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3 or 5 Night Fully Catered & Supported Hiking Trail - Northern Wild Coast

Keen to hike the most rugged and pristine section of Wild Coast, but don't feel like the schlep of planning and preparing meals, or bringing little more than you tekkies and beach towel? Provided your hike is planned for outside the peak school holidays, we can offer a fully supported, fully catered version of the 3 & 5 night Pondo-Explore trails.

You will overnight at the same East African style tented camps, but all bedding will be supplied. Your main kit bags will be transferred around from camp to camp by vehicle, so you need only hike with a light daypack. Dinner, Breakfast and a packed lunch for each trail day will be provided by the tented camps and your third night is spent at Mbotyi River Lodge hotel.

The tented camps all have superb locations: sheltered under the milkwoods overlooking an estuary, or perched on a hillside offering panoramic sea views. This fully supported hike is a fantastic trail to do with a group of friends looking for a hike that is within reach of the average hiker and with enough activities - like canoeing up the estuaries, fishing and swimming, to keep the Duracell bunnies entertained.

Trail Description

We offer a 3 or 5 night hiking package, both starting from Msikaba and either finishing at Mbotyi (3 Night Trail) or in Port St John’s (the 5 Night trail). Highlights of this trail include the deepest estuary in South Africa (Msikaba), the ocean spray spectacular at Luphuthana, waterfalls which plunge directly into the ocean (including the 80 metre high waterfall at Waterfall Bluff), Cathedral Rock, friendly Pondo villages and sweeping vistas. During the annual sardine run (June-July), the ocean is a-frenzy with game fish, dolphins, sharks and myriad seabirds.
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Trip Duration 3 or 5 Night Trail Options
Daily Distances Day 1: 16km    Day 2: 18.5km    Day 3: 11km
Day 4: 10km    Day 5: 13km
Trail Grading  
Physical Fitness Grade 3 – easy gradient for first 2 days but higher daily distances. More gradient ascent (steeper hill climbs) on Day’s 3 & 4, but shorter days.
Technicality Grade 2 – limited scrambling, some sheer sections for view look-out points (optional)
Trail Terrain Coastal Trail - traversing grasslands with deep forest ravines & gorges, rocky headlands, sandy beaches and friendly Pondo villages.
Accommodation 1 Night DBB at Mbotyi River Lodge
2 or 4 Nights - Tented Camps -twin bedded safari tents on wooden platforms under thatch boma's - with ensuite ablutions & hot water gas shower. Central dining boma where your meals will be prepared & served.
Logistic Support This is a fully catered & supported trail.
A path-finder/guide is included & maps will also be supplied
Tour Highlights Sunset paddle up the Msikaba estuary & a visit to the Vulture Colony; excavation remains from treasure-seekers at Grosvenor, shipwrecks, golden miles of unspoilt beach, incredible spray display at Luphuthana, Waterfall Bluff, Cathedral Rock, Mfhilo Falls, natural swimming pools on the Mlambomkulu, friendly Pondo villages. Breathtaking views.
Other Activities Canoeing on Msikaba and Manteku Estuaries (canoes available free from the camps), excellent rock & surf fishing, birding, ocean swimming and snorkelling opportunities.
Fauna & Flora The Pondoland Centre of Endemism is one of the most important centres of plant diversity and endemism in Africa with over 2 253 recorded flora species, 196 of which are endemic to the region.
Climate Mild sub-tropical climate with small seasonal temperature variation. Summer months (Nov - Feb), avg max daily temperatures of around 27-29 degrees celsius whilst winter months (June - Aug) avg 21 deg C. Night temps seldom drops below 10 deg C in winter and average around 15 deg C in summer. Most rain is received from summer thunderstorms (avg of 150mm/month in Nov – Feb), whilst the driest months, June-Aug produce an average of 40mm/month.
Seasonality & Best Time Year Due to its temperate climate, Pondoland is good for hiking all year round. Whilst summer days can be quite sweaty, a refreshing swim in the ocean or river enroute becomes all the more inviting. Summer rainfall is usually in the form of quick thundershowers which pass quickly. Summer is also best for birdlife. The mild weather, sunny days and low probability of rain during winter also make this an excellent time (and a welcome retreat from the biting cold of an interior winter). Spring and Autumn months generally combine the best of all conditions.

Availability: This fully supported/catered Pondo-Hopper trail can only be offered outside of the peak school holiday periods.
Group Size Minimum 2 persons - maximum 24 persons for the tented camps.
Price / PP 5 Night Pondo-Hopper:
only offered to grps of 4 or more

4-6 Persons - R7500/ pp
7 -8 Persons – R7300/ pp
9 -10 Persons – R6900/ pp 

3 Night Pondo-Hopper

2 Persons – R5700/ pp
3 Persons – R5500/ pp
4 -6 Persons – R4900/ pp 

* Children Rates will be quoted based on ratio of full paying adults
Price Includes
  • Transfer from Port St John’s (or Mbotyi) to Msikaba trail head
  • 3 or 5 Nights Accommodation: 1 Night (DBB) at Mbotyi River Lodge & remainder of nights in private tented camps
  • All Meals: Dinner, Breakfast & Packed lunch on hike days
  • Local Hiking Guide/pathfinder on all days
  • Daily Luggage Transfers & Vehicle Support
  • Reserve Permits & Trail Fees
  • Emergency Support Service
  • Canoes – available at Msikaba & Manteku Camps
Optional Extras:
Extra day at Grosvenor Inn (splits first hike day into 2) - R1000/pp
Extra night at Mbotyi Hotel - R850 - R1000/pp
view from Drews camp looking down to Mbotyi beach - Pondoland hike, Wild Coast

Would you like to hike this route but happy to take care of your own meals - why not try the Pondo-Explorer?

The Msikaba River, the southern boundary of Mkambathi Nature Reserve is one of the deepest estuaries in South Africa
take a sunset canoe up the Msikaba & Manteku estuaries. Canoes available from the camps