Wild Coast Travel Guide

The Wild Coast stretches along the Eastern Cape's northern coastline, and is an untamed wilderness of secluded bays, craggy cliff faces, river valleys and rolling hills. Often referred to as the 'Transkei', which is the name of the apartheid-era homeland that once covered most of this area, this dramatically beautiful destination is a must for adventurous travellers.

The region's forests are full of cycads and yellowwood trees, as well as bird and animal life, and are perfect for hiking. There are also many 4x4 trails, though beaches are off limits because of their delicate ecosystems.

Accommodation tends to be rustic, with the most famous venues being isolated camping and backpacking communities. This makes the Wild Coast an ideal South African destination for young budget travellers and backpackers. It's a wonderful surfing destination, too, with some gorgeous surf breaks that are never crowded and often kept secret. Travellers must watch out for sharks.

East London is a good starting point for a journey to the Wild Coast, and there are a few tour operators offering bus services through the region. However, apart from this the only way to get around is by hiring a car and road tripping. Travellers should bear in mind that while this is a wonderful way to explore, the infrastructure is awful and the roads can be really challenging, with animals such as cows, donkeys, and dogs crossing the streets, huge potholes, and virtually no signposts. For confident drivers, this is all part of the adventure.