Wild Coast

The Wild Coast is an incredible, unassuming combination of breath-taking coastline, precipitous and craggy cliff faces, wild and desolate beaches and green rolling hills

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Wild Coast, Eastern Cape

As its name suggests, the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape that extends between the Mtamvuna River in the north and the Great Kei River to the south, is an untamed wilderness.

Where? Wild Coast Region, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Overnight? See Wild Coast accommodation, in Eastern Cape

The Wild Coast is an incredible, unassuming combination of breath-taking coastline, precipitous and craggy cliff faces, wild and desolate beaches, secluded bays and green rolling hills that rush headlong into deeply etched river valleys.

Included in the Wild Coast is what used to be the Transkei, which, largely due to lack of infrastructure, past neglect, and the fact that it isn’t easy to ‘fly in’ for a weekend, has ensured that the well over 200 kilometre coastline is virtually inaccessible to all but those prepared to hike it, or venture forth on horseback.

The beauty of the coastline is interfered with by few, and aside from the odd collection of thatched rondavel huts, is virtually uninhabited.

This Wild Coast area acted as a border for much of the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was rife with conflict between British colonists and the rural Xhosa people who lived a colourful and richly cultural existence in this beautiful region. The birth place of Nelson Mandela is an effortlessly unspoiled land that claims to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

The weather is almost always mild and there are few days when the sun doesn’t effortlessly shine. Forested areas include prehistoric cycads, sneezewood and yellowwood trees, and areas thick with vegetation. The sky is often rent with the call of the fish eagle, and a tumult of bird calls are a combination of sea, coastal and inland birds.

Explore the traditions and customs of the local Xhosa people, visit the birthplace of Nelson Mandela and learn about the astonishingly uplifting life of the man who lead South Africa into her modern democracy at Umtata’s Nelson Mandela Museum.

Popular Towns in the Wild Coast Region

Bisho

Stay? Accommodation in Bisho
Bisho is capital of the former Ciskei has been reincorporated into the new South Africa. Bisho is the Xhosa word for Buffalo and is named after the river that runs through the city. It lies just 3km east of King William’s Town and has some...

More information and photographs: Bisho Information

Butterworth

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Butterworth is situated north of the Great Kei River and was established originally as a Wesleyan mission in 1827. These missionaries had great fortitude as during the wars between settlers and tribes, they rebuilt their mission three times...

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Cintsa

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The quaint little seaside village of Cintsa (or Chintsa), lies just 45 kilometres north east of East London. It is often mistakenly regarded as part of the Wild Coast, and though it lies very close to it, manages to fall just outside. Nonetheless, this...

More information and photographs: Cintsa Information

Coffee Bay

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Coffee Bay and the Hole in the Wall are virtually synonymous - mention the one and you picture the other - and one cannot describe the full extent of the beauty of this area of the Wild Coast without including the incredible natural phenomenon...

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Gonubie

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The little beachside village of Gonubie, considered fondly by East Londoners as theirs, lies on the beautiful estuary of the Gonubie River just eight kilometres outside of East London, perfectly placed to act as a stopover en route to Cape Town...

More information and photographs: Gonubie Information

Glengarriff

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Glengariff, also written as Glen Gariff and sometimes even Glen Garriff, lies just 30 kilometres north of East London – a relatively unknown, and thus unspoilt, little coastal resort that is part of the Wild Coast and on both the Jikeleza...

More information and photographs: Glengarriff Information

Haga Haga

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There is something of the magical to this part of the world - lush green hills intermingled with forested and deeply carved river valleys that roll down breathtakingly precipitous cliffs onto long, white beaches and secluded bays. Haga Haga nestles...

More information and photographs: Haga Haga Information

Kei Mouth

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Close to East London on the Wild coast, Kei Mouth lies on the bank of the Great Kei River, which flows for about 225 kilometres before ending at the Indian Ocean at the small village. This is still part of the coast in South Africa that almost...

More information and photographs: Kei Mouth Information

Kwelera

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Kwelera has always been on the travel itinerary of those who live in and around Port Elizabeth. Virtually enfolded by the river of the same name, which snakes around the little town, farmers in days of old used to head here to the coast for the...

More information and photographs: Kwelera Information

Lusikisiki

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Lying on Route 61, just inland from the beautiful coastal villages of Port St Johns and Mbotyi, Lusikisiki is wild. The countryside is rugged, remote and untamed, and time has virtually stood still in a part of the world known as ‘God’s country’...

More information and photographs: Lusikisiki Information

Mazeppa Bay

Stay? Accommodation in Mazeppa Bay
Mazeppa Bay is one of the most beautiful area of the Wild Coast and is well known for its excellent fishing. There are a wide variety of game fish to be caught at Mazeppa Bay and the biggest ever caught was a 791 kg Great White Shark...

More information and photographs: Mazeppa Bay Information

Mbotyi

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Mbotyi is roughly a four-hour drive from Durban and 26 kilometres from Lusikisiki. Its name is the Xhosa word for 'place of beans' and, unsurprisingly, the climate and fertile soils are perfect for growing beans. It is also condusive to...

More information and photographs: Mbotyi Information

Mngcibe

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On the eastern coast of South Africa, on the breath-taking coastline of the Transkei is the little area of Mngcibe. This entire area, known as the Wild Coast, is the Eastern Cape destination of choice for surfers, campers, hikers and others...

More information and photographs: Mngcibe Information

Morgans Bay

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Described as an 'Eastern Cape paradise', Morgan's Bay lies 10 minutes' away from the Kei River mouth and an hour from East London. This is a beautiful part of the coastline that unsurprisingly forms part of the Wild Coast given its dramatic...

More information and photographs: Morgans Bay Information

Mthatha

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On the banks of the Mtata River - named after the Sneezewood (umtati) trees, famous for their wood and medicinal properties - Umtata was founded in 1879 and was originally the capital of the Transkei, homeland of the Xhosa during the...

More information and photographs: Mthatha Information

Port St Johns

Stay? Accommodation in Port St Johns
The wildness of the coast with its deep gorges and impenetrable forests, mangrove swamps and the primitive force of freak waves that caused many a shipwreck along this region of the coast, have not quite managed the attempt to tame them...

More information and photographs: Port St Johns Information

Qunu

Overnight? Accommodation in Qunu
Just south of Mthatha (Umtata) in the Eastern Cape, the rolling green hills of a cluster of villages known as Qunu have recently been added to the map in South Africa because of their association with Madiba. Qunu is the village where Nelson Mandela...

More information and photographs: Qunu Information

Did you know?

The Wild Coast is about hours spent on beaches, ambles along white sand, meeting cows at river mouths, Xhosa huts, coffee out of tin mugs, pot-holed dirt roads, cliff hikes, river canoeing, horseback rides and surfing. Most of all, it’s about getting away from everything.

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