The Transkei is part of the Eastern Cape province in South Africa.
- The Wild Coast - One of the least developed regions of South Africa. Hide-out for dissenters during apartheid days. Total alternative white culture and rural Xhosa in a tolerant mix.
- The Shipwreck Coast
- Umtata - the bustling main town of the Transkei and gateway to the Wild Coast (Port St Johns, Coffee Bay, Kraal etc.) offers some African spirit a Nelson Mandela museum. Tansportation hub with bus services to Durban and points south (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.
- Port St Johns - Capital of the Wild Coast and home of the wise, the wild , the wacky, and the weird.
- Coffee Bay - Grocery store and post office. Surf specialists share their knowledge, beach with friendly water, drums and firedancing under moon and stars.
The Transkei encompasses the coast between the Kei River Mouth and Port St Johns along the Indian Ocean. During the former Apartheid regime the Transkei 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.
Public transport to the Wild Coast is sparse but the some of the main bus companies stop in Umtata and Port St Johns. Alternatively the Baz Bus (http://www.bazbus.com)runs along the Transkei on ít`s way from Port Elizabeth to Durban making it one of the best options in this part of the country.
The N2 and R 61 higway go through the Transkei and are currently upgraded, but driving is still an experience. Be aware of driving at night in the Transkei.
There is no train service in the Transkei
There is no international airport in any of the Transkei`s towns, so you have to go for Durban.
Public transport is only limited available.
- "The Kraal": Dylan's 'chill village' between Port St Johns and Coffee Bay
- 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, least undertow at Coffee Bay beach, ask about conditions at Jungle Monkeys in Port St Johns.
- Coffee Bay Backpackers (PO Box 55, Umtata, 5100; Tel(0475) 442-004; Fax: (0475) 442-005; Cel: 082 570-6950) for pool playing parties, Bomvu Paradise for spiritual smokers.