Wild Coast is a picturesque adventure. Just under 30 kilometres outside East London stretching past Port St. Johns, the Wild Coast boasts the rendezvous of fauna, flora and the Indian Ocean. As it takes you through the former Transkei Region, this route offers various hiking, camping and aquatic experiences await you, while the local crafts markets make for immaculate souvenirs…
Look no further than Port St Johns, the jewel of the Wild Coast, if you wish to become one with nature. Surrounded by towering cliffs, covered in dense indigenous forest with beautiful beaches stretching to the north and south, Port St Johns is a relaxed town with sub-tropical weather making it a year round Wild Coast destination.
With the Wild Coast Sun & Casino near Port Edward providing a fun, family focused, home-away-from-home gaming destination; the Wild Coast has emerged as one of the preferred golfing destinations in South Africa. A variety of other outdoor activities are available indulge in. The area also boasts two nature reserves, Hluleka and Mkhambati which welcomes guests with affordable accommodation, game viewing, bird watching, whale viewing and fishing activities.
Scattered along the coastal route are the villages of Coffee Bay and Hole-In-The-Wall. The homely lodges and bars, excellent fishing and breath-taking hikes culminate in a beachcomber’s dream. Explore the region by helicopter or canoe, take a boat trip to view the whales or watch the dolphins in the surf while you fish, the Wild Coast will take your breath away.
High cliffs and distinctly round, thatched traditional huts define the inland area. Many of South Africa’s political leaders hail from Mthatha where you can visit the beautiful Lucha nature reserve, Mthatha Dam, the Tutor Ndamase Pass and the Langeni Pass.
Linking the Wild Coast and the Sunshine Coast is the Jikeleza Route, often labelled the tame area of the Wild Coast. Made up of a cluster of more than 50 tourism attractions, this fast growing popular scenic coastal tourism route offers over 28 unique accommodation establishments ranging from five star luxury boutique hotels to South Africa’s best rated backpackers. Only 30km away from East London’s airport, this mild-to-wild bush-to-beach route is perfect for the adrenaline junkie or for those wanting to escape from the beaten.
Highlights to discover
Did you know? The Wild Coast is one of the few places you’ll see cattle chewing the cud on the beach.
The Hole in the Wall is a rocky archway set just off the Wild Coast, south of Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape. The little holiday village close by shares the same name. This landmark was created millions of years ago through the restless action of waves against sandstone and shale.
Set along the shoreline overlooking the rocky formation that gave the tiny holiday village its name, this Wild Coast settlement south of Coffee Bay attracts beach lovers and anglers in equal numbers.
The instantly recognisable rock formation is made up of Ecca shale and sandstone, capped with hard volcanic dolerite. It stands before the mouth of the Mpako River and is the source of many legends. In the IsiXhosa language, this area is called esiKhaleni, which means ‘the place of sound’. Some say it’s because, under certain conditions, the waves slap the rocks with a resounding cracking sound, while it roars during storms.
Others say it refers to a Xhosa legend involving a young maiden who fell in love with one of the mythical ‘sea people’. Such was the love of this sea person for the maiden that he and his people rammed a hole in the side of a lagoon wall with the help of a huge fish so they could reach her; she was never heard from again. In this version, it’s the voices and singing of the sea people that give the name esiKhaleni.
Either way, Hole in the Wall is one of the landmarks of the Wild Coast.
Geologists say that the cliff walls were once joined to the land. Continuous wave action against the softer sandstone rocks wore them away. The same happened to the more vulnerable shale and sandstone under the hard dolerite, creating the archway.
Locals also believe this is a gateway to the world of their ancestors.
The Transkei is the esteemed birth place to many leaders of the Apartheid Revolution – the most recognised of them being Nelson Mandela. It is fitting that along the splendid Wild Coast, a Nelson Mandela Museum, endorsed by the icon himself, adds a rich experience of heritage to your to-do list.
Visit http://www.nelsonmandelamuseum.org.za/ for more information on the museum.
With trail routes you absolutely have to experience, accommodation is available along the routes to ensure that you pace your hikes and not miss out on the beautiful scenery along the way.
Visit http://www.wildcoastwalk.co.za/ for more information.
‘People who say there is no heaven on earth have clearly never been on a horse.’
Wonderful beaches and bush trails of the Wild Coast are best explored on the back of a horse in Chinsta.