The Wild Coast Region, 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.

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.

Did you know? Once you've booked your hotel or Wild Coast accommodation, explore the town and destination pages below for info on attractions, activities and things to do when you explore the Wild Coast region of South Africa.

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.

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.

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.

Find accommodation on the Wild Coast

South Africa Accommodation / Eastern Cape Accommodation / Wild Coast Accommodation

Destinations in the Wild Coast Region

Bisho

Overnight? Bisho accommodation
Bisho, the former capital of the Ciskei - one of the black homelands of the apartheid era - was the site of a culminating anti-apartheid event. 1992 saw 28 people killed and at least 200 wounded when troops opened fire on anti-apartheid protesters gathere...

Butterworth

Overnight? Butterworth accommodation
Butterworth is situated in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and is one of the oldest towns in the Eastern Cape's Wild Coast (the former Transkei - a black homeland during the apartheid years). Butterworth is situated north of the Great Kei River and w...

Cintsa

Overnight? Cintsa accommodation
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, thi...

Coffee Bay

Overnight? Coffee Bay accommodation
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. The hol...

Glengarriff

Overnight? Glengarriff accommodation
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 Route and Strand...

Haga Haga

Overnight? Haga Haga accommodation
The little seaside village of Haga Haga is the epitome of the Wild Coast, just 75 kilometres from East London. There is something of the magical to this part of the world - lush green hills intermingled with forested and deeply carved river valleys th...

Kei Mouth

Overnight? Kei Mouth accommodation
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 guarantees ...

Kwelera

Overnight? Kwelera accommodation
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 holidays. ...

Lusikisiki

Overnight? Lusikisiki accommodation
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’ or Pondol...

Mazeppa Bay

Overnight? Mazeppa Bay accommodation
Book your Wild Coast accommodation to experience one of the most beautiful, untouched areas of the region, namely, Mazeppa Bay. This village and its beaches are characterised by a laid-back vibe and a sense of serenity; all against the backdrop of breath-...

Mbotyi

There is not much between Coffee Bay and Port Edward along the coast. It is nothing like the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, riddled as it is with port upon beach upon seaside village, which suddenly ends at Port Edward. It is not surprising really, as thi...

Mngcibe

Overnight? Mngcibe accommodation
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 from all over ...

Morgans Bay

Overnight? Morgans Bay accommodation
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, rugged cliff...

Mthatha

Overnight? Mthatha accommodation
Umtata is in the heart of the Nelson Mandela Route, established to give structure to the area for visitors who want to explore his history. The route starts in King Williams Town, where one can visit the grave of Steve Biko - leader of the Black Conscious...

Port Edward

Overnight? Port Edward accommodation
Situated in the Hibiscus Coast of KwaZulu Natal, Port Edward was named after the Prince of Wales who later became King Edward VII. In 1947 it became a village - in fact the last village in KwaZulu Natal. Today Port Edward is a popular holiday destination....

Port St Johns

Overnight? Port St Johns accommodation
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 by colonial order,...

Qolora Mouth

Overnight? Qolora Mouth accommodation
Beautiful, unassuming Qolora Mouth lies on the coast of the Transkei at the edge of what is known as the Wild Coast, just a little further north-east of Kei Mouth and south west of Mazeppa Bay. Qolora Mouth can quite easily be described as one of the fogo...

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 spent...

Umtata

Overnight? Umtata accommodation
Umtata is Madiba country. Renowned as the world’s most loved ex-convict, (Nelson Mandela) this former statesman was born in the nearby town of Mvezo, spent his childhood in Qunu and today the main buildings of the Nelson Mandela Museum are in Umtata. O...

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