Wild Coast Walk
Wild Coast Walk is for those wishing to experience the Wild Coast on foot but wants to spend each evening in the best hotels or lodges along the route, selected for quality and convenience. The Wild Coast of South Africa is one of the country’s most remote and beautiful coastlines. It is a prime hiking area with dramatic landscapes, unspoilt beaches, high dunes, wave-lashed rocks, shipwrecks, rolling hills and meandering rivers.
Type Guided hike, with porter service Location Wild Coast, Eastern Cape, South Africa Group size 2 – 20 people Duration 5 nights / 6 days Grading Easy Day Stages Between 6 km and 22 km Distance 56 km Terrain Beach and coastal trails Accommodation Hotels and lodges Meals Breakfast and packed lunches Cost R9 015 per person sharing for 4 persons Dates Best time March-June & Sep-Nov
The Wild Coast Walk is in an unspoilt natural environment- magnificent coastal setting, beaches, bush and sunshine. Enjoy whale and dolphin watching, birding, swimming, canoeing, fishing and excellent accommodation. Guides and porters from local Xhosa communities accompany hikers.
Scenery The area is a nature lover’s paradise, with access so limited that the only way to see some parts of the coastline is to hike. The scenery is spectacular. Empty white-sand beaches are separated by steep green hills, dramatic cliffs and rocky headlands. Sunrises and sunsets of breathtaking beauty. Experience peaceful tranquillity that is unsurpassed. Not only is the scenery unbelievably beautiful but this remote area of the country remains relatively untouched by the trappings of civilisation Activities A variety of activities compliment the hiking program : Pristine beaches offer secluded and quiet spots for swimming or to visit and enjoy. You will also have opportunities for birding, fishing, canoeing, whale and dolphin-watching and to explore shipwrecks and some traditional Xhosa villages along the way. In addition the lodges/hotels offer some free activities. Attractions The suspension bridge linking Mazeppa Bay mainland to an island. It is a favourite fishing spot. The Jacaranda shipwreck near Trenney’s Hotel The boat pont river crossing at Kei mouth. Sardine run Every year, between May and July, many millions of sardines travel north from the cold southern oceans of South Africa as they make their way up along the coastlines of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal in what is commonly known as the annual Sardine Run. The sardines come close enough to be seen from shore or even washed up on the beach. It occurs nowhere else on earth and can be witnessed from the beaches of the Wild Coast. Accommodation Spend every night in the comfort of coastal resorts, known for unique settings and warm hospitality. Culture and history The Wild Coast (formerly Transkei) is an area of historical and cultural significance. It is the traditional home of Xhosa-speaking people and was an independent homeland until 1994. It is a very distinct part of South Africa, full of tradition and local colour. Nelson Mandela is its most famous son. Guides and porters from local Xhosa communities accompany hikers every day, sharing their local knowledge, customs and culture with you.
The standard package is 5 nights but it is flexible. It can be extended to 8 nights or additional time can be spent at each or any resort thus turning it into a real holiday. An alternative 5 night itinerary is also available
5 nights standard option
The walks are slow, spending time to enjoy the beaches and to take a closer look at the unspoilt coast and rivers. You can stop and enjoy what is of interest to you or your group. A community guide will assist you with timing of walks to coincide with the tides and show you the best place to cross. The guide will also point out the marine- and wildlife, birds and ecology of the area. The walk starts north of the Kei River at Kob Inn. You will spend the first 4 days in, what was formerly known as, the Transkei. After crossing the Kei river the trail ends at Morgan BayDay 1: East London to Kob Inn (Drive 215 km- 4 hrs)You will arrive in East London and meet the Route Manager. Road transfer from East London, departs at 08h30am for a 4 hour, very scenic, journey. Refreshments on the bus and lunch at Kob Inn, the hotel on the rocks. Afternoon at leisure, retire to the bar for evening drinks and snacks before enjoying dinner, a few meters from the ocean. Optional extras:
Canoe quietly on the river taking in the prolific bird life. Quad bikes are available for hire.Day 2: Mazeppa Bay (6 km)The first day is an easy introduction to the trail. It is a scenic walk between towering sand dunes and along fisherman paths. You can either enjoy lunch at Kob Inn or walk to Mazeppa Bay with a packed lunch- swimming and sunbathing en route. The Hotel to be informed the previous night, which option you, prefer. Arrive Mazeppa Bay in the afternoon. Relax in this beautiful tropical setting and enjoy the interesting sights such as the island attached to the mainland via the suspension bridge, or a beautiful forest walk. Social, dinner and overnightDay 3: Wavecrest Hotel (22 km)After an early breakfast depart for Wavecrest. This day takes you along grassy banks adjacent to the coastline with many natural springs and long sandy beaches fringed with palms and many indigenous trees. Although the route is long, the terrain is flat, with lots to see at low tide. Enjoy the many swimming beaches along the way. Social, dinner and overnight. Optional extras: Enjoy a cruise or paddle a canoe up the Nxaxo river, renowned for magnificent bird life and the southern most natural Mangrove swamps. Unwind at the Wavecrest spa.Day 4: Trennery’s Hotel (14 km)The walk to Trennerys Hotel is timed to arrive at Kobanqaba River at low tide. This makes wading across easier. Soon thereafter you will pass the wreck of the Jacaranda. This is an interesting lunch stop and from here it is a short walk to the hotel. At the Qolora River you arrive at Trennery’s Hotel where you overnight. Spend the evening relaxing – exploring the area and enjoy a mouth-watering dinner.Day 5: Morgan Bay Hotel (14 km)After breakfast you can participate in either a visit to a Xhosa village or Trevor’s Trail, a three hour adventure (optional extra). Thereafter depart on the trail which includes crossing the Kei River on a pontoon, walking past the village of Kei Mouth, and a climb to the light house before returning to the beach to the last destination, Morgan Bay Hotel. Enjoy a last night at this well known family hotel, with superb cuisine.Day 6: Day of departure
After breakfast we transfer to East London airport, for departure
When extending the standard package, or for booking an alternative 5 night program, the following accommodation may be included, together with all, or some, of the standard hotels above.
Rates & Tour info
Rates for standard 5 nightsR 11 305 per person for 2 people and R9 015 per person for 4 people, sharing. Reduced rates determined by the number of persons, for groups up to 20, available on request20% deposit in order to secure the booking and the balance 6 weeks before the start of the walk.
IncludedTransfers from East London to start of trail and back to East London5 nights accommodation in lodges or hotelsBreakfast, packed lunches plus morning and afternoon tea/coffeePorter service to carry 12 kg backpack from one lodge to the nextCommunity guide
Not includedItems not mentioned above, eg :Flights or transport to and from East LondonEvening dinners, snacks and drinksFerry fees (currently R10 per person per ferry, which includes the fee for the porter)Travel Insurance.
Rates for the following alternative options of the Wild Coast Walk available on request:
- To extend the standard 5 nights to 8 nights (96-100 km)
- To spend more time at some of the hotels included in the standard 5 night program
- An alternative 5 night program (54-57 km)
GradingThe walk can be done by anyone who is reasonably fit and enjoys rambling. There are no serious challenges other than the river crossings. When river levels are high after heavy rains, a ferry will be arranged. Overall rating: “Easy”. You do not need to be ultra-fit but if you choose to do the walks you should be able to walk between 10 and 20 km per day. The route takes you along the coast and on paths.See Walking grades for more details about “Easy” rating.
When to do the Wild Coast Walk
Bookings can be made throughout the year. The best time is from March to June and from September to November. The weather on the Wild Coast is very variable but during winter it is usually better from a rain perspective but cold fronts are possible. Be prepared for hot as well as cool and wet conditions throughout the year.
The area has a comparatively high average rainfall, with the coastal and mountain regions receiving over 1 000 mm per annum. Snow is not uncommon at high altitudes in winter, but the remainder of the country is temperate with high sub-tropical temperatures along the coast in summer. The summer rainy seasons are sub tropically warm and pleasant, while the winters are mild and fine (and pleasant). High temperatures in January (mid summer) reach about 28 degrees C, and in June (winter) about 21 degrees, with lows of 17 and 9 degrees respectively.
Getting to East LondonFor international visitors:Fly to East London Airport.By car:Route from Johannesburg: 970 km with N1 and N6 via BloemfonteinRoute from Cape Town: 1 050 km via the N2 along the coastRoute from Durban: 660 km with N2
What to take on the Wild Coast Walk
Comfortable, well ventilated clothes as well as a thick windbreaker/jacket, raincoat, swimming costume, comfortable walking shoes and hiking sandals. For your daily needs, you are advised to have a day-bag, a plastic bag to waterproof your day-pack as well as ziploc bags for wet weather and river crossings as protection for electronic equipment, sun-hat, sunglasses, sun block, a water bottle/camelback, personal first-aid kit, camera, batteries, binoculars, torch and headlamp, and mosquito repellent.
Please note that a porter will carry the luggage and that it is not transferred by vehicle. Luggage will therefore have to be in a backpack and a weight restriction of 12kg applies.
We recommend that you arrange appropriate holiday insurance giving you cover against illness, injury, and loss or damage to luggage. This insurance should also cover the possibility of your having to cancel your holiday for any reason.
Availability and booking
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Tel.: +27 (0) 21 852 5937, Fax.: +27 (0) 86 618 3448