The Wonderful Wild Coast
What most people don’t realise about the Wild Coast is that it only spreads across 300 kilometers of coastline between Port Edward and Port Elizabeth. You don’t have to be a champion rock climber to have a great time here; take time to see things at a laid-back pace, you won’t be bored for a moment. That being said, the Wild Coast is not the place to go if you want to be indoors because outdoors is where everything is happening.
The best way to experience as much as you can pack into your time on the Wild Coast is to pick your base and work your way outwards from there. From my point of the view, the place to dig yourself in is at Coffee Bay or slightly further north at Port St John. From Coffee Bay or Port St John you fan out and decide which of the seven nature reserves you want to visit, depending on how much driving you want to do.
My favorite is Silaka Nature Reserve just south of Port St John; this is a small coastal reserve with everything. This reserve lets you see all the animals in their natural habitat and birdwatchers flock here as well, but my special places are the tidal pools and watching the otters playing while some indulge in some of the best fishing available. Don’t forget the cardinal rule; there are not many tarred roads, the only stretch you can travel by normal vehicle easily is between Port St John and Coffee Bay, for the rest you better make sure you have a reliable 4×4.
You can spend your entire holiday simply wandering around the hiking trails and forests totally immersed in the beauty of the natural world. Most people who have spent time on the Wild Coast will tell you they truly don’t care where they sleep after a day spent swimming, fishing, canoeing and being totally absorbed in the natural surroundings. For those of who have energy left after the day, Coffee Bay has some of the most quaint bars and eateries as well as open-air lounges where you do your ‘thing’ beachcomber style.
The die-hards amongst the backpackers will argue that there is only one way to experience the Wild Coast and that is to pack up everything you will possibly need and start at the top of the region and make your way steadily down the coast over a period of two weeks
For those wanting to do this but who are not quite so gung-ho and prefer a bed and some of the niceties of modern living; you can break down your hikes or horseback forays into manageable chunks as there are many day-hikes and trails to choose from with the Pondoland Trails being at the top of the list. You can stay in overnight rest camps or you can take the option of spending nights in one of the local villages.