Espresso Camino

“The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human. To damage this community is to diminish our own existence.” Thomas Berry

The nature trail that we select for an Espresso Camino is done with care. It is always a popular, slack-packing trail that requires moderate strength and to which people are drawn to because of its natural beauty and a duration that makes it accessible to those who are employed full time. The essence of the trail being an ‘Espresso Camino’ is found in our approach, the activities we engage in while on the trail and the knowledge we impart to you. In a fun but deeply profound way we engage all your natural senses and most often nature’s power and intelligence takes over and provides each individual with wonderful insights. Many people who contemplate walking a pilgrimage (Camino) in Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, etc.) or even in our own beautiful South Africa, are unsure about how to approach it or prepare for it. Irrespective of the reasons why you wish to do a pilgrimage, this Espresso Camino lays the foundation of your extended Camino for you.
“Always think of the universe as one living organism, with a single substance, and a single soul.” Marcus Aurelius

We start every day with a walking meditation and engage nature with the respect it deserves. There is adequate time for silence and reflection mingled with conversations with each other and with your coach/facilitator. In the evening we form a circle and share our individual experiences and thus build a collective awareness and unity consciousness that often leads to much deeper insight and understanding of the issues and challenges we all face.
“This earth which is spread out like a map around is but the lining of my inmost soul exposed.” Henry David Thoreau said, 1850

The invitation is now open for 10 people to walk the exquisitely beautiful and very popular Whale Trail in the Western Cape Province of South Africa with us from 5 – 10 November 2016.

Should you be interested, kindly send an e-mail to


1. What is slack-packing?

Slack-packing is like back-packing but without you needing to carry a backpack with everything you need. Instead, you only carry a day pack with snacks and water and your gear is transported to your next destination by car.

2. How fit must I be for the Whale Trail?

  • Day 1: 14,7km – moderate to strenuous (about 8 hours)
  • Day 2: 15km – moderate (about 8 hours)
  • Day 3: 8.5km – easy (about 6 hours)
  • Day 4: 10.5km – moderate (about 6 hours)
  • Day 5: 7km – easy (about 6 hours, 2 hours of actual walking)

*Walking time allows for several comfortable break periods

To assist you in getting moderately fit for the trail, you can find a walking programme to follow below:

3. What do I need to take?

  • Day back pack: ± 30 liters, adjusted for your body
  • Sleeping gear: sleeping bag; pillow; headlamp
  • Clothing: hiking shorts x 2; t-shirts (or long sleeved synthetic shirts if sensitive to sun); tracksuit pants/gym tights; fleece/sweatshirt (something warm for evening); underwear; socks (thick and thin); comfortable shoes, e.g. sandals (this could come in handy for exploring the tidal pools), hiking shoes (worn in, Goretex ensures good water-proofing); rain clothes (rain pants and jacket or poncho); sunhat; beanie; bandana
    * Optional: swimming costume
  • Toiletries: own towel; sunblock; UV lip protection; insect repellant (e.g. Tabard); bio-degradable soap & shampoo; other personal toiletries; toilet paper for trail
  • First aid kit*: own prescribed medicine; anti-septic (Dettol); for prevention & care of blisters – zinc oxide tape, vaseline; compeed/blister plaster, needle & thread; pills including those that you think you might need based on self-knowledge, e.g. anti-inflammatory pills, pain pills, pills for cramps, nausea, diarree, general antibiotic, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, surgical spirits, etc.
    **We also take a basic medi-kit
  • Food: own snacks for every day hiking
    ** Snacks to be nutritious, i.e. energy bars, cheese wedges, nuts, raisins, etc.
    There are no refrigerators in the cottages so please keep this in mind when purchasing your snacks.
  • Other essentials: sunglasses; water bottles or bladder
  • Optional: camera (plus spare batteries); binoculars. Cell phone signal is sporadic.
  • Very important

    You have only a 60 litre container in which all your gear and clothing must fit. This will be transported to the next cottage every day by car.

    4. What do I carry in my day back pack?

    • Water bottles or bladder (sufficient for carrying 2 litres of water)
    • Sunglasses, sunblock & sunhat
    • Snacks for the day
    • First aid kit
    • Toilet paper, matches & bag for own waste (no toilets or bins on trail)
    • Rain clothes and rain cover for day back pack
    • * Optional: camera & binoculars

    5. How does the accommodation work?

    We will stay in a different cottage on the trail every night. Your container will be transported for you by car to the next cottage so you only need to take your daypack with you every day. Your container can weigh a maximum of 30kg when packed. Please leave valuables like jewelry at home, all other valuables will be locked away at the departure point on day 1.

    6. What about water?

    Underground water is utilized on the trail which is safe for drinking except at Noetsie where we stay over on night 2, where there is a copper tap in the kitchen which is the drinking water tap.

    All the huts have gas geysers to supply hot water for showers and kitchen sinks.

    7. What about food?

    • Must I take my own food? No, except your snacks which is your responsibility, all food will be arranged for you but preparing it will be a communal task every morning and night.
    • What if I have special dietary needs? Limited space (we have only two containers for food) may prevent us from being able to cater for your dietary needs but, depending on the requirements, we will attempt to do so.

    8. Is there access to medical help?

    This is a wilderness walk and thus we are far from medical help and relying on each other and our collective first aid knowledge. However, CPR and basic first aid knowledge is available.

    9. Is transport provided/included?

    We do not provide transport. We will however, assist you as far as possible with advice or referrals to make any transport arrangements easier.

    10. What else do I need to bring along?



The Walking Programme

  • Stage 1: Everyday, 15 min @ 55% HR max (Borg scale = 9)
    Perform stage 1 for 1 week
  • Stage 2: Everyday, 20 min @ 50-55% HR max (Borg scale = 10)
    Perform stage 2 for 1 week
  • Stage 3: Everyday, 20 min @ 60% HR max (Borg scale = 11)
    Perform stage 3 for 1 week
  • Stage 4: Every 2nd day, 30 min @ 60% HR max (Borg scale = 12)
    Perform stage 4 for 2 weeks
  • Stage 5: Every 2nd day, 35 min @ 60% HR max (Borg scale = 13)
    Perform stage 5 for 2 weeks
  • Stage 6: Every 2nd day, 40 min @ 60% HR max (Borg scale = 14)
    Perform stage 6 for 2 weeks
  • Stage 7: Every 2nd day, 30 min @ 65% HR max (Borg scale = 15)
    Perform stage 7 for 2 weeks
  • Stage 8: Every 2nd day, 40 min @ 65% HR max (Borg scale = 16)
    Perform stage 8 for 2 weeks
  • Stage 9: Every 2nd day, 40 min @ 70% HR max (Borg scale = 17)
    Perform stage 9 for 2 weeks
  • Stage 10: Every 2nd day, 45 min @ 75% HR max (Borg scale = 18)

(courtesy of Leon Keulder – Biocineticist)


“Walking the Whale Trail with Anita as our team leader and coach was a unique and extraordinary endeavour. Surrounded by the remarkable scenery at De Hoek and majestic whales so close I could look them in the eye, I had to confront my own physical and emotional limitations, rain, fatigue, discomfort and an unfamiliar sense of the demands of basic survival. While barely able to process the beauty of sky and cloud, the sea, fynbos, rock formation and grasses, I became deeply aware of my “sameness and my differentness”. I felt so close to the other members of my group but also at moments completely alone and isolated. This mindfulness and sense of being in the moment most of the time, brought to me a renewed sense of being part of earth, nature, humanity and ultimately Life itself. I cried yes, but mostly I sang and laughed out loud. It was one of the most enriching and fulfilling experiences of my life.”
~ Engela van der Hoven

"What a life changing experience! An Absolute must for the bucket list. Varieties of wild flowers and plants, whales walloping in the sea, long sandy beaches, rocks, cliffs and pools.
Anita organised this adventurous trail well in advance, she was excellent in the planning of the trip.
This is 5 star for hikers especially with the transport luggage option, the logistics such as food and baggage are taken care of. The huts are all well-equipped and maintained mostly set in unbelievable beautiful locations. We were very lucky as we had tons of whale sightings during the trail.
The scenery is stunning, although the hike is not a walk in the park! There were a few challenges on this trail, especially the cliffs which was a major obstacle for me. I have enormous fear of heights, Anita coached me step by step, putting herself in danger to help me overcome this fear. The comradeship on our trip was amazing, everyone supported one another.
We had so much fun, the sore feet with blisters and tired bodies were soon forgotten. Too little wine, our last evening we wanted to exchange our meat for wine…"
~ Henna Wagener

“Human subtlety… will neither devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct that does nature, because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.” Leonardo da Vinci circa 1470