Go Take a Hike: The Wild Coast Meander

[Previous installments of Go Take a Hike are Go Take a Hike: A Tale of Two Bags and Go Take a Hike: And They’re Off . . .]

On Sunday night when the excitement of the upcoming Otter Trail had reached a peak in our house, I felt a bit of an anti-climax. I wasn’t going along. With my current health problems even going for a day-long hike would be difficult, and I don’t like being outdoors in the heat. But I still felt left out of all the fun.

Then Estie (Willie’s twin sister) called me. I think she was feeling much the same, as she wasn’t going along either. But she had this really great idea. She had read or heard somewhere, about the gentler alternative to all this strenuous hiking. Somebody has set up on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape, what is being called the Wild Coast Meander. There’s a Wild Coast Amble as well, and a combination of the two.

Map of Wild Coast (Map source: http://www.av8helicopters.co.za)

For those of you who don’t know the Wild Coast, it is a beautiful stretch of coastline along South Africa’s Eastern coast, with pristine beaches and cute little bays. A number of rivers flow into the sea here. Along the rivers and further inland, are areas of indigenous forest. It is a rural area, with few small towns or villages. Small seaside hotels/resorts (often family owned or managed) are dotted along this stretch of coast.

The purpose of the Wild Coast Meander/Amble, is that one walks along the coast – a lot of the time on the beach itself – from hotel to hotel. Words like “meander”, “amble”, “afternoons of leisure” definitely sound appealing to me! Rocky sections of coast are avoided by taking more inland routes through indigenous forests. Although if one is fit and agile (and mad?!) one can do the rocky bits if one chooses to. A local guide accompanies the hikers every day. The distance is about 55 kilometres walked over 5 days, and is said to be suitable for the “moderately fit”.

View Mazeppa Bay to Cebe (Image source: Andrew Ashton/Flickr)

According to the web-site, porters are used on certain stretches of the hike. This may sound very colonial, but is part of a programme to provide employment to the very poor local communities in the area. Otherwise it seems luggage is transferred by road. So all you the “hiker” (maybe they should be called “amblers” instead?) have to do is carry a small day pack with your lunch, water etc. By mid-afternoon one is at the next hotel being fed, watered and pampered. Oh, and relaxing and enjoying the area.

Along the Wild Coast Meander (Image source: Andrew Ashton/Flickr)

Years ago Willie and I visited the Wild Coast and stayed at a place called Kobb Inn (at the Qora Mouth). We did the walk between Kobb Inn and Mazeppa Bay. Although I was slightly fitter at that stage, I can remember it being a longish, but quite easy walk along the beach. After some refreshments and a short rest, we walked back to Kobb Inn the same day. The only danger there, is that they have some really tiny (i.e. difficult to spot) ticks in the area, which carry the tick-bite fever parasite. Since I seem to be a magnet for mosquitoes and other bugs, I naturally got bitten and got sick. But that’s a whole other story . . .

So Estie, I think you’re right, this is so much more our style!!!

Qora Mouth looking inland from forest (Image source: Andrew Ashton/Flickr)

The photographs of the Wild Coast Meander are courtesy of Andrew Ashton, who has made his photographs available via Flickr. See his Wild Coast Meander 2009 set for some really beautiful photos.

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Categories: Lifestyle/Travel, Random

Author:lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)

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18 Comments on “Go Take a Hike: The Wild Coast Meander”

  1. January 26, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    The Transkei coast is one of my most favorite places on the planet. I spent many happy holidays at Mazeppa bay as a child and have visited twice again as an adult as well as spending time at shark’s point. I would love to do the hike/amble sometime.

    • January 26, 2011 at 10:21 am #

      That area is stunning, isn’t it? Mazeppa Bay is a wonderful place for family holidays.

  2. January 26, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Looks fabulous, Lisa. So when are you going?
    Sunshine xx

  3. January 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Love the imagery here. You describe it well. How did you like some of the places you stayed at? What kind of food did they have for you along the way?

    • January 26, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

      This is a trip my sister-in-law and I still want to do, so I can’t tell you. YET. You’re very keen on your food aren’t you? 😉 Just read your post about Italy and Italian food.

      • Fidel Hart
        February 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

        I love food 🙂 I definitely travel with my taste buds.

  4. January 26, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    I´d love to visit Africa some day!!

    • January 27, 2011 at 6:53 am #

      There are so many places I’d like to go . . . haven’t even been to most of the countries in Africa yet. Then there’s South America, Antarctic, Australia, . . . and lots more.

  5. Sarita Botha
    January 27, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    My cousin did The Wild Coast Meander a while back. He loved it!

    • January 27, 2011 at 9:49 am #

      It does sound so much better than “killing” oneself on the Otter Trail, doesn’t it?

      • Sarita Botha
        January 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

        I agree. I think it is a great way to go hiking.

  6. January 27, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    This is so beautiful!

    • January 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

      Yes, it is a beautiful area. Very unspoilt.

      Thank you for visiting my blog! 🙂

  7. jacquelincangro
    January 28, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    Thanks for sharing this idea! I’m going to forward this to a friend who is planning a vacation to South Africa later this year. She loves to hike and the view is lovely.

    • January 28, 2011 at 7:07 am #

      If your friend is a serious hiker she might want to undertake something more challenging. Also depends on where in South Africa she’ll be. There are a number of excellent hiking trails in each Province. This site has more information: http://www.sahikes.co.za/

  8. January 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    I want to do the Otter Trail AND the Meander! Can’t wait to visit this part of SA.

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