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HIKING ON THE WILD COAST

Walking & Slackpacking Trails on the Wild Side

With its phenomenal scenery, quite unlike any other area in South Africa, the Wild Coast is a hiker's paradise. Stretching from Port Edward in the north all the way down to Cintsa in the south; the landscape changes from the softer features of KwaZulu-Natal's south coast to that of the rugged, raw beauty synonymous with the Eastern Cape.

Historically, this 300km stretch of coast was dubbed 'wild' due to its notoriously rocky headlands that ended the voyage of many a ship. It is these same headlands, banked by brilliant green hills and sliced by deep rivers that provide the diverse walking landscape hikers so enjoy.

Unique sights such as waterfalls that drop into the sea, Nguni cattle that roam the beaches and massive caves only accessible by foot - provide fantastic spectacles along the way, with no shortage of photo opportunities. Mangrove swamps in sheltered estuaries, indigenous forests and traditionally cultivated fields extend the variety of views, thumb-tacked together by the colourful thatched rondavels of the local amaXhosa people.

Slackpacking, where one's luggage is transported or portered from one overnight stop to the next, is an appealing prospect for those not keen on hauling a heavy backpack. Active Escapes offers a 'slackpacker' hike option in all areas of the Wild Coast. In fact, if you wanted to walk the whole 300km of Wild Coast from north to south without carrying a backpack, we could organise it. This is something which sets us distinctly apart from other hiking operators.

Of course for those who prefer the traditional hiking trails, staying in more humble backpackers or even bringing along your own tents; Active Escapes can assist with logistics to ensure a well organised, hassle free trip. We provide trail descriptions and maps, local guides and return transfers to simplify your Wild Coast hike experience.


Active Escapes offers hiking and slackpacking trails along the entire Wild Coast. With options to suit any budget, we cover the full spectrum of accommodation preference from family hotels and B&B's to tented camps and traditional amaXhosa homestays.



    FEATURED TRAILS


  • local lady carries dinner on her head, Mbotyi Wild Coast

    PONDO WILD CAMPER
    Have tent, toppers and cooker.. but need a route, guide and some logistical support? We can arrange a Pondoland Hiking trail from Port Edward - Mbotyi, camping wild and free.

  • corporate trail group at Hole in the wall, Wild CoastPSJ - COFFEE BAY TRAIL

    This trail is well suited to the budget conscious hiker looking for an authentic & iconic Wild Coast experience. Overnighting in back-packers and friendly village homestays.

  • relaxing at Wavecrest hotel, Wild CoastHOTEL-HOPPING TRAIL

    Flying into East London, the more luxury hotel-hopping trail can be arranged as a weekend break or as a 5 night trail.


Wild Coast Hiking Trail Packages


PONDO-EXPLORE TRAILS (SELF-CATERED) »

tented camp at Msikaba

On this self-catered 3 or 5 night hiking trail, you'll overnight in tented/thatch camps in pristine & 'wild' locations. The camps are well equipped for self-catering so you need only bring your food, and porters can be arranged to lighten your load. On both the 3 & 5 day trails, an inclusive night at Mbotyi River Lodge with dinner & breakfast, provides a night of luxury on the trail.

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FULLY SUPPORTED PONDO-HOPPER »

waterfall bluff, Pondoland Wild Coast

This trail is along the same 3 or 5 day route as the Pondo-Explore, but is a fully supported and catered trail where all bedding & meals are catered for and your luggage is transferred from camp to camp by vehicle. This hike can be offered to groups of 2-24 persons, outside of the peak school holidays. A great option for groups who'd like to have the planning & logistics taken care of.

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PONDO-VOYAGER HIKING TRAIL »

traditional amaXhosa homestay on the Pondo-villager hiking trail

If driving from Gauteng or KZN, our 3-5 Day Pondo-Voyager, starting at Port Edward and finishing either at Mkambati or Mbotyi is a good option to consider. With accommodation in friendly homestay's, community-camps, nature reserve & more luxury lodge options in the latter half of the trail, this hike packs an authentic mix of experiences along a diverse route.

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PONDOLAND - WILD CAMPER & VBA's »

hikers doing it the self-sufficient backpacking way

So you've heard about Waterfall Bluff, Cathedral Rock and the wild hiking that Pondoland has to offer? Have the hiking tent, gas cooker and are backpacker fit, but looking for a guide, a route, and some logistical support like an end-point transfer? Active Escapes can arrange 'wild camping' trips from Port Edward through to PSJ... or overnight in friendly village homestays.

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MTENTU-EXPLORER HIKING TRAIL »

traditional amaXhosa homestay on the Pondo-villager hiking trail

Short on time, but wish to walk the Wild Coast, within easy accessibility of Durban? Our 3 Night Mtentu-Explorer takes you to places of paradise for which the Wild Coast is famed: private beaches, forgotten falls, a pristine estuary and game roaming wild in Mkambati. Overnighting in a village homestay the first night and a joint-venture eco-camp the next two nights – your stay bolsters the local economy and eco-tourism, much needed in the case against mining. More »

HAVEN to Cebe- the Ranger »

hikers doing it the self-sufficient backpacking way

This fully catered trail has been made possible by the recent development of a community lodge on the stunning Nqabarha River – approximately half-way between the Haven and Kob Inn hotels. It can be done as a 2 day/3 night trip, but we recommend extending it down to Cebe or Wavecrest over 3-4 hiking days. The trail is best suited to hikers with a good level of fitness with an aspiration for wild, unspoilt terrain.

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PORT ST JOHN'S - COFFEE BAY BACKPACKER »

jutting cliffs & rugged terrain on the PSJ - Coffee Bay trail

The 60km stretch of undulating Wild Coast terrain from Port St John's to Coffee Bay, is well suited to the more budget conscious traveler looking for an authentic Wild Coast Experience. On this 5 day guided hiking trail you can chose between friendly village-based homestays, chilled-out backpackers, or a combination of both.

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COFFEE BAY - BULUNGULA BACKPACK TRAIL »

image of Hole in the Wall

Past the iconic 'Hole in the Wall' near Coffee Bay, down to the beautiful Bulungula estuary, this section of Wild Coast can be hiked with overnights in friendly backpackers and family-orientated hotels. Guided, with porter-support as an option, you need not worry about catering or bedding on this newly launched slackpacking trail

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LOWER WILD COAST HOTEL-HOPPING TRAIL »

hikers taking it easy on the hotel-hopping Wild Coast meander

If your idea of a hiking holiday is as much about the chilled wine, a comfy bed and a seafood dinner, then the Lower Wild Coast Hotel-Hopping trail should be right up your alley. We will tailor the hike to your group's time constraints, from a 2 day weekend break to a 6 night trail starting at Kob Inn and finishing at Cintsa, near East London.

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TAILOR-MADE WILD COAST HIKES »

waterfalls which plunge directly into the ocean on the Pondoland Wild Coast- Mfhilo Falls pictured here

Having walked every kilometre of the Wild Coast, we can provide sound advice on trail routes and options. If you wanted to hike the entire Wild Coast as a corporate or personal challenge – we could arrange it. If there is a section of coastline that you'd like to hike & is not covered by any of our standard offerings, then why not drop us a line and we'll see if we can make it happen.

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