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Wild Coast

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Earth : Africa : Southern Africa : South Africa : Eastern Cape : Wild Coast
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Wild Coast

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The Wild Coast, [1] is part of the Eastern Cape province in South Africa, encompassing the coastal region from north of East London to the southern border with KwaZulu-Natal at Port Edward.


  • Mthatha - Formerly called Umtata, Mthatha is the bustling main town of the Transkei and gateway to the Wild Coast (Mpande, Port St Johns, Coffee Bay, etc). It offers some African spirit and the Nelson Mandela museum. Transportation hub with bus services to Durban, East London and points south (the bus stop is at the petrol station on the N2). Cheap safe sleep at the Grosvenor hotel downtown, near the mall and taxi rank. Take a taxi into town from the petrol station.
  • Coffee Bay - At the heart of the Wild Coast, with its idyllic cliffs & beaches. Grocery store and post office. There are two backpackers here, Coffee Shack and Bomvu, who between them are surf specialists, drum makers and firedancers under moon and stars.
  • Mpande - Spaza shops, wild unspoiled beaches, amazing surf, canoeing, horse riding and of course The Kraal Backpackers where you can drum with the stars!
  • Port St Johns - Capital of the Wild Coast and home of the wise, the wild, the wacky and the weird. Backpackers in and near town include Amapondo, Ikaya and Jungle Monkey.
  • Xora - Bulungula Lodge a must visit place.
  • Kei mouth - Kei mouth is about 90km from East London and is situated on the south bank of the Kei River, beyond which, lies the rural former homeland of the Transkei. The subtropical climate, unpolluted beaches and warm waters of the Indian Ocean make Kei mouth ideal for bathers, surfers and sunbathers throughout the year.

Other destinations

  • Cintsa - On the southern gateway to the Wild Coast this small town has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. It is also home to Buccaneers Backpackers considered by many travelers to be one of the best backpackers in SA. Volunteering through Volunteer Africa 32 degrees south has made significant inroads to assisting with rural schools development in Cintsa and along the Wild Coast.
  • Bulungula north of Cintsa and south of Coffee Bay this small rural village is a new and exciting place for travelers to visit, Bulungula lodge a partnership between the local community and Dave Martin has set new ideas for changes in this region.


The Wild Coast encompasses the coast between the Kei River Mouth and Umtanvuma River along the Indian Ocean. During the former Apartheid regime the Transkei (the Wild Coast and adjacent interior up to the border with Lesotho) was one of the so called "homelands" and officially politically and economically independent. It is still one of the poorest regions of South Africa. It offers spectacular coastlines without the tourist crowd. The whole region is very rural and infrastructure is sparse, so plan ahead.


Get in

By Bus

Public transport to the Wild Coast is sparse but the some of the main bus companies stop in Mthatha and Port St Johns. Alternatively the Baz Bus [2] runs along the Wild Coast on it's way from Port Elizabeth to Durban making it one of the best options in this part of the country. The Baz Bus services Buccaneers Backpackers at its door before heading to Mthatha for its links via a separate shuttle to Coffee Bay and Bulungula. From this point the bus heads to the South Coast, so anyone needing to go to Port St Johns needs to arrange for a shuttle to pick them up at Mthatha.

By Car

The N2 and R61 highway go through the Wild Coast and are currently upgraded, but driving is still an experience. Be aware of driving at night as the cows often hang on the side of the road. Most major bus companies travel through this route.

By Train

As of the end of 2007 there was no train service in the Wild Coast. However, the disused railway line from East London to Mthatha has been upgraded and full passenger service between the two is due to commence in 2008.

By Plane

The closest International Airport is located in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Get around

Public transport is limited.


  • "The Kraal": Dylan's 'chill village' in Mpande (20km from Port St Johns on the wild coast.
  • Xhosa villages, See the round huts, meet the friendly people, maybe chat with a Sangoma (witchdoctor). Visit a shebeen (local bar). Beer and food available for hikers. NOTE: these people have no cash--don't tempt them by flashing yours!
  • Hsuleka game reserve, Black and Blue wildebeest, 2 kinds of Zebras, raptors, pristine forest, butterflies in season. No lions! Hiking trail huts on a lonely beach at the south end.
  • Silaka game reserve, South of Port St Johns beach 3, beaches, breakers, bush to butterflies. Pay fee here for the Wild Coast trail, at HQ in the middle of the reserve. Hiker's hut on the north end.


  • Wild Coast Trail. One of the world's great hikes, 5 days (Port St Johns - Coffee Bay). Every night on a bed in a hut. Costs about SAR 45 for all; or the old, full 26 days (most other huts are in ruins) all the way down the Wild Coast, beaches and bush and sunshine, spirit and locals' smiles. Game reserves, few roads, fewer automobiles. Be prepared to ford estuaries! Wear sandals when crossing in case of stings. The moment the tide starts IN is least dangerous. Rumours of sharks are overstated. Fresh water streams at least once a day, use iodine. Firewood sufficient. Guides not needed. BEWARE OF UNDERTOWS WHILE SWIMMING! People have walked solo 42 days, no worries. A hat suitable for strong winds is a must!
  • Wild beaches, clothing optional, sunblock a must, cover up for conservative locals, beware of undertows.
  • Beach fishing, km after km of undeveloped, unexplored shores
  • Surfing, go to The Kraal for the best Wild Coast Surf experience
  • Spare fishing, go diving with Dillon or Ryan and catch your supper


  • Wood oven food, at the Kraal



Kei Mouth

Accommodation in Kei mouth[3]

Self Catering Accommodation

  • 1 Damba Drive, 1 Damba Drive, Kei Mouth, +27 (0)43 841 1286. Ground floor apartment with enclosed braai area and fully equipped kitchen, sleeps 2 - 10. DStv available (bring your own Smart Card). 1 Damba Drive From R500 per night.

Morgan's Bay

Accommodation in Morgan's Bay[4]

Self Catering Accommodation

  • The Lower Deck, 470 Chestnut Place, Morgan's Bay, +27 (0)43 841 1099. Situated in a quiet cul de sac, approximately 200m from the waters edge, The Lower Deck sits atop a hill and is blessed with beautiful sea views. The Lower Deck From R300 per night.
  • Ocean Valley View, 472 Chestnut Place, Morgan's Bay, +27 (0)11 896 1244 (). Ocean Valley View offers comfortable self catering accommodation, with beautiful views of the sea, valley / bush and cliffs all within very easy walking distance of the sea. Ocean Valley View From R500 per night.
  • Flame Lily House, 35 Beach Road, Morgan's Bay, +27 (0)43 841 1099. Flame Lily House offers affordable self-catering holiday accommodation with sea views for 2 - 8 people. Situated above the coastal milkwood trees on the central beachfront of Morgan's Bay it is just 25 m from the bathing beach with the lagoon, dunes, fishing spots, hotel facilities and magnificent cliffs in easy walking distance. Flame Lily House From R380 per night.


  • The Mitford Lodge, Beach Road, Morgan's Bay, +27 (0)43 841 1510 (). Self catering apartments and bed & breakfast accommodation on the sea front. Great food and an amazing view. The Mitford Lodge
  • Morgan Bay Hotel, Beach Road, Morgan's Bay, +27 (0)43 841 1062 (). The Morgan Bay Hotel is a Family accommodation establishment catering for the whole family, from grandparents to grandchildren. Their aim is to make your holiday a memorable one, so that you will speak of Morgan Bay with fond memories and always return for more. Morgan Bay Hotel

Caravan and Camping

  • Yellowwood Forest, Link Road, Morgan's Bay, +27 (0)43 841 1598 (). Yellowwood Forest is a family friendly Caravan Park & Campsite situated in woodland just above the Morgan's Bay Lagoon. We have plenty of shade and are sheltered from the wind. Yellowwood Forest

Get out

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External Links - A useful guide to the accommodation and activities to be found in the southern part of the Wild Coast.