Walk on the Wild Side along the Wild Coast
Forget the beaches of Australia, California, Thailand or the French Riviera. Take it from me (and I’ve been there, done that) the most beautiful beaches in the world are along that stretch of wilderness in the Eastern Cape between Port St Johns in the north and East London to the south known as The Wild Coast.
These beaches are isolated, pristine and the sun shines for most of the year.
You’ll share your piece of paradise with some sought-after birds (like the African Black oystercatcher), some beach-loving cows, a school of passing dolphins and maybe even a whale or two. Occasionally a pipe-smoking Xhosa woman will offer you some wild oysters or mussels she has just picked off the rocks, or a fisherman will greet you as he fishes the surf for garrick, grunter, kob or shad.
The Wild Coast Meander, a 5-day trail which starts at Cob Inn in the north and ends at Morgan’s Bay is one of my favourite hikes. It’s a 5-night trail that covers 56km of the southern region of the Wild Coast. By day, you amble along the beaches and over the grassy headlands, negotiating rocks and sand dunes. At night you’ll stay in one of the hospitable little family hotels that the Wild Coast is famous for - Kob Inn, Mazeppa Bay Hotel, Wavecrest, Seagulls or Trennerys.
My highlights were the Crowned cranes dancing at Wavecrest, old shipwrecks and the traditional stories told by the local guides.
When you finally walk through the village of Kei Mouth to your final destination, Morgan Bay Hotel, you’ll be very tired but totally exhilarated.