Silaka lies in a forested valley 7km south of Port St Johns.
A small but beautiful coastal reserve, Silaka stretches from Second Beach to Sugarloaf Rock, covering 400ha. The Gxwaleni River flows through the reserve and forms an estuary, which enters the sea at the beautiful little beach. The reserve comprises grassland, a dramatic piece of coastline and a deep ravine with magnificent indigenous coastal forest including huge trees, offering a pristine coastal setting and exceptional bird-watching. Bird Rock, a huge rocky outcrop just offshore, provides a resting place for the white-breasted cormorant, amongst others. The reserve is protected to conserve the biodiversity of a near pristine example of Eastern Cape Forest.
Trails lead through the evergreen forest and provide the opportunity to view elusive birds such as Knysna Loerie, Cinnamon Dove and Grey Cuckooshrike. Along the river see the Halfcollared Kingfisher and Longtailed Wagtail at fast flowing stretches. Giant forest trees are clad in mosses, lichens and epiphytic orchids, while lilies bloom on the forest floor. Blue Duiker and Bushbuck are indigenous to the forest but are secretive and seldom seen.
Facing the sea are grassy hills where the stately Aloe ferox blooms in winter. The Natal Red Rock Rabbit lives amongst boulders and introduced Blesbuck, Blue Wildebeest and Burchell’s Zebra graze the palatable grasses. Some of the zebra interbred with donkeys and have different markings.
The shoreline is very rugged, with a small sandy beach at the mouth of the river and nice swimming, below the rest camp. Thickbilled Weaver and Yellowthroated Longclaw breed in the marsh, from where Cape Clawless Otters can explore the beach. Interesting rock pools occur on the shore surrounding the island, which can be reached at low tide. At the estuary opposite Bird Island, an attractive pebble beach is surrounded by driftwood and aloes, which grow almost to the sea. Large stands of banana-like Strelitzia nicolai blanket some of the sea-facing slopes, where red-hot pokers and Flame Lilies bloom. It is a pretty reserve.
Getting there from Port St Johns by car is easy and there is a lovely gentle hike from Second Beach to Silaka.
If you are staying at Silaka, expect simple, rustic chalets and you need to bring everything. Bring drinking water. Theirs is fine but brownish. There are 18 self -catering thatched chalets. Each chalet has a spacious living area and a fully fitted kitchen that is fully serviced.
14 chalets can accommodate 4 persons each; 2 chalets accommodate 2 persons each and 2 chalets accommodate 6 persons each.
The chalets are situated on three terraces, with a forest view. Chalets 11 to 14, on the third terrace, are closest to the beach. Each has a view of either forest or ocean
Linen, cutlery and crockery is provided.
Book accommodation with ECPT online. http://bookonline.ecpta.co.za