Exploring the Spectacular Wild Coast of South Africa
The South African Wild Coast is a relatively untouched eco-haven, offering long stretches of rolling waves washing beautiful sandy beaches. At high tide, waves crash dramatically on magnificent rocky outcrops, while low tide reveals rocky pools filled with a fascinating variety of small sea creatures. Rivers tumble down through deep valleys into the Indian Ocean and pristine forest areas beckon adventurers to discover the wonders of nature.
Popular activities all along the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape include swimming, fishing, spear-fishing, surfing, wind-surfing, horse riding, walking, hiking, bird watching, golf and scuba diving. Scuba divers can enjoy underwater exploration of the many ancient shipwrecks along the Wild Coast. With the constant motion of the sea on these shipwrecks, it is not unknown for divers to discover old coins, crockery and other interesting items while exploring.
The popular Wild Coast Hiking Trail winds its way along the coast with many caves, bays, cliffs and shipwrecks to explore. Shorter hiking trails and day walks include the Wild Coast Meander and Wild Coast Amble. Horse-riding trails are a popular way to enjoy the beauty of the Wild Coast and 4×4 trails are plentiful. In the interests of preserving this beautiful area of South Africa, it is strongly recommended that 4×4 drivers stick to the trails provided, preferably making use of the services of one of the friendly local guides.
Sightseers on the Wild Coast can visit Qunu, the birthplace of former South African President, Nelson Mandela. A visit to the Nelson Mandela Museum in Umtata is also worthwhile. Umtata was founded in 1867 and has many historical buildings including the Umtata City Hall, which was built in 1908.
Situated in subtropical rain forests at the mouth of the Umzimvubu River, Port St. Johns is widely considered to be the jewel of the Wild Coast and is a good home base from which to explore the surrounding areas. Port St. Johns boasts three stunning beaches, several rocky headlands, numerous walking trails through the forest and boating up the Umzimvubu River. Exotic fruits, such as litchi, mango, paw-paw and avocado, are grown in the valley and are readily available. Top quality craftsmanship is evident in the beadwork, baskets and walking sticks made and sold by locals.
The small community of Coffee Bay, situated between lush green hills and the sea in the heart of the Wild Coast, offers spectacular walks through untamed coastal bush that is teeming with diverse bird life. The geological phenomenon known as the “hole in the wall” is one of the sights not to be missed when visiting Coffee Bay.
Off-the-beaten-track Wild Coast destinations include Mazeppa Bay and Qolora Mouth. It may be a little challenging to get to these places, but regular visitors agree that it is well worth the effort. Certainly, a visit to the Wild Coast of South Africa is the type of holiday that memories are made of.