Friday, 8 March 2013

Wild Walk 2013

The Wild Walk is in its third consecutive year; a 380km trek down the entire stretch of the Wild Coast from Port Edward to Chintsa, the walk is, and has always, been about raising awareness of social and environmental issues faced by the communities and ecology of the Wild Coast. Run by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA - one of the oldest environmental none profit organisations in South Africa) and operated by tour company African Heartland Journeys (AHJ - mother company to us Volunteer Africa 32 Degrees South!).

The Wild Walk 2013 sees the distribution of low-volume wood-burning stoves to local households along the route, the families will also be taught about the benefits of using the stoves and showed how to use them. There will also be several days of school interactions with the walkers.

As well as drawing attention to current issues on the coast the Wild Walk is one of the most spectacular walking events in South Africa. The Wild Coast is largely untouched and is, just as its name implies, totally wild. From sheer cliff drops, to long flat white sandy beaches and tropical coastal forests; the walk covers an unbelievably diverse range of flora and fauna as well as passing some the South Africa's more awe-inspiring natural landmarks like Hole in the Wall, Cathedral Rock, the Luphuthana "wall" and Waterfall Bluff. Not to mention the tales and remains of man-made wonders like the shipwrecks scattered along one of the most dangerous coasts in the world and clearly visible along the way.

Walkers on one of the white sandy beaches of the Wild Coast
Luphuthana "wall"
Waterfall Bluff
Cathedral Rock
The walk is divided into three sections, each section covering a different part of the coast and themed appropriately. The first (and most popular) section is themed "Pondoland Highlights" and spends 6 days meandering from the Wild Coast Sun to Port St. Johns; this section has some really incredible sights like Cathedral Rock and Waterfall Bluff and is not for the faint hearted! Walkers sleep bush style in tented camps all but the final night. Then comes the "Cultural Immursion" section which is divided into two legs - a five day and a 3 day hike. Covering the area between Port St. Johns to Coffee Bay and then on to Bulungula, this section makes the most of the Wild Coast Backpackers hostels and home-stays along the way. Immersing walkers into rural Xhosa life with schools interactions and home-stays as well as covering the Mpusi Cliffs and Hole in the Wall. The final section covers the "Southern Wild Coast" from Bulungula to Wavecrest and then to Chintsa. Although the walks are not easy the nights are spent in comfort in the Wild Coast hotels along the way - a bit of luxury after the last 2 weeks of walking! Natural wonders include Mazeppa Island, the Mazeppa meteor site and mermaids pool, the Jacaranda shipwreck and Morgans Bay cliffs. View the full walk itinerary here.
River crossings
Interactions with Xhosa
Walkers in the tropical climes of Hole in the Wall
One of the coasts many shipwrecks

The walkers left Chintsa on 1st March and are currently embarking on the Cultural Immersion section of the walk, between Mpande and Hlulheka. But its not too late to get involved! To join the walk for a night or two book now by emailing You can follow the progress of the walkers via their facebook page:

Walkers arrival in Chintsa in 2012
The final days of the walk from Haga-Haga to Chintsa will be a really festive event; the 23rd of March is International Water Day and will be celebrated by the local municipality and schools by "Walking for Water". The schools will join walkers for the final 16km of beach walk and there will be a festive spirit in Chintsa with local restaurants and businesses celebrating their arrival throughout the afternoon and evening.

Want to get involved on the 23rd? 
Useful links:
Facebook Event Page "Wild Walk Celebration"
Buccaneers Backpackers - accommodation in Cintsa

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