My husband and I decided to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary at the end of June in an unusual and adventurous way, so I booked us a 5 day hike that started at Kob Inn and ended in Morgan Bay. What a fantastic experience it was! Everything that Sarah arranged for us was like clockwork, 99% of payments were made beforehand, and the choice of hotels and guesthouses were most comfortable. The bonus on a hike of this nature is that you get to stay at old-charm hotels and delightfully quirky guest houses along the way, so at the end of each day you're guaranteed a glass of wine or a tummy-warming drink, a nice hot shower and a delicious 3 course meal. From a logistical point of view the local guides and porters arrived on time at each leg of the hike, switched zones impeccably, payment amounts were sorted beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings and detailed maps and guidelines were provided for us by Active Escapes. We were joined by another couple who were also hiking alone, so this added to the enjoyment of the trip - new friends, and fresh conversation. We all flew in to East London airport early Sunday morning and were met promptly at 8.15 by Alison, our shuttle driver. We quickly grabbed ourselves a Mugg & Bean coffee and loaded the van before heading north for 3 hours to Kob Inn. On arrival we were invited to enjoy a quick lunch, then we dropped our bags in the room and soaked in our breathtaking 180 degree view of the Indian Ocean. The temperature was so nice and warm compared to chilly Gauteng, so we stripped down and headed to the lagoon in shorts and tshirts. What a pleasure, in mid-winter! The first leg of our hike was between Kob Inn and Cebe, 19km of long beautiful beaches and meandering grassy embankments. Although this was the longest day of hiking, it was not half as bad as I had imagined because you soon get distracted by the untouched beauty of the area and the amazing scenery that stretches in all directions. At Cebe, we were met by our hostess Jeanne at Serendipity Guest House with the offer of a nice cold beer, and a bedroom filled with colourful charm and artistic flare. We had a nice warm shower and rested a bit before tucking into her home-cooked chicken pie and salad picked from the garden. I consider this place to be a hidden gem that I would highly recommend to any hiker. On the second day we walked from Cebe to Wavecrest, and were assisted by three different sets of porters, and guides. From what I could see, the locals are very proud and protective of their respective "communities" and they are very grateful for the jobs provided by hikers moving along this coastline on an ongoing basis. It was fun to chat to the different guides, find out about their lives, and I would count that as an integral part of the overall experience. Instead of feeling intimidated or threatened in any way, I really enjoyed the human interaction on this stretch and being able to chat to the locals whilst hiking along the beach was really great. The strangest thing is you see more cattle on the beaches than people. Great photo opportunities. I had decided beforehand to enjoy every single moment of this trip, and from the first step we took we were bombarded with sensational sights, smells and sounds that satisfied all of our senses. I was not disappointed. On the one day, I think between Wavecrest and Trennerys, we came across the most amazing little beach made up entirely of pebbles of all different colours and sizes, and as the waves broke and washed back again the beach literally sang to us. Where the pebbles were small, it let off a high pitched noise, and where the pebbles were big and heavy it sounded more like roaring thunder. A truly remarkable experience, one which I will treasure forever. We had opted to stay an extra day at Wavecrest Hotel in the middle of our journey to celebrate our anniversary in style, and I am so pleased we did that. We fell in love with Wavecrest. What amazing views, a delightful hotel, with old-school charm and tradition so ingrained in the day's activities. Full English breakfast, loads of adventures to enjoy including a boat cruise and kayaking into the mangroves, a huge lunch spread, mid-afternoon cake and tea, and then the day ended with a three course dinner, plus cheese and biscuits and coffee before bed. I also treated myself to a full body massage at the spa, which was well-timed to get rid of any aches and pains before Part 2 of our trip. A memorable day indeed. The weather only really turned cold on the final leg of our last day, between Trennerys and Morgan Bay. The morning was nice and hot, with lots of beach walking. We crossed the Great Kei River on the pont and then it clouded over and the wind picked up. But despite this, we soldiered on to the finish line at Morgan Bay and had a good night's rest at Mitford Hotel. Fortunately the next day, before we headed home, the sun came out so we could climb up to see the bay from the top of the cliffs, try new poses with our selfie-stick (no kids to embarrass!), eat some lunch at the pub, then pack our bags and catch the pre-arranged shuttle back to East London airport at 2pm. Thanks so much to Sarah Drew for organising everything so efficiently for us. Active Escapes are definitely top of mind for our next bucket list adventure. Any suggestions from other adventurers out there are most welcome. Watch this space! Janet Mapstone
Thank you Active Escapes for a holiday to remember. We started our Wild Coast slack-packing hike at Kobb Inn. We were collected from the East London Airport on 26 June by a shuttle service and taken to Kobb Inn. From Kobb Inn to Cebe we had one of the most scenic hikes we've ever done. We stayed at Serendipity Guesthouse run by Jeanne Bonello. She and her staff were gracious hosts. We hiked to Wavecrest Hotel next, then to Trennerys and finally to Morgan Bay (Mitford Hotel). In all we hiked about 55km. The walks were easy going but some fitness is required to cope well with the distances. The landscapes are beautiful and we saw very few people on our hike - perfect because we were really looking for a bit of solitude. All the guides and porters were enthusiastic, friendly, efficient and punctual. Logistically the tour worked like a well-oiled machine. Ferry crossings were on time, guides and porters were always where we had to meet, the hotels and guesthouses were fantastic. We had great comfortable rooms always with a marvelous view of the ocean. I expected to lose a few pounds hiking, but the meals at the hotels were so ample and delicious I could not help but indulge. Our hiking companions have become great friends and we will keep in touch with the Mapstones. We left the Wild Coast refreshed and will always have fantastic memories of our hike. Thank you Active Escapes for making our holiday such a pleasure. Martin and Mareza Rudman
Agreed Kath! Now we have to get those ladies down to come and test out our 'Diamonds & Dust' tour..... hard riding, followed by a hard massage and bubblies in a hot-tub, I personally couldn't think of a better way to spend a weekend in the Midlands.
My name is Kath, and I work with Sarah and Matt at Active Escapes. I recently helped on the Club100 Tour de Kloof, where 17 riders who are members of the Johannesburg based Club came down to sample the delights that the Karkloof had to offer. They were such a fun crew, ready to cycle fast and far, and we had a ball taking part in their fines evenings and getting to know everyone's nicknames...and how they came to get those nicknames 🙂 We thrive on guiding people who genuinely love to ride, and Club100 were all that!