The Wild Coast
Pondoland and Mkambati Nature Reserve
What to expect: We leave the southern Drakensberg and meander through the space-less expanses of Nomansland and rolling hills of the Eastern Cape to the Wild Coast and our base at an Eco friendly lodge located above the Msikaba River in Pondoland, bordering the Mkambati Nature Reserve
This area is magically spellbinding in its profound diversity of soaring pinnacle-like rock structures, densely forested valleys, gorges and cliffs, with waterfalls that fall mistily into the sea.
The locality is home to a breeding colony of the threatened Cape Vulture and the endemic Pondo Coconut (Mkambati palm) occurs on the rocky cliffs of the Msikaba River.
From this base we explore the waterfall route which begins at Magwa Falls that plummets 146m into a narrow gorge, we visit Frasers Falls, Visitors, Little Falls and Picnic Falls which are all reached with hikes along the Goso Fault which runs east towards the coastline.
The Mkambati Nature reserve consists mainly of open coastal grasslands mixed with wetlands and is flanked on either side by the densely bushed Msikaba and Mtentu Rivers. This reserve is home to herds of herbivores such as eland, blue wildebeest, zebra and blesbok and carnivores like lynxes, jackals and elusive leopards have been sighted.
A number of waterfalls occur within the reserve, the most popular and scenic being the Mkambati Falls, Strandloper Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Misty Falls and Swallow Tail Falls.
A visit to a natural amphitheatre called The Super Bowl is fascinating as the dense forest within is an ideal habitat for shy forest animals.
Highlights: Cape Vulture breeding colony, Waterfall Bluff, Cathedral Rock.
Hiking time: Several day walks the longest being 16 km.
Port St John's and Mpande
What to expect: From Pondoland we travel over the mighty Umzimvubu River (the only remaining wild river in southern Africa, as it has no dam wall restricting its flow) to the magical little town of Port St John's.
This picturesque settlement is settled at the mouth of the Umzimvubu River and is reached by travelling through "The Gates", which are formed by dramatic cliffs between Mts Thesiger and Sullivan.
The densely forested areas around Port St John's are a day hikers paradise with routes leading to stunning elevated points which allow views for kilometres around, enchanting forest hikes and many shoreline paths to explore. The Bololo Falls is an hour's hike from the idyllic Second Beach, The Gap and Blowhole.
It has been said that the view from Mt Thesiger of the Umzimvubu River mouth is unsurpassed on a good day.
After absorbing the charm of Port St John's we travel south through the round topped hills common to this region, and past rural communities to Twseleni and the coastal village of Mpande. Located between the Mpande and Sinangwana Rivers this sleepy hamlet offers an unsurpassed view of the unspoiled coastline and beaches of this stunning stretch of Wild Coast.
A 5km walk takes you to forested Mpande Waterfall and the return trip along the river is a birdwatcher and naturalists paradise.
Mpande is a place of pristine natural beauty and traditional Xhosa life, it is a place to mingle with the locals, experience traditional meals or visit a Sangoma (traditional healer). The shoreline offers superb snorkelling in protected pools and lagoons and the scope for photography is limitless.
Highlights: Eagles Nest, The Gates, Second Beach, The Gap, The Blowhole, view from Mt Thesiger and a multicultural town experience. Traditional, rural village life, traditional healer, amazing seascapes.
Various short scenic hikes of about 3-4 hours.
Duration of berg and beach tour: 9 days to 14 days. We can custom tailor the tour to fit your needs.