Not for nothing is it called the Wild Coast, as you’ll discover when you hike any of the many scenic Eastern Cape hiking trails. Encounter dramatic landscapes, beautiful beaches, high dunes, rocky headlands, meandering rivers and a shipwreck or two.

Did you know?

A quaint suspension bridge links Mazeppa Bay mainland to an island, a favourite fishing spot.

The majority of the Eastern Cape's hiking trails can be found along the Wild Coast, which many travel pundits argue is among the most beautiful coastlines in the world. It's not only wild, but also empty, save for the local villages and their friendly inhabitants.

These hiking trails offer breathtaking beauty, dramatic coastlines, pounding seas, a few shipwrecks and very few other people.

The established favourite, the five-day Wild Coast Meander, takes you south along one of the loveliest stretches of coastline in the country, from Kob Inn to Morgan Bay. There are a few long, hard stretches, but as local guides and porters are carrying your bags, you won’t have a problem if you're reasonably fit. You'll stay at small seaside hotels each night, where you'll dine on local seafood and relive the day's experiences over a glass of wine or two.

The five-day Wild Coast Hiking Trail, from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay, is more strenuous but, whether you hike the whole trail or take a shorter option, the smiling hospitality you'll receive from the local villages at your overnight stops will overcome any sore feet. Porters are available if you want to slackpack.

The 59km Drifters Wild Coast Trail, along the northern Wild Coast, explores some of the area's best-known landmarks, including Cathedral Rock and Waterfall Bluff. You’ll sleep in a comfortable safari tent and choose whether or not to carry your own bags.

You never leave the Wild Coast's gorgeous beaches on the 80km Diaz Cross Trail, which starts at Woody Cape in the Alexandria State Forest and goes north via the Diaz Cross and Kenton-on-Sea to the mouth of the Great Fish River. You'll enjoy luxury accommodation each night on this fully catered trail and porters carry your bags.

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Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Wild Coast Meander
Tel: +27 (0)43 743 6181
Email: meross@iafrica.com

Wild Coast Hiking Trail
Email: wildcoasthikes@webmail.co.za

Drifters Wild Coast Trail
Tel: +27 (0)11 888 1160
Email: drifters@drifters.co.za

Diaz Cross Trail
Tel: +27 (0)46 624 5295
Email: sunshinehikes@border.co.za

How to get here

Make your way to Port Elizabeth or East London. You will be transferred to your trail from there.

Best time to visit

Any time of year except Christmas and Easter when hotels are always fully booked.

What will it cost

Rates vary from trail to trail.

Length of stay

Most trails are five-day trails, but shorter options are also available.

What to pack

Sturdy walking shoes/boots, swimsuit, insect repellant, sunscreen, hat, camera and binoculars. It’s a good idea to waterproof your pack.

Where to stay

Different trails offer different options.

What to eat

Fresh seafood such as prawns, mussels and linefish.

Best buys

Handmade beads and others curios from the local Xhosa women.