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5 Day Hike staying in village homestays & backpackers, central Wild Coast

The 60km stretch of Wild Coast from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay is well suited to the fitter traveller looking for an authentic Wild Coast Experience. On this 5 day guided hiking trail you can chose between friendly village homestays, chilled-out backpackers, private holiday cottages, or a mixture of all.

The friendly village homestays provide dinner and breakfast as part of their inclusive rate. We include dinner in the backpacker option, and they are also well equipped for self-catering. We'll include a shuttle back to your vehicles left in Port St Johns, or to and from Mtata.

Trail Description

From the lush coastal forests of Silaka to the rolling hills of Mpande, the PSJ to Coffee Bay hiking trail traverses grassland, rocky shores, mangrove-clad estuaries, sandy bays, nature reserves and passes through many colourful rural villages.

You'll pass some impressive natural phenomena along the undulating terrain. From the fascinating Table Mountain sandstone cliffs of Port St Johns, to the arched bays of Mpande and Mdumbi (voted in the top three of South Africa's most beautiful beaches and a surfing hotspot); the impressive dolerite intrusion at Brazen Head and the fabled landmark, Hole in the Wall, where the roar of ocean through this hollowed cliff gives rise to its Xhosa name 'esiKhaleni' - place of sound. enquire with Active Escapes


Trip Duration 5 Day/6 Night Standard Trail with optional extensions through to Hole in the Wall or Bulungula.
Daily Distances Day 1: 14km    Day 2: 12km    Day 3: 15km
Day 4: 18km    Day 5: 8km
Trail Grading  
Physical Fitness Grade 4: PSJ - Coffee Bay is the most 'undulating' section of the Wild Coast with a number of steep ascents and descents and long beach sections.
Technicality Grade 3-4: hiking paths sometimes contour along steep-sided hill slopes where persons who suffer from vertigo may feel a bit exposed.
Trail Terrain Coastal Trail – on one of SA's most dramatic and beautiful coastlines. Sandy and rocky beaches, lagoons, jutting cliffs, rock formations in the sea, mangrove swamps, rock pools and interesting intertidal life, good birdlife and fishing.
Accommodation At least 1-2 nights in a village homestay (with welcoming hosts who are well accustomed to accommodating tourists)
Friendly Backpackers
Private Holiday Cottages
Optional upgrade: to more upmarket B&Bs or hotels in Port St Johns and Coffee Bay.
Logistic Support Guided by a DEAT certified Local Guide
Partially catered trail: Village homestays provide simple dinner and breakfast inclusive in rate. Dinner inclusive at backpackers & other meals for own accunt - ala carte breakfast & lunch options.

Slackpacking Option: Porters can be arranged on prior request - -R200/porter/per day
Tour Highlights Outstanding coastal scenery, authentic interaction and experience of rural village life and culture, informative guiding, opportunity to feast on crayfish, oysters and mussels in season (usually Nov - mid April), good fishing and birding, eclectic characters to meet in PSJ & Coffee Bay.
Other Activities Canoeing, deep sea fishing, rock & surf fishing, ocean experience on deep sea boat, sangoma visits and other cultural ceremonies, full-moon parties and drumming circles.
Fauna & Flora Expansive grasslands, mangrove estuaries, indigenous forest patches and forested ravines, endemic flora species.
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, the Wild Coast is good for hiking all year round. 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, but best to avoid very busy Easter & Christmas holiday periods. Generally if the backpackers are full there is a village homestay alternative.
Group Size Minimum 2 persons - maximum 14 persons per guide. If you are a larger group, extra guides will be allocated. 
Price / PP Price dependent on customised route / itinerary but indicative costing on the 5 Day/6 Night Trail staying in Backpackers & Homestays:

2 Persons – R4500/pp
3 -4 Persons - R4200/pp
5 - 7 Persons - R4000/pp
8 Persons or more - R3900/pp

Price Includes
  • 6 Nights Accommodation (Backpackers / Village based homestays)
  • 5 Hiking Days accompanied by a qualified local guide
  • Return shuttle from Coffee Bay back to PSJ (self-drives) OR pick-up from Mtata to PSJ + return from Coffee Bay to PSJ (Baz Bus connections)
  • Meals: Dinner & breakfast's inclusive at VBA's. Dinner inclusive at backpackers
tented units under thatched bomas at Msikaba, Wild Coast

So you prefer the 'backpacking' thing, but looking for another Wild Coast area? Why not consider the self-catered Pondo-Explore trail from Msikaba to Port St Johns.

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group of hikers at the iconic Hole in the Wall - 'esiKhaleni' - place of sound, Eastern Cape Wild Coast
aerial view of Mngazana estuary - Night 2 of the Port St Johns to Coffee Bay trail