Transkei 2023 by Gerald O’Brien

The wild coast has always been an interesting place to explore, rugged coastlines, wild oceans and plenty of off-roading, all good things for the soul.

Our eight-day itinerary did not include any camping it was all chalet type accommodation and some of them included dinner bed and breakfast.

Ther itinerary went like this.

Day 1 &2, Haven Rock in the Dwesa nature reserve. Accommodation included 3 tasty meals a day, no self -catering available. We took a few long walks along the wide open and clean beaches. This year we did not have any takers for the horse riding along the beach, but if you enjoy horse riding it’s a great place to do it with an experienced and passionate guide.

Next up was two nights at the White Clay, roughly mid-way between Coffee Bay and the Hole in the wall. White Clay has self -catering as well as restaurant and bar facilities, all with the most amazing close-up view of the rugged and wild coastal cliffs with crashing waves below. For the early rises, the sunrises where really something special with scenes that will not be forgotten. For seafood lovers, the restaurant had an impressive menu, and the portions were very generous indeed. Certainly, no complaints here, everyone very happy indeed. From the White clay we took a drive to Coffee Bay in the north and then to Hole in the wall in the south. Sadly, coffee bay was hit hard by the big rains in April, leaving the main bridge to the north down and quite a bit of damage done to the surrounding areas, typical infighting between the authorities has prevented any start to repair work been undertaken to date. The hole in the wall is a spectacular sight when the tide is high and the wave come crashing through the big hole towards the beach. Conditions were good, so we were able to drive out to a viewpoint and then with a short walk we could see the Baby Hole in the wall. Ny quite as impressive as the big guy, but interesting all the same. The drive to the viewpoint where we parked our vehicles had the adrenaline going as we descended the side of the hill with the roaring ocean right in front of us and not too much room for error.

Next up was another two nights stop over at a place called Hluleka. Hluleka is situated in the Hluleka Reserve and consists of the most amazing “A” frame chalets, all with good sea views and very well stocked kitchens. All very comfortable indeed with splendid views of the sunrise, right from the pillow. Hluleka is certainly the pride and joy of the Eastern Cape Tourism dept.

White Caly to Hluleka was a 70 km drive through the rolling hills and rivers of the Transkei and we should be there by lunch time. What we did not know at the time, was that the April Rains had been that way too. Just 9 km from the main gate, the main bridge over the river was badly damaged and impassible. No quick bypass routes in the Transkei, some 100 kms and 5 hours later we arrived at the chalets at around 20h00. On the brighter side, we got to see quite a bit more than we originally planned for, with some night driving thrown in. We had an interesting walk along the beach with some intriguing stone formations and bubbles. Decided that bubbles were caused by small pebbles being encased in a mud slide from a bygone era.

Next up has a one nightery at a Place called Silaka, just outside Port St Johns and just past second beach. Silaka is also an Eastern cape Tourism set up, and as such is also very well presented, no “A” frames this time but certainly very comfortable. It’s a self- catering resort with braai areas outside every chalet. Fortunately, we were warned about the monkeys, as they were a pest and were really keen to get into our chalets. The beach was different to all the other places but is was all the same an interesting wild coast beach with plenty rocks and formations that leave things open for discussion. Port St johns is sadly a distant shadow of its former glory as a remote Wild Coast holiday town and Ben Dekker fame. Silaka is a reserve which is separated from the town, and although a smally reserve, there are a few interesting hikes to be taken, or walks along the wild and rugged beach.

The last port of call was at Mbotyi River Lodge at Mncaba, a single nightstand with dinner bed and breakfast, It’s a large establishment with beds for 120 people, but it’s a very well laid out and spacious venue where there’s loads of room for everyone. They are currently busy with a campsite at present which should be ready by the summer. The chalet or ether sea or river facing and are quite comfortable to stay in. The meals were also really good and well laid out with a large variety on the menu.

From Mbotyi back to Durban was a relatively short run going through Bizana and then Port Edward.

This was a great trip enjoyed by a great group people who all got along well and enjoyed one another’s company. Actually, that’s how the trip’s run and what makes them so much fun.

Same time same place next year.

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