The Wild Coast 

Often called South Africa’s forgotten wilderness, the Wild Coast is a region of unspoilt beauty, rich history and great cultural diversity.  It stretches from the Southern Natal border in the north almost to the city of East London in the Eastern Cape to the south.  The area can roughly be divided into 3 parts – the highlands in the west, the central plateau with its rolling green hills and scattered rural communities, and a narrow strip of coastline – for which it is most famous. This most frequented 250 kilometre long coastal area dissected along its length by perennial rivers offers some of the best beaches for swimming and fishing in South Africa. The warm Agulhas current and the sub-tropical climate make it an all-year round destination.

It is a destination for the adventurous, for those searching for a piece of  ‘real Africa’ and a sense of isolation.  For accommodation when approaching the Wild Coast from the Natal side, Mbotyi River Lodge just beyond the small town of Lusikisiki would be a great ‘stopping off’ point.   Here, the modern world is still far off – young girls ferry wood on their heads, little boys herd cattle and mothers cook in clay pots.  Many of the rituals and traditions of their ancestors have survived intact.   The rolling green hills, pristine estuaries, cascading waterfalls and magnificent beaches provide plenty of opportunity for walking, mountain biking, boating, fishing and horseriding. With a list of about 320 species of sea, coastal and inland birds this is a twitcher’s paradise.  For those interested in botany, some 900 forest and grassland species have been identified as having commercial, traditional and homeopathic value.   This is a land of interesting shipwreck history and the colourful and complex culture of the Xhosa people.  It is probably most famously known to-day for being the birthplace of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. You can wander off the beaten track a bit and visit the tiny village of Mveso where Mandela was born and you will pass one of his current homes at Qunu on your way south, where there is also a Museum.  Mthatha’s Bunga Building houses a permanent Life and Times of Nelson Mandela Exhibition as well as a Gift to the Nation Exhibition.

Following the main N2 route southwards through the bustling commercial centres of Butterworth and Idutywa you approach East London.   Savouring a few more days in the peace and quiet of a luxury beach ‘boutique on the bay’, Prana Lodge would be a great choice.  Nestled in the coastal dune forest at Chintsa East this intimate location will certainly allow you to relax, revive and rejuvenate.  If you fancy a bit of game spotting, as a break from the sea and the surf,  Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve is located close by.