We (a young couple with a few days leave) were warned - by many sceptics - that the roads along the Transkei (Eastern Cape, South Africa) are in bad shape and the livestock like to chill it out on the winding, hilly, uneven roads.
But we also received plenty of recommendations of places to see, trails to hike or bars to visit by others who have witnessed the wild beauty of the transkei coast.
With vastly contrasting advice tugging at your holiday plans the best we could do was read all the reviews, make lists, plan accommodation ahead (with a few back-up options) in an attempt to anticipate the worst and hope for the best.
And so we set out from Prince’s Grant in the east coast, for a 8 day road trip along the Transkei (Eastern cape, South Africa) coast. I should mention that this was our first trip on our own for longer than 3 days, nevermind the fact that we were going to be “roughing” it - in my terms.
Day 1 & 2
We were easily and spontaneously distracted by Ushaka marine warld that happened to be along our route, where we spent a few hours, sliding, splashing, laughing, before getting back to the road for a 4 hour drive to our first stop in Port St Johns. Perhaps a little irresponsible since driving at night on roads peppered with potholes is a bad idea. It was slow going at first, but then we passed “Paradise” (road sign) and the rain set in. “7th Heaven” (another road sign) was the driveway to cloud 9 (an actual cloud that we spent an hour driving through in the dark). New rule - no driving at night time.
Sceptics 1–0 Enthusiasts.
We arrived at Amapondo Backpackers in Port St. John’s around 9pm that evening, tired and hungry, Jan showed us to our self-catering cabin that was to be ours for two nights – we did make an effort to come down to the bar for at least one drink before heading to bed.
The brightside was waking up to an unexpected view overlooking the lagoon and bay; with unexpected guests whinnying at our door. Amapondo’s donkeys came to make our introduction (thankfully, not too early) to the Transkei.
Hiking to 3rd beach was interesting… I’ve never seen cattle sunbathing, but since their was no grass and only beach I can only assume that was what they were doing (see header image). We couldn’t quite locate the rock pool we had set out looking for but we stumble upon the cutest restaurant/foodtruck? where we ordered the day’s specials, a cafe late and carrot and apple juice. My coffee was brewed on a gas stove, whilst the carrots for the juice were being peeled. Definitely worth the wait - I was thrilled not to be drinking instant coffee.
Amapondo was serving beautifully sweet crayfish for dinner – winning! We got into a game of “cards against humanity” with some of the other guests and tour guides, and got roped into a drinking game called “boat-race” which results in all the players getting drenched with water. All in good spirits and good company of course. We found out what the going rate was for crayfish bought from the locals/divers and suggestions on how to cook them.
“When in Rome…”
We were in the wild coast, the plan was to eat the local food, walk the local trails, surf (if we could). So the next day we opted for the short hike to the blow hole, which was stunning and exciting (lil dangerous here and there) and paid off with plenty of panaramic photos and a decent one of the blow hole (waves wash underneath the boulders and push water vapour up through a hole in the rock).
Some friends gave us the best advice on our trip (which was confirmed by Amapondo staff) and that was to go to Mdumbi next (before our planned stop in coffee bay).
Sceptics 1-2 Enthusiasts
More posts coming soon.