The Awesome and Untouched Wild Coast of South Africa

The Wild Coast of South Africa, also known as the Transkei, is a beautiful, rugged and unspoiled coastline that stretches north of East London along sweeping bays, footprint-free beaches, lazy lagoons and rocky headlands.  The Transkei section of the Wild Coast is rural South Africa at its best, and the roads to the coast lead the visitor through the Xhosa heartland, a stunning landscape of rolling green hills dotted with thatched huts, offering interesting glimpses into a culture far removed from the stresses of modern life.

Apart from Port St Johns and Coffee Bay, most villages north of the Kei River are made up of only a handful of fisherman’s cottages, the occasional backpacker hostel and the odd hotel.  There is a wealth of comfortable Wild Coast accommodation for the visitor, making it an ideal destination for peaceful, laid-back holidays away from the tourist hoards.  Road Travel can assist with all your accommodation requirements in the Wild Coast.

The Wild Coast is blessed with fine weather during the winter months, when the Sardine Run attracts a frenzy of activity from gannets, seals, dolphins and predatory fish as it moves slowly north along the coast.  High vantage points along the coastline make great lookout points for dolphin and whale watching.  Humpback and Southern Right Whales migrate from the Antarctic to the shores of South Africa to calve and are often seen from the coast.   A unique and much loved quirk of the Transkei is the frequent sightings visitors have of cows on the beaches.  Even though beaches have no grass or drinking water, herds of cattle still love coming down to the beach to sleep, relax and chew the cud.  They are easily approachable and make great photographic subjects.

The area is also a firm favorite with anglers, offering excellent fishing grounds both at the coast and in the estuaries, particularly at the mouths of the larger rivers like the Kei and Mzimvubu which are navigable for several kilometers upstream.  Launching a ski boat for a day of deep-sea fishing is an exhilarating start to a wonderful day out at sea with magnificent views of the coast.  Other Wild Coast activities include golf, fly fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, abseiling, surfing, canoeing, horse riding, game viewing and bird watching.   From its people, to its unforgettable beaches, waterfalls and famous landmarks, the Transkei Wild Coast offers a wealth of things to see and experience.  This coupled with a great climate, hot summers and mild dry winters, makes it an ideal off the beaten track destination.

Nelson Mandela was born in Mvezo near Mthatha in 1918.  He spent his childhood, the happiest years f his life, in the modest rural village of Qunu.  Here he did what most Xhosa boys do, herding the livestock, playing in the rivers and skidding down the granite stone he called “The Sliding Stone”.  The Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha runs tours to both Mvezo and Qunu.  The ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ exhibition details Mandela’s life history in his own words.  The museum is currently undergoing extensive renovations, so please do get in touch with us at Road Travel and we can give you more details.

The Wild Coast is very rural and tradition still plays a big part in people’s lives.  The Xhosa and Pondo people live in bright thatched mud huts that dot the hills, mostly without electricity and running water.  They farm vegetable patches and keep cows, goats, sheep and pigs.  Customs involve ceremonies, drumming and dancing.  When something is wrong, locals consult Sangomas, or healers, who prescribe herbal remedies.  While you can visit Xhosa and Pondo villages on your own, we at Road Travel would suggest going with a registered guide who can interpret what you’re seeing and advise you how to behave.  Village tours can include a simple but delicious traditional meal, a visit to a sangoma, drinks at a shebeen and even home stays.  Contact us for more details.

The sensitive Wild Coast eco-system is being threatened by the planned construction of multi-lane toll-road highway, as well as proposed open-cast titanium mining in the Xolobeni dunes.   A coalition of organisations and individuals who are concerned about these developments and hope to press for ecologically sensitive economic solutions for the Wild Coast region, have formed the Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC) campaign.  If you would like to support the campaign, join the mailing list, or learn more, then please visit their website for more information:

Some portions of text used with kind permission from