Exploring South Africa’s Wild Coast
Exploring South Africa’s Wild Coast: In an area first settled in by the Bushmen (San) and Hottentots, the Wild Coast presents a rural, unspoilt part of South Africa that is hard to find elsewhere. The best way to explore the coastline is by road tripping. So back those travel tunes and hit the road. Here are some places I suggest you visit:
For Bird Lovers
If you have your binoculars and zoom lens ready for days of bird watching, visit the coastal forest of Mbotyi. This extensive region includes mangroves, lagoons, gorges and open grassland with over 100 species. In the estuaries you may find Water Dikkop and Kingfishers, Knysna Woodpecker on the forest edges or the Knysna Lourie and Crowned Hornbill on the routes leading into the forest.
There are a few game parks along the Wild Coast, but a great one to visit only 8km from the Kei Mouth is Endalweni Private Game Reserve. You can enjoy walks, hikes and game viewing in the park and stay in one of their self-catering spots. You’ll have the chance to see porcupines, giraffe, zebra, warthogs, waterbuck, red hartebeest and black-backed jackal amongst many others. There is no better place to relax amidst nature and all its wild beauty.
A trail which surpasses many others is the 5 day hike from Port St. Johns to Coffee Bay. You will witness undeveloped and secluded coastline, cliffs overlooking the deserted beaches, dense forest and brightly coloured huts. On this trail, you will sleep in accommodation in the villages and hiker’s huts and also get to learn a bit of Xhosa as well as sample the delicious food. Because only 22 people are permitted on each hike, you can truly escape the bustle of your city and way of life and see the Wild Coast in a way many people will not.
Horse riding along beaches has always had a romantic notion to it and when doing it along the Wild Coast it is easy to understand why. One spot that offers incredible horse trails is Cinsta. One minute you’re trotting along a long stretch of sand with dunes shading you from the sand and waves crashing to your right and the next you’re taking the horse up through dense forest, past mangroves and lush hills. You’ll past rural huts, open farmlands, Buccaneers Backpackers and estuaries filled with bird life. I cannot imagine a better place to take a horse for a ride.
This little village by the sea got its name from the splendid rock formation formed by the powerful sea. The shale and sandstone beneath were continually worn by endless pounding of waves and hence the archway was formed leaving hard dolerite on top. Visit the town, stay in a hut on the hill and listen to the legends that were told of how this natural wonder came about.