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Transkei guide

 
 
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South Africa

Chintsamarker

Transkei region

Set on the edge of the Transkei, is the charming village of Chintsa. It is an unspoilt, subtropical piece of the South African coastline, highlighted by a seemingly endless, deserted beach. Many travellers overlook this beautiful nook of the Eastern Cape. Their unawareness is your benefit for it creates an idyllic hidden destination in Chintsa. If your objective is to find a secluded and picturesque corner of South Africa, then look no further.
Chintsa caters to both the active and chilled traveller. For the energetic, there are challenging hikes, great surf breaks and a private game reserve to explore. For the mellow, the empty, sandy beach will be your home. Nestle up against the dunes and spend the day scanning the sea for dolphins and whales. The only problem with Chintsa is that it will ultimately force you to change your itinerary. The village has a wonderful way of ensnaring people and chances are you will spend more time in Chintsa than originally planned.
 
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South Africa

Mbotyimarker

Transkei region

One of the Transkei’s best-kept secrets is the coastal village of Mbotyi. Set on the banks of the Mbotyi River, this charming community and the incredible nature that surrounds it are worth a visit. Spend days exploring the Ntsubane forest, one of the largest indigenous forests in all of South Africa. Countless paths will lead you through this lush forest, home to a diverse bird population that includes the endangered Cape Parrot. Along with its forests and isolated beaches, the Mbotyi area is spoilt with seven waterfalls, including the spectacular Magwa Falls and Angel Falls. A great trek is up the towering gorge to the base of the 110 m Fraser Falls where you can cool off in its crisp rock pools. All the falls are worth a visit, however, Waterfall Bluff is the must-see. The coastal hike to this marvel is half the fun for you will pass some surreal rock formations including the ominous Cathedral Rock. Of course, the highlight is Waterfall Bluff. This raging 60 m waterfall that empties into the Indian Ocean will have you at a loss for words upon your arrival.
 
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South Africa

Mkambati Nature Reservemarker

Transkei region

Nestled in the northern Transkei region, Mkambati is an 8000-hectare, isolated region of South Africa that is often overlooked by travellers. Spend a day exploring the Msikaba River and its forested ravine towards the spectacular Superbowl, a towering 100 m natural amphitheatre. Spend another day rock-hopping the 10 km coastline and the Mkambati River. This snaking river contains numerous swimming holes and waterfalls, highlighted by Horseshoe Falls, a rare double-tiered waterfall that tumbles directly into the Indian Ocean. Every day, as you wander through the grassy plains, you will be surrounded by wildlife. Whether it’s the vulture colony, the troops of baboons or the herds of wildebeest and gemsbok that run freely throughout the reserve, you will be amazed at how close to the natural world you are.
 
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South Africa

Mpandemarker

Transkei region

Deep in the heart of the Transkei, well off of the beaten path, hides the tiny coastal village of Mpande. When you journey down the bumpy, dirt roads towards the Amapondo community, you will be overwhelmed with an incredible sensation that you are about to discover somewhere special. Upon your arrival, the stunning view of the expansive, unspoilt Transkei coastline will leave you awestruck. There is getting off the beaten path and then there is Mpande!
Other than its rugged shore, indigenous forests and secluded beaches (there will be more cattle basking on the sand than people), one of the best reasons to explore Mpande is because you can experience black, rural South Africa without feeling like part of a tour. You are just there. Village life and traditions of the Amapondo people continue as they always have. In many ways, a journey to Mpande is much like a journey back in time.
 
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South Africa

Port St. Johnsmarker

Transkei region

Set on the banks of the Umzimvubu river is the bustling village of Port St. Johns. Once a busy trading port, for a time, Port St. Johns seemed to have vanished from the map. It became a place where hippies went to hide. Today, it is a funky village that preserves the traditions and simple pace of life in the Transkei. Isolated beaches, rivers and rolling hills blanketed with subtropical forests shape the landscape of Port St. Johns. Additionally, there are many daytrip adventures to explore, highlighted by Magwa Falls, an 80 m waterfall that plummets straight down into the canyon below. Sundowners on the abandoned airstrip, terrifyingly set atop a mountain provides a brilliant perspective of the region. Sipping a beer while overlooking the town, river, and Indian Ocean is a great way to end the day. From this perch, you will appreciate the immensity and isolation of the Transkei region.
Port St. Johns is a great starting point for the 5-day Transkei hike that concludes in Coffee Bay. Both a guide (recommended) and the transportation of your bags can be arranged in town.
 
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