• Accommodation
  • Art & Craft - Other
  • Artist & Crafter Studio
  • Eating & Drinking
  • Leizure & Activities
  • Saunter Shopping Treats
  • Weddings & Conferences

Saunter 10


The Wild Coast

Work in progress and maps due to change

The Wild Coast is the northern section of the Eastern Cape, traditionally from the Kei mouth to the Kwa Zulu Natal border. It feels as if the world of development has passed the area by, once you head for the coast and away from the bigger towns. Roads can be tar or dirt and will be potholed with the added challenges of livestock: goats, cows, chickens and geese, enjoying the road too.

Rolling hills are dotted with thatched mud huts, painted green, turquoise, pink and blue. Locals are Xhosa and Pondo people with a rich cultural heritage. Many freedom fighters were Xhosa, including, Nelson Mandela. Both men and women can smoke pipes and as you drive you may still see men trotting on horseback with blankets over them, even in summer.

The name comes from the coast line with magnificent cliffs and treacherous rocks off the coast which caught out even savvy sailors. Many wrecks attest to the dangers of this coast line. The area’s charm lies in its wildness and sense of being untamed and timeless. This is not a holiday destination for those who want glitz. It is where one slows down to local pace to enjoy staggering scenery, abundant bird and marine life and beautiful long beaches which you may share with cows rather than crowds, away from public holidays. Along the coast are pockets of protected marine reserves. For many locals, the sea is one of their ancestors’ resting places and so holds spiritual connotations. At any time of year, you are likely to see dolphin and in part of the year whales moving to their birthing places further north.

The area is spoilt for superb beaches, there are some exceptional waterfalls and fabulous walks over the hills to get from one cove to another. Fishing is a popular pass time and be warned that you need permits for fishing and collecting muscles, oysters and crayfish. River and off shore boating are also popular.

One small town of choice is Port St Johns, set on the banks of a mighty river, the Umzimvubu and towered over by majestic cliffs. The Gates, which the river has carved.  Fish eagles cry over head. This friendly, rustic little place has a slight feel of a frontier town. There are some good eateries. It is a beautiful setting and there is lots to explore. Take a river barge ride up river, do a sea launch to go deep sea fishing or shark diving, go on hikes to a local village, visit an interesting bat cave, kayak up the river, get beautified Pondo style or watch the sun go down with a glass of wine from the stunning view point. There is even a little museum and a golf course! This town has always attracted interesting people. Join a local raconteur to hear tales that will fascinate you and bring the history of this town alive.

A very different little village, Cintsa, will also feature in this Saunter.

One of the world’s greatest wildlife events takes place off this coast each year in winter … the Sardine Run. See our special section on it. Whether you are a land lover or a diver, or simply want to view from a boat, this is an unmissable show as millions of sardines move up the coast attracting birds and marine life alike in feeding frenzies.

The Wild Coast has simple self- catering cottages, bed and breakfasts and old- fashioned hotels in the main. We have a few gems for you to choose from (3 to 4 star).  Check to see if your chosen route needs normal wheels or 4×4 and we suggest that you do not drive at night given that livestock like to sleep on the warm road. Allow extra time in case of punctures and avoid driving through the towns at peak hours as congestion can be horrific.

Browse This Saunter's Listings

Gill’s Beach House

Comfortable, spacious and right on the beach.

cat-icon 68 Marlin Place, Chintsa East, Amatola Coastal, 5275, South Africa

Cintsa or Chintsa

Peaceful, pristine and unspoilt town on beautiful estuary and beach.

cat-icon Cintsa, South Africa

Areena Adventure Village and Areena Quays Restaurant

Restaurant in scenic setting plus action packed fun including a zipline, a game reserve tour, boating and much more.

cat-icon Areena Riverside Resort, East London, South Africa

Areena Riverside Resort****

Wildly peaceful family resort and game reserve on scenic river bank

cat-icon Areena Riverside Resort, Cintsa, East London, South Africa

Bead Magic. Teddy Mutasa.

Creative wire and bead work from small curios to great ornaments.

cat-icon Dolphin Road, Beaconhurst, East London, South Africa

Southern Cross Cruises.

Dolphin and whale watching cruises off the Wild Coast

cat-icon 25 Pontoon Road, Parkside, East London, South Africa

Crawfords Beach Lodge****

Luxurious accommodation, delicious meals, warm hospitality and miles of pristine beach

cat-icon Crawfords Beach Lodge, Steenbras Drive, Chintsa, East London, South Africa
cat-icon Louis at Magwa Falls, Lusikisiki, South Africa
cat-icon Louis at Magwa Falls, Lusikisiki, South Africa

Louis at Magwa Falls self-catering

Off grid rustic self catering accommodation with superb views near Magwa Falls.

cat-icon Louis at Magwa Falls, Lusikisiki, South Africa

Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Walll and legend

cat-icon Hole-in-the-Wall, South Africa

Trennerys Hotel and Camping

Family hotel with old world charm and unique South African hospitality

cat-icon Trennery's Hotel, Qoloha, South Africa

Emerald Vale Craft Brewery & Restaurant

Craft beer made with passion and mouth watering meals

cat-icon Emerald Vale Brewing Co., Chintsa, Amatola Coastal, South Africa

The Bat’s Cave Trail. Half day out from Cintsa

Half day out from Cintsa to hike the scenic Bat's Cave Trail

cat-icon Nahoon, East London, South Africa

Nolizwi’s Homestay & Smuggler’s Cove Self-Catering

Comunity home stay with Nolizwi and her family with stunning nearby beach

cat-icon Beach Road, Tshani Village, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Cintsa Horses

2 hour beach riding trail on gentle, rehabilitated horses and ponys.

cat-icon Cintsa Horses, Cintsa East, South Africa

Namkelikele Guesthouse***

Comfortabe B & B accopmmodation in a central but quiet area.

cat-icon Namkelekile Accommodation, Golf Course Rd, Port Saint Johns, South Africa

Gypsey Moon Crafts

Lovely selection of locally and South African made crafts.

cat-icon Gypsey Moon, Port Saint Johns, South Africa

Schafli Manor****

Historic settler house, Five-star views, four-star stay, three-star price.

cat-icon Schafli Manor Wild Coast, 540 Heron Loop, Chintsa, Amatola Coastal, South Africa

Kamnandi Cottages

Perfect place to chill, just steps from the beach with stunning views.

cat-icon Kamnandi Cottages, Hole in the Wall, South Africa

Cremorne Holiday Resort

Nestled below a mountain, in a lovely garden with river views... accommodation to suit all tastes.

cat-icon Cremorne Estate, Ferry Point Road, Port Saint Johns, South Africa

Hluleka Nature Reserve and Chalets

Well appointed chalets in a stunning reserve with diverse eco systems and teeming with wildlife

cat-icon Hluleka Wildlife Reserve & Marine Sanctuary, South Africa

Doolittle Cottage

Escape tp unspoiled beaches, beautiful scenery and great walking

cat-icon Presley Bay, Lwandile, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Silaka Nature Reserve and Chalets

Small coastal forest and coastline reserve with rustic chalets.

cat-icon Silaka Nature Reserve: Chalets, Port Saint Johns, South Africa

Browns Beach Cottage

Stunning location with beautiful beach, steps away

cat-icon Brown Cottage, Hole in the Wall, Hole-in-the-Wall View Drive, Mgxotyeni, Eastern Cape, South Africa