Our Hiking Tours in Pondoland
5 Day Hike along the Wild Coast
Port St John’s to Madakeni Village
Distance : +- 12km
Walking Time : +- 6 Hours
Terrain : Hilly at the start
Highlights: Wildlife at Silaka Nature Reserve,
Panoramic Views of Sicambeni Village
Madakeni Village to Tsweleni Village
Distance: +- 11km
Walking time:+- 4 hours
Highlights: Brazenhead and beautiful rainforests
Tsweleni Village to Lucingweni Village
Distance: +- 17km
Walking Time: +- 8 Hours
Terrain: Rolling Hills..
Highlights: Game at Hluleka Nature Reserve
Untouched and clean beaches
Lucingweni Village to Tshani Village
Distance: +- 16km
Walking Time: +- 6 Hours
Terrain: Rolling Hills..
Highlights: Geographical Mapuzi point and cliffs
Tshani Village to Coffee Bay
Distance: +- 11km
Walking Time: +- 4 Hours
Terrain: Rolling Hills..
Highlights: Geographical Mapuzi Point and Cliffs
Day 1 - Port St John's to Madakeni Village
The hike departs from Second Beach. Enjoy an easy coastal walk on a small narrow path and never ending phenomenal sea views and scenaries. This 4km walk takes you through Silaka Nature Reserve and Third Beach where you enjoy your first short break, dip your feet in the sea water before the Heartbreak Hill climb begins!
At the start of the Heartbreak Hill you can choose between walking the coastal path that leads to the small Sugarloaf Beach and the geographical Sugarloaf Rock — this path contains more rolling hills and is the harder path to take but worth it! Otherwise you can walk through Sicambeni Village where you can socialise with local people and learn a little bit about the Xhosa culture before walking down through the beautiful views and landscape to uMngazi River where you will find the uMngazi Hotel.
After a short break at the uMngazi hotel we will take a boat accross the uMngazi River. Take your shoes off and walk the 2km long uMngazi and uMngazana Beach until the uMngazana River.
Then you take a ferry across and walk 2km to our first homestead in Madakeni Village where you will enjoy a welcome tea served with Xhosa bread followed by a traditional Xhosa meal. You will also get the chance to enjoy a donkey shower!
Each of the homesteads has one or two big round houses reserved for guests.
Day 2 - Madakeni Village to Tsweleni Village
You will start your day with a traditional Xhosa breakfast: Mealie porridge, Xhosa bread, fried or boiled eggs, tomato, and fried onions. Day 2 of the Wild Coast Exploration Hike is fairly short but full of hills.
This section of the Wild Coast contains many big cliffs that are difficult to climb and big dense rain forests. We therefore walk more inland through Mawotsheni Village where we enjoy our short break and are often finding one of the local farmers selling fresh fruits and cooked maize.
We will walk further to Magcakini Village for another short break before crossing Sinagwana River. Take a swim at Sinagwana Beach or walk the last 2km to our second homestead.
For those who are seafood lovers: Tsweleni Village or well known as Mpande is where some of the best fishermen and divers are found!
Shelly beach is just three minutes away from the homestead whenever the weather allows us we walk down for a beach bonfire with friendly local people.
Day 3 - Tsweleni Village to Lucingweni Village
This is the longest day of the whole 5 day hike. Many find it the hardest day. We start walking as early as 7am, even earlier in summer as the sun rises at 5am and our summers can be very hot.
We walk along the coast until Sharks Point Beach where the day gets harder as we start climbing a few hills and walk inland for about 3 hours until we reach the 2km long uMnenu Beach. We walk into Hluleka Nature Reserve in the early hours of the afternoon, take a 1 hour long lunch break, play with Zebras, Wildebeest, and lots of Vervet Monkeys.
From Hluleka we walk the last 4km to Lucingweni Village and enjoy a traditional Xhosa performance by young local girls and boys.
Day 4 - Lucingweni Village to Tshani Village
Day 4 of this hike is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable days of the whole hike. Many secluded beaches, the pristine Mthakatye River, panoramic ocean and forest views. Beautiful traditional Xhosa round houses dotted on green grassy hills all the way to Mdumbi River and beach.
Mdumbi beach has been voted the best beach in South Africa and has the best waves for surfing.
Next we walk 2.9km to Tshani Village.
Day 5 - Tshani Village to Coffee Bay
The last day of this hike is much shorter than the other days. We get up as early as 7am and start hiking at 8am.
First we enjoy breakfast, coffee and tea and slowly get ourselves ready to walk the 2km long beach, cross Mthatha river mouth and Mapuzi point before walking into Coffee Bay and enjoy a few cold drinks in the legendary Coffee Shack backpackers.
In Coffee Bay you can possibly partake in some of the activities offered by the backpackers in the area or local tour guides or just spend some time chilling on the Coffee Bay beach.
Coffee Shack Backpackers offers shuttles to Mthatha Shell Garage for BazBus and all other connections.
Mthatha shell garage / Bazbus, City to City, Grayhound and Mthatha Airport.
Pickups from Coffee Bay on request
Pickups from East London Airport and King Shaka International Aiport (Durban)
Day trips in and around Port St Johns
Canoe the mighty Mzimvubu River, famous for when it was full of hippos. Don’t worry, it’s safe now, and we will take you on an exciting paddle. Don’t worry if you have never been Canoeing before, our large two-person canoes are safe and sturdy. We either paddle down to the river mouth and stop for a beer at a local river-side restaurant, or we head up stream into stunning natural ecosystems. Then we drive you back to wherever you reside in the Port st johns area. The Canoe trip usually takes about three hours, but we can tailor it to suit your needs and fitness levels.
Hike or drive to one of the Homesteads, spend a night or two with friendly Xhosa families, get to know our culture, and enjoy traditional meals.
Two Day Hikes
Port St Johns – Mpande/Tsweleni Village
Hike through SiLAKA NATURE RESERVE, rural villages of the Wild Coast, green forests, jungles and two long stretch beaches after crossing uMngazi river. Stop for a hot cooked traditional Xhosa lunch at Sicambeni Village. A swim at uMngazi beach is a must before crossing uMngazana river.
Coffee Bay – Lubanzi Backpackers – Bulungula Lodge
We also offer 2 – 3 day hikes in the Coffee Bay area, using public transport to return back to Coffee bay. The Coffee bay – Lubanzi backpackers hike is about 10kms long , approximately 5 hours with a few short breaks along the way, all coastal and goes over the transkei rolling hills. Most times Whales and Dolphins are often seen playing games from a closeby bay or from a far distance. Halfway to the main Hole in the wall comes a hidden baby – hole, which similarly looks but smaller than the main Hole in the wall. When doing this 1 or 2 day hike to Lubanzi or Bulungula lodge, 45 minutes is pent at Hole in the wall to enjoy lunch and swimming towards the natural hole of the wall is nice and refreshing after a 3 hour walk.
Please choose from the activities below and let us know if you wish to participate in any of the them
Xhosa culture, customs and rituals
The friendly and welcoming families of each village are always happy to invite guests that are visiting their village to join traditional ceremonies taking place at different times of each week. Your guide will keep you informed of any village happenings for your authentic rural experience.
Traditional Xhosa dishes and Xhosa bread making lessons
Each of the host families will invite you into their kitchens to participate in the process of preparing your dinner, this is the best way to experience and learn about traditional Xhosa dishes.
Fishing, cray-fishing and freediving or snorkelling for sea food
Wild Side Hiking is in partnership with local fishermen and divers that will take you on a short fishing trip in order to add another fresh ingredient to your dinner.
Beach Bonfires and lots of fun!
“Isikolo semvelaphi kwantu” meaning the traditional classroom of the former Xhosa tribe, this is where storytelling and the historical background of each clan is passed from one generation to another.
Sangoma or Herbal doctor visit
Every rural village has one or two so called Sangoma (diviner) and Inyanga (herbalist). These healers are very helpful and important to those with physical, emotional and spiritual illnesses. Visiting the Sangoma and Inyanga will help you learn more about the process of healing using natural remedies.
isiXhosa language lessons
Your local Xhosa speaking guide will teach you the basics and useful expressions, as well as the pronunciation of the clicking words.
Authentic Sangoma trance dancing and drumming
The Sangoma and Inyanga refreshes the connections with the Ancestors through music, dancing and burning Impepho (Sage) monthly, which they call Intlombe. So guests will undertake this event at an appropriate time.