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3, 5 - 8 Day Pondoland Backpacking Trails... Camping Wild

So you've heard about the Xolobeni red sands, Waterfall Bluff and the wild hiking that Pondoland has to offer? Have tent, cooker and a foldaway pot-set ... but looking for a guide, a route, and some logistical support - like an end-point transfer?

For the adventurous at heart, Active Escapes can arrange 'wild camping' trips accompanied by an experienced and certified local guide, starting out from Port Edward and hiking through to Mkambati (3 day) , Mbotyi ( 5 day).... or all the way down to Port St John's on an 8 day Pondo Epic!

If you really want to rough-it you can bring your own tent and food along, but we recommend getting a true wild coast experience by mixing this up with some overnights at friendly homestay's along the way. On certain nights there are also 'upgrade' options where you can capitalise on hot running water for a s...scrub and a shave!

enquire with Active Escapes


Trip Duration 3, 5 & 7-8 Day Trail Options
Daily Distances Day 1: 14km    Day 2: 12km    Day 3: 12-15km
Day 4: 16km    Day 5: 18km    Day 6: 10km
Day 7: 11km    Day 8: 13km
Trail Grading  
Physical Fitness Grade 4 – Carrying a backpack with your own food & equipment requires backpacking experience & a good level of fitness. Whilst porters can be arranged this trail is aimed at the true backpacker & larger grps.
Technicality Grade 2– some scrambling, rock-hopping and river crossings
Trail Terrain Coastal Trail – traversing grasslands with deep forest ravines and gorges, rocky headlands, sandy beaches and friendly Pondo villages.
Accommodation Combination of:
  • Wild camping (near streams, sheltered clearings in dune forest and pristine locations)
  • Local village homestays (where simple meals are provided)
  • Upgraded accom options at certain locations (tented camps & a hotel)
  • Logistic Support Catering:
    Meals are provided by the village homestays, community lodge & the hotel (if you chose these options) If wild camping you will need to be entirely self-sufficient with your own food & cooking equipment.

    Guides & Porters:
    Guided by a passionate local guide.
    Porters can be arranged on special request.
    Tour Highlights Informative guiding, friendly amaXhosa hospitality, exploring the stunning Mtentu Estuary, jumping off a rock ledge into a deep blue pool (Mkambati).... and then skinny-dipping, visiting the superbowl & vulture colony on the Msikaba River, shipwrecks, cows on the beach, golden miles of unspoilt beach, incredible spray display at Luphuthana, Waterfall Bluff, Cathedral Rock, Mfhilo Falls, view from Drew's Camp, camping wild at the Mlambomkulu pools, canoeing up the Msikaba & Manteku estuaries.
    Other Activities If staying at the tented camps - canoes available for hire at Msikaba Estuary, excellent rock and 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: All year round on the wild camping and VBA option. If wanting to take 'upgrade' nights it is best to avoid the busy school holiday periods - Dec/Jan and April.
    Group Size Minimum 2 persons - maximum 14 persons per guide/transfer. On the 'Wild Camping' option, groups of 6 or more work out cheaply.

    Price / PP
    Price dependent on customised route / itinerary but indicative costing on a 5 Day/ 5 Night Trail: Wild Coast Casino (Mtamvuna) - Mboyti, is as follows:

    Option A: Wild Camping supply your own tent & food
    6 -9 Persons: R1800/pp
    10 -12 Persons: R1700/pp

    Price Includes: 5 days guiding - private taxi transfer from Mbotyi back to Wild Coast Casino - camping fees

    Option B: Village Homestays all the way dinner, breakfast & packed lunch provided from each homestay

    2 Pax only: R 4400/pp
    3 Pax : R 3900/pp
    4 Pax: R 3600/pp
    6 - 9 Pax: R 3300/pp
    10 -12 Pax: R 3100/pp

    Price Includes: 5 days guiding, 5 nights village homestay accom with all meals, private taxi transfer from Mbotyi back to Wild Coast Casino.
    hikers admiring the view from the top of one of the many sugar-loafed hills on the hike between Coffee Bay and Hole in the wall

    If you've done Pondoland why not consider the Coffee Bay to Bulungula hike which takes you past the iconic Hole in the Wall and ends at a Fair Trade Community Lodge.

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    hikers from the backpackers club take a last rest before the final beach stretch through to Poenskop, near Port St Johns
    hikers paying the local ferrymen to negotiote a dry river crosssing