Photos courtesy of Umngazi River Bungalows, Eastern Cape

Coffee Bay

Wild Coast

The Wild Coast is one of South Africa's most remote stretches of shoreline. Stretching from East London in the Eastern Cape all the way north to Port Edward and the southern border of KwaZulu-Natal, the region is home to some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the world.

It is a place of steep green hills atop which sit clusters of traditional Xhosa mud huts; a land of windswept cliffs, deserted white-beaches, forests, untamable waves - and numerous shipwrecks.

It is also the birthplace of two former South African presidents - Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki - and the historical home to the Xhosa nation.

Prior to 1994, the Wild Coast formed part of the Transkei, an independent homeland politically and economically independent of apartheid South Africa.

The area is still somewhat lost in time - a place where hippies, surfers and Xhosa people live side by side, with little in the way of possessions and much in the way of hospitality and friendliness.

While not nearly as glamorous as South Africa's many popular beach destinations, every year adventurous and eco-loving locals and foreigners travel into the depths of the Wild Coast.

Hikers, surfers, nature lovers and cyclists navigate the coastline, bathing in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, which on a "busy" day, may usually have one or two locals and a few Nguni cows at the most.

The Wild Coast has also attracted some famous adventurers. Most notably, the United Kingdom's Prince Harry and Prince William explored portions of the Wild Coast on motorcycles back in 2008 as part of a 1 000-mile charity trek across South Africa.

How to do it

Whether you are up for a week-long hike or just want to drop in on one of the main coastal villages for a few days, the Wild Coast will leave an impression.

Some visitors choose to self-drive and navigate dirt roads, goats and cattle, while others prefer to join scheduled activity-based tours like hiking, horse riding and mountain bike tours.

Bungalows, backpackers, beach lodges and modest hotels comprise the majority of accommodation in the Wild Coast's populated areas. Accommodation is cheap in comparison to South Africa's main tourist cities, but the remoteness of the area means that some pre-trip planning is necessary.

Source: Fifa and
Pictures courtesy of South Africa Tourism