The Transkei is located in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It is a 250 km stretch of a rugged untamed coastline which is also known as the “Wild Coast”…and for a good reason.
THE SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE
This part of South Africa is a very special place to me, I grew up playing along these shores picking up shells and learning how to fish. Lucky for me my parents enjoyed the simple things in life and every chance we could get we came down here.
Today my family have their own cottage where we come to escape. No TV just stories around a campfire, city lights are replaced with stars and roosters are your 4am wake up call. It really is an amazing place to connect with nature, she does demand respect though so I do recommend a guide if you are unfamiliar with this part of the world.
SHIPWRECKS ALONG THE WILD COAST
The stretch of coastline is littered with shipwreck debris and is a graveyard to many ships who have succumbed to its pounding seas. During stormy conditions, this rugged terrain turns deadly and has it has known to swallow passing ships whole.
LANDSCAPES OF THE TRANSKEI
The stunning landscape consists of rolling hills dotted with thatched rondavels and Homesteads of the local Xhosa people who still farm these lands today.
Modern living has not quiet invaded this part of South Africa yet, there are no freeways, no tarred roads and no electricity. Water is still fetched from the rivers and shared with livestock and crops.
BEACHES OF THE TRANSKEI
The beaches are unspoiled, littered with driftwood, treasures from the ocean and sea shells. Some of the beaches are covered with pebbles and often you see cows walking on the sand looking to graze.
HIKING, WATERFALLS AND KAYAKING
The Wild Coast is known for its hiking trails which run along the water’s edge some even take days until you reach civilization.
There are waterfalls to explore, dolphin and whale watching in the winter months of April-July and canoeing up rivers and gorges.
BIRD LIFE, FISHING AND TOURS
The bird life here is ample, making it every bird watcher and photographers dream! Anglers catch many different species of fish.
There are old fishing tales of huge fish caught along these shores that have been past down for generations.
Tours are provided by the locals where you can get to experience real Transkei culture. Try home made African beer, watch traditional dancing or get to meet an amaxwele (herbalist, healer)
HLULEKA NATURE RESERVE
There are two main reserves along this stretch of coastline. The Hluleka Nature Reserve has a diverse range of eco systems, it includes an area of coastline as well as a lush forest, it is located 30 Kms south of Port St. Johns. The reserve is a nature lover’s paradise where you will see Zebra’s grazing on the open fields and an abundance of wildlife in the forest. Other animals that can be spotted are Bushbuck, Eland, Impala, blesbuck, wildebeest and Blue Duiker. There are many paths to meander from the beach into the forest. The accommodation offered on the reserve has a natural and very comfortable feel to it.
MKAMBAITI NATURE RESERVE
The Mkambati Nature Reserve lies just after Port Edward. The reserves coastline stretches over 10km, made up of forested ravines and waterfalls, including one of the few waterfalls in the world that falls straight into the sea.
Grasslands cover a large portion of this reserve and again it is full of many different species of wild life. There is so much to do here from hiking to fishing, caves and beaches to explore and plenty of wild life to photograph. There are different types of accommodation offered for large and small groups with something to suit everybody.
THE AFRICAN EXPERIENCE
There is so much to experience on this stretch of coastline if you wanting to get a break from city life and explore something wild, untouched and traditional. There are some Unique AirBNB’s available that will accommodate you for a real African experience.
GETTING TO THE TRANSKEI
To reach this part of South Africa’s coastline you have Fly to Ushaka airport just outside the city of Durban and head south 200km where you will cross the Umtamvuna river bridge into the Eastern Cape (Transkei) Most of these places are remote you will need a 4×4 vehicle.
Have you been to the Transkei? Feel free to share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.
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