Walking on the Wild Coast

We were delighted when Helen asked us to join her and her group for a four day hike on the Transkei Wild Coast.  Most of us had done the Wild Coast Meander, but this time we would be doing the Combo, a combination of two sections of the Meander and two sections of the Amble.  Alasdair and Helen, Eileen, Keith and Debby, Kinki, David and Lynette and Renee and I set out on Monday the 5th and drove to Port Alfred where we stayed overnight.  This allowed us the easy task of only a short hop to East London on Tuesday, where our hosts met us and bussed us the last leg into Wavecrest, whence we would commence our walk.

The route

Helen had decided to spend two nights at Wavecrest, so we had a good opportunity to explore the beautiful area around the hotel as well taking a boat ride up the river to see the mangrove swamps and any birds that were around.  We had the unusual sighting of a pair of Fish eagles, each carrying off half a snake!  It also afforded me the chance to celebrate my seventieth birthday knowing that I could sleep off any ill effects the next day without having to worry about a 14 km hike on the beach!!  It was a privilege to share the day with such good friends!

We set out on Thursday and covered the 14 kms to Trennery’s without any problems, despite it being quite hot in the forest area at the start of the walk.  Fortunately, the coast was cooler and we could swim at any of the sandy beaches.  The ferry at Kobonqaba took the form of a canoe and the poor ferryman was quite exhausted after ten crossings, as he could only manage one person at a time.  Our first guide, Dina, left us in the capable hands of Alex, who saw us through to our hotel where a cold beer or two hit the spot!!

The next day we had a good walk to the mouth of the Kei river, but the tide was too low for the car ferry to operate, so we sat around on the muddy river bank for about an hour before we could cross.  We said goodbye to Alex, and were met by Nopiwe, who made sure we didn’t get lost in the forests on the way to Morgan Bay.  She was a knowledgeable lady and provided good company on the walk.  Our accommodation had been good all the way, but it seemed to get better with each day!  We also enjoyed splendid meals wherever we stayed.

Certain members of our party (who shall remain nameless) chose to take a lift to the top of the cliffs which dominated the start of our walk to Haga Haga on Saturday morning!  Four stalwarts, however, walked up the hill and were rewarded with wonderful views of the dolerite cliffs and the pounding waves at their base.  After a few kilometres we had a river crossing and were pleased to note that, with the low tide, we only had to wade through shallow water.  Some lucky girls got carried across, but most had to get their feet wet!!

We traversed some very beautifully weathered shales along the last few kilometres to Haga Haga and the shells on the beach were varied and plentiful.  It was another day of pleasant warm weather and we were all thrilled by the remote beauty of the area through which we had to walk.  The beer at Haga Haga was icy cold and the beds soon sagged under the weight of ten weary bodies.  At dinner we were blown away by a magnificent buffet which would have fed 50, but there were only 16 guests that night and we all over ate!!

On Sunday we awoke to a rainy day, but we still had 16 kms to go and this over the roughest section of the route.  We resolutely set forth and it wasn’t long before we were soaked through!  Some of us abandoned our ineffective rain gear and just enjoyed the weather.  Unfortunately, the rain made for slippery conditions underfoot and, despite our taking care, many of us fell.  It was only sheer luck that prevented any injuries, which could have been disastrous given the remoteness of our route.  Luckily the rocky sections over which we had to scramble only extended half way and we were able to enjoy a long and beautiful beach for the last 9 kms.  Our last night was spent at Crawfords Cabins at Cintsa, a beautiful resort, which we were happy ro arrive at, so that we could strip of our sodden clothing and get warm!!  Blisters and bruises were tended and we assembled for our final dinner before falling into bed, happy that we had completed our 57 km task in pretty good shape.

The next day saw us returning to East London, where we collected our cars and set out for home, or wherever.  We will all look back on the walk with good memories of a most enjoyable outing in the company of good friends.  We all agreed that we will have to go a long way to have a better experience.  Thank you all for your wonderful company!!

Click on an image to enlarge it.

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