The Wild Coast

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The Wild Coast is slowly starting to develop for visitors but the infrastructure is light, the services simple and the scenery absolutely breathtaking. Stretching from East London up to the border of KwaZulu-Natal, it is the heartland of the Xhosa people. Here they still lead a predominantly rural lifestyle, and as you bump along dusty roads, you’ll see their vegetable patches surrounded by natural fences of prickly aloes, and see them herding their cattle on horseback. As well as the chance to learn more about the Xhosa, the great attraction is the coastline. Hikes travel along vast stretches of beach, crossing placid river mouths that have bottled up behind sand dunes to form coastal lagoons. At Hole in the Wall, the waves have bored a huge arch through an offshore island, surging through with a crashing roar, whilst at Port St John, a broad, greasy river cuts through thick bush and the twin towering mountains that guard the town, a scene more like the tropical jungles of Asia. The town of Umtata, inland from the coast, is where Nelson Mandela comes from, and he has retired to his old village just outside the town; Umtata has a Nelson Mendela museum to visit. The Wild Coast offers a slice of scenery and everyday life that is amongst the most unchanged and unspoilt in the country, and because of this is a really rewarding place to visit for those who want to see South Africa beyond the normal tourist destinations.


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