Price range, per nightmin R max R
An area that has thankfully avoided mass urban intrusion, the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa is free of major industry and remains a land of scenic splendour.
The Wild Coast stretches from the Mtamvuna River in the north, down to Kei River, the scene of many frontier battles between British troops and Xhosa clans. The region was never colonised by the British and the Xhosa were left to farm and graze their cattle amongst the almost 90 rivers and vast forests.
Upon a visit to the Wild Coast, expect to see undulating hills of pastured land with Xhosa villages atop, lagoons flanked by thick forest, cows loitering on the beach, sparkling beaches, secluded rocky coves, fishermen battling to land yellowfin tuna, and battered vehicles filled with young people on surfing road trips, forced to share the main road with a shepherd and his flock. Entering from the East London side requires transport over the Kei River mouth via a motorised vehicle pont.
The Wild Coast is the historical home of the Xhosa nation, the most famous being Nelson Mandela.
Top 6 reasons to visit the Wild Coast
1. Coffee Bay is a picturesque bay protected by rugged cliffs. The area is popular for swimming and hiking, however, the main attraction is the Hole in the Wall, a large dolerite cliff standing in the sea with a huge hole opened in its centre through years of erosion. The place is surrounded by myth.
2. Visit Nelson Mandela’s home in Qunu which he built after being released from prison. The Nelson Mandela museum is nearby in Mthatha and contains, amongst other items, gifts given to him by world leaders.
3. Surfing is excellent from Kilroe Beach all the way down to Coffee Bay with epic waves produced along this stretch of undeveloped coastline.
4. Mazeppa Bay has a popular fishing spot on an island, accessible via a shaky suspension bridge high above the heaving sea below. Large sharks are regularly landed here.
5. Visit the Silaka Nature Reserve to view peculiar creatures such as the tree dassie and forest-dwelling samango monkey. The river is inhabited by otters and various buck species roam the plains.
6. The Wild Coast Sun Resort & Casino has several attractions aside from the casino. These include a water park, championship golf course, health spa, shops, restaurants and bars.
The nearest airport from the northern part of the Wild Coast is King Shaka International Airport in Durban, 196km away. If in the southern section of the Wild Coast, fly in to East London Airport via Port Elizabeth Airport, 100km away. A hired car is the only way to get around the Wild Coast without taking a scheduled tour. Vehicles can be hired at the airports or booked online. To ensure a comfortable journey, hire a 4x4 vehicle as many of the gravel roads wash away after heavy rains, exposing hard rock.
Did you know?
Nelson Mandela was given the birth name Rolihlahla, it was his first school teacher that gave him the English name of Nelson.
Sailors will tell you the sea along the Wild Coast is treacherous, over 50 wrecks have occurred here. In 1991 the Oceanos, a Greek cruise liner, was wrecked near Coffee Bay. The captain and his crew abandoned ship, leaving the entertainment staff to successfully organise the removal of all 571 passengers to safety.