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Wild Coast-South Africa
Why the Wild Coast is wild!
The S/E Coast of South Africa can be divided into the Wild Coast and the Garden Route. The West Coast is known as the Skeleton Coast. There is a reason for each of these names. The photos should explain why the Wild Coast is called what it is.
The Wild Coast starts at Port Edward in Kwa-Zulu Natal and ends at East London about 450 km to the south. It covers the area that is inhabited by the Xhosa people and is mostly subsistence farming and tribal along the coast. The towns in this area are mainly along the road that runs through the interior with Umtata, Kokstad, Butterworth and Mt.Frere being some of these “Central Place” towns (they supply the surrounding areas with essential services).
There is no road along the coast, and villages there are connected to the interior by secondary roads (using the term roads rather loosely) that join the main road. They are in a variety of conditions and can be divided up from fairly good to pretty bad. Along the coast are a few small settlements like Port St Johns and Coffee Bay, that are mainly resort towns. Developers and mining companies (Titanium can be mined in the sand dunes) have been pushing for a coastal road, but many of us would rather see this remain the Wild Coast. There are some superb hiking trails along this coast and the few resorts are quiet, secluded and unspoilt, due some interesting historical factors.
The ship the Grosvenor went aground along this coast in the 1782 and the story of the survivors makes an interesting read.The ship had a valuable cargo including gold on board. Of the about 150 people who managed to make landfall only 13 ore known to survived to tell the story. These 13 made it to Cape Town but others are said to have become part of the Pondoland Community.The treasure of the boat has been searched for by many but never recovered. When you look at the photos you can understand why.
The photos that go with this article were taken last week from a helicopter that was hired to explore the coast by a company that is upgrading the hiking trail on behalf of SA Tourism. It is a great place to hike and you may even meet some of the descendents of the survivors from the Grosvenor or the ghosts of those who did not survive!
May the Wild Coast remain wild for many years to come! Tell me what you think.
With economic needs and development becoming a priority don’t however hold your breath. Plan a trip in the meantime, while there is still time.