Wild Coast

Wild Coast landscape.

The Wild Coast 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.

Towns and Cities

Other destinations

Understand

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.

Talk

The home of the Xhosa people, the more rural the community, the less likely they'll speak English. See the Xhosa phrasebook.

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 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, as cows and goats routinely cross the roads. If possible, avoid driving at night, especially off the main routes, as both potholes and livestock can leap out of the dark unexpectedly. Most major bus companies travel through this route.

By Train

As of the beginning of 2009 there is 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 may have commenced.

By Plane

The closest International Airport is located in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, although you can fly in to Mthatha from Johannesburg and possibly other major cities. Depending on which part of the wild coast you are visiting, East London Airport can be closer than Durban Airport. Mthatha is the closest airport but only provides flights to and from Johannesburg.

Get around

Public transport is limited.

By Car

The N2 highway, which travels far inland for the entire length of the Wild Coast, is tarred. Other tarred roads include the Jikeleza Route, the R349 to Kei Mouth and Morgan's Bay, the R61 to Port St Johns and the severely pot-holed R349 to Coffee Bay. All other roads leading from the N2 to the coast are gravel and are usually in a poor state of repair. Many are accessible by offroad vehicle only

It is advisable that you phone ahead and enquire as to the state of the roads before you travel and that you take a good map. Hazards on these rural roads include potholes and animals, such as cows, goats, donkeys, sheep and geese.

Always carry water and tools with you as roadside assistance can be hard to come by here.

By Offroad Vehicle

You will need a permit to travel to cottages that are not on proclaimed or designated roads. (E.g. the road to the Jacaranda.) If you do not have a permit for these routes you may be charged by the Green Scorpions and given a spot fine of R2500.

If you are a cottage owner and your cottage is not on a proclaimed road you will need to present your PTO (Permission To Occupy) at the Environmental office and acquire a permit to travel on the track to your cottage. No permits will be awarded to anyone without a valid PTO. Cottage owner permits are valid for one year.

If you are traveling to a cottage that is not on a proclaimed road you will need a letter from the PTO holder which you can present at the offices to acquire a temporary permit. There is no charge for the permit. The permit is valid for one month.

This applies to anywhere within 1km from the high-water mark along the Wild Coast from Kei Mouth up to Port Edward. You may not drive a motor vehicle in this exclusion zone without a permit. This includes quad and motor bikes, etc. If a proclaimed road goes all the way down to the sea you can then walk left or right to your angling spots from that point. If the road stops 1km before the sea and a bush path carries on towards the sea, you will have to walk from where the proclaimed road ends. You may not ride these trails.

By Bicycle

The Wild Coast is prime Mountain Bike territory. Most of the population don't own a car and so there are thousands of well-worn footpaths criss-crossing the landscape, making for great single track riding. There are also several Mountain Bike trails at places such as Mazeppa Bay, Cwebe, Mbotyi and Mkambati.

The Imana Wild Ride, South Africa's original Mountain Bike stage race is held annually. Much of the race is along the beaches as riders race the tides. There are many river crossings and no set route.

See

Do

Eat

Sleep

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 24, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.