as you would expect being out in the wild! Being in the nature reserve, we had to adhere to letting them roam as free as they like without harming them, and leave the food pyramid to its own devices. Snakes were pretty common too, as we saw the infamous Cape Cobra as well as the Berg Adder which was both scary and amazing at the same time! At one point, I had a meeting with the one Cape Cobra as it decided it wanted to introduce itself across my path. Bird life is incredible, having had an opportunity to see the Fish eagle and our countries National bird. Overall, you can expect to be greeted with a vast range of wild life. Unfortunately we didn’t see any whales, as whale season ended in August/October.

What to eat

What made this hike even more enjoyable was that your food and clothes were transported to each hut which made exploring nature just that much easier and exciting as you only carry your day pack. When it comes to food, avoid things that needs refrigeration, so preparation is key, as only the first hut had a fridge available.

Make sure you carefully plan your meals and snacks, these are essential for keeping your energy levels up while hiking.

Snacks

I wanted quick and easy snacks to keep me going throughout the hike which included:

  • A energy bar e.g. fututrelife lite – make sure that the sugar content is low
  • Nut butter/ nuts/ trail mix
  • 1-2 fruits (I always had fruit in my bag, I love my fruit and would always start off with a fruit)
  • Handful of mints
  • Biltong

Breakfast

  • Keep breakfast simple, you could have eggs, however I preferred a bowl of cooked oats topped with dried cranberries. This breakfast was quick, easy and kept me going for a couple hours.

Lunch/Dinner

  • I decided that the easiest thing to do was braai and have leftovers for lunch, which worked out quite well and saved a lot of time, this included:
    • Boiled baby potatoes and corn on the cob
    • Salad that was easy to travel with e.g. cucumber, cherry tomatoes, gherkins and onion etc.
    • And a variation of protein e.g. mostly chicken and some red meat, I prepacked the protein into vacuum sealed bags (this is key as your meat can go off by day 4-5) and kept it frozen in a mini cooler box that fitted in our portage.

I love my beans and fish, so it was a bit of a struggle having chicken and red meat everyday, so I quickly started craving fish. I promised myself to enjoy some lovely sashimi after and I have been eating fish everyday since!

What to pack

I found a check list to be quite helpful, as space is limited and you don’t want to forget your most important items:

  • Bed sheet
  • Sleeping bag
  • Hiking shoes
  • Water
  • Binoculars
  • Mask and snorkel
  • Matches
  • Torch
  • Hats
  • Sandals
  • Washing liquid and dish clothes + cutlery (it was provided
    but I packed in just in case)
  • Mosquito repellent or cream
  • Towel
  • Toilet paper (this was provided)
  • Small medical kit
  • Water boots
  • Clothes
  • Sunscreen (preferably higher than SPF 20)

MORE TIPS…

1.Use Ziplock bags

Pack dry food, like oats or trail mix, into ziplock bags. Ziplock bags work well and can double up as trash bags afterwards.2. Wear a hat

2. Wear a hat

It is important to bring a hat to keep your ears and face protected from the sun. The tops of your ears and back of your neck are highly susceptible to getting burned while on the trail, so either get some sunscreen and or wear a hat that keeps them covered, I used both.

3. Sunscreen

If it’s sunny outside and you’re hiking up a mountain with a cool breeze in your face, you probably won’t be able to tell that your ears and face are getting absolutely burned.  Get yourself some waterproof sunscreen (I recommend SPF 50) to cover up those ears, cheeks, and back of your neck.

4. Sunglasses

Sunglasses is a MUST, I used polarized sunglasses.

5. Cellphone

I would suggest you pack your phone away and enjoy nature, there is limited reception throughout the trail, so all we used our phones for was taking beautiful pictures of the scenery, also there is limited space to charge your phone at each hut depending on your group size. I would suggest bringing along a power bank if you have one.

6. Keep hydrated

Always make sure you are keeping well hydrated, we went through 2-3L water while hiking, we were lucky to have great sunny weather but you sweat a lot in this warm weather. Its a good idea to add re-hydrate to one of your water bottles to replenish your electrolytes.

Spring Clean Your Diet

Spring is in the air! Can you feel it?

If Winter did some damage (it happens to the best of us), and your exercise regime is almost non-existent, give these 10 Spring tips a go. No juice cleanses, restrictions or fasts – just good, healthy eating to break those nasty Winter habits so you can get back to feeling energetic and happy.

 

  1. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier – if you managed to wake up at 5am throughout Winter to fit in your 30 minutes of activity for the day, we salute you. For those who woke up when the sun made an appearance, try setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier to get into a good routine.
  2. Give caffeine the boot – limit yourself to 2 cups of coffee daily and instead of the 3rd and 4th (and sometimes 5th) cup of coffee, drink a glass of water. If water seems like the most unappetizing drink to opt for, try herbal teas or add cucumber, rosemary and strawberries to your bottle of water for a bit of flavour.
  3. Spruce up your pantry – no need for heavy, hearty meals. Ensure your kitchen is stocked with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains such as oats, bulgar wheat, rice noodles and quinoa, fish, chicken, eggs and lean meat and all the herbs and flavours of spring. We love grapefruit, pineapple, coconut and alllll the greens.
  4. Say no to sugar – it’s time to break the habit of tea and rusks, sugar-laden cereals, pastries and the frequent chocolate. Get in healthy sugars from fruit instead – your gut will thank you.
  5. Put a spring in your step – aim to get in some form of exercise at least 4 times a week. Gym, walking, hiking, or yoga… just get active and moving.
  6. Greens, greens, greens – a change in season usually means a stubborn flu is making the rounds. Load up on all your greens to ensure you are getting in all the immune boosting vitamins and minerals. Spring is also the time to get sprouting. Sprouts (broccoli sprouts specifically) are fantastic in helping your body to naturally detox itself.
  7. Load up on anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory foods – fighting off infection, eliminating bloating, decreasing oxidative stress. There is no reason to not be getting in these superhero foods. Include in your spring diet: cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, olives, walnuts, almonds, avocados, herbs and spices (turmeric, ginger, rosemary, cayenne pepper), garlic, spinach, kale, bok choy (all collard greens), tomatoes, beetroot, cacao, berries, prunes, raisins, apples, plums, oranges, red grapes, alfafa sprouts, red pepper and aubergine.
  8. Go meat-free Monday – start your week off right by opting for bean, peas, protein-rich grains or an egg-based lunch and dinner. This sets your week off right and gets you going for the week ahead. Try combining different beans, peas and grains to ensure you are getting in all the important amino acids that your body needs.
  9. Be mindful – listen to your body. Some days you need an extra green juice or a power nap. Be in tune with what your body is telling you. Rest when tired. Stop eating when you’re full.
  10. Take in your surroundings – be outside. Go for walks, hikes or picnics. Getting in a healthy dose of Vitamin D will work wonders for your energy levels.

Health and Wellness in the workplace

Health and wellness in the workplace

Healthy and empowered employees are happier and more productive.

Healthy employees are efficient, take fewer sick days and are more productive in your company. The reverse is also true – it is recognized that the workplace itself has a powerful effect on people’s health. When people are satisfied with their job, they are more productive and tend to be healthier. When employees feel that the environment at work is , which has a large impact on employee mental and physical health, and in turn, on productivity.

We have done various health and wellness days including:

  • Presentations at Parliament and Transnet
  • Assessments and consultations at Mr Price, Milady’s, Mr Price Financial Services, Swiss Re, Shelll and OMD.

We have seen that a good workplace wellness program has an impact on employees’ mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being, and of course productivity. It’s time to empower your employees with life-changing nutrition information.

benefits of wellness

 

Be Green

Today is SUCH an important day! It effects everyone, every insect, leaf and beautiful element in nature! …OK it’s “HugACat day” (weird but true) but more importantly it is “World Environment Day”.

This day highlights how we can conserve our environment…which I am so passionate about as it effects everything around us on every level imaginable! So my goal today is to give you the tools – how can you help?

Eat wisely: 

  •  Be aware of your FISH choices: The sea is being completely over fished – leading to destruction of the most beautiful resource we have which obviously puts strain on the ecosystem and acts to lessen the fish supply to 70% of the world’s population that rely on fish as their staple protein source. See SASSI for the best fish choices.
  • Be a wise consumer – support businesses that have sustainability plans, use ecolabels, and invest in renewable energy. Woolies is a great example – more on their GBJ initiative! there’s so much happening in this regard so be aware.
  • Cut food waste – read expiry dates and plan meals ahead of time, if food is going off cook up a big batch of food and freeze it, give the food away if you know you won’t finish it before it expires
  • Grow your own veggies and herbs

Green UP!

  • Use less paper – rather rely on electronic files. Deforestation accounts for close to 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emission!!!!
  • Recycle! Google your local municipality or recycling company NOW…and save a tree 🙂
  • Try use your car less – car pool, use public transport, or even better walk or cycle…it’s healthier and saves petrol
  • Be water-wise! Turn off the tap when you’re not using it, wait until you have a full load to run your laundry or dishwasher, limit shower time, and don’t water your garden right after a rain or at midday
  • Be light on electricity! Turn off lights and unplug appliances when you aren’t using them (including cell phone chargers. Don’t heat your house when no one’s home.

Share this message with everyone you know! 

I hope that these easy steps become habit, if not so already…MAKE THE WORLD A GREENER PLACE. For more info see the World Environment Day website.