These jewels of the Wild Coast provide welcoming rest stops after each day where delicious food, refreshments and comforts are supplied in the village by the community. Guests will have their own private or group rondavels (traditional Xhosa homes) with clean and comfortable bedding prepared prior to your arrival. A hot cup of tea after a rainy day, or ice cold drinks when you've been in the heat, will make you grateful for such simple pleasures in these remote areas.
Dinners consist of fresh locally grown vegetables with pap, rice and stews etc. Meat is prepared separately. Fresh water, tea and coffee is always available. Homemade bread, jam, porridge, fruit and cereals are available for breakfast and snacks, and packed lunches are prepared with sandwiches, fruit and snacks etc. Clean drinking water is available at each homestay and at many of the rivers on the hikes.
It is always more enjoyable to hike when you have a good level of fitness regardless of the distance or duration. Our multi-day hikes have varying daily distances but to tackle the Enkulu you should be comfortable with an average of 14km a day over coastal terrain including beaches, rock shelves and occasional hills. On the Emfishi the biggest day is only 12km. Remember that you do not need to pack food or tents and a sleeping bag so you really can pack light.
The most important things are good shoes and a decently sized pack to carry your clothes, snacks and personal items. A comprehensive gear list with great suggestions on how to stay light will be sent to you during the planning phase. Packing for 5 or 10 days of living out of a pack can be intimidating but we have your back - our facilitators will work though all of it with you as you plan and prepare.
At homestays guests will have to use clean long drops as there is no flushing water. Hot water will be provided each evening or on request for a private bucket bath/wash. This system can feel daunting or uncomfortable at first but in our experience the guests always adapt very quickly and are very grateful. A big basin of hot water after a long day will have you feeling clean and refreshed in no time!
Grid and solar power at certain homesteads is available but not guaranteed due to the specific area and weather.
The area you will be walking through is a sparsely populated rural environment which does not see a great deal of interaction with outsiders and has had an incredibly low incident rate of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. That said it is critical for us to protect the local communities by not bringing the virus into their home and observing proper practise. Please be aware of any symptoms you may feel leading up to your stay and get a test if necessary to be confident that you are not introducing the virus.
Homestay hosts are fully aware of, and briefed on, sanitisation methods and safe food preparation. Hosts will wear masks and provide sanitizer to all guests, as well as ensure that all cutlery and crockery has been properly cleaned and prepared. On the trail it is easy to maintain social distance and masks are used at the users discretion.
Our guides have a significant amount of experience taking people through this environment and have all grown up in the area. Their ability to stay safe in this context is unparalleled and their service records show this. Our guides are intently aware of how to avoid dangers posed form any animals or vegetation and their familiarity with all the various communities and their residents mean that they are able to safely navigate social situations and can identify any strangers or unfamiliar people.
All homestay owners we use are respected people in their communities who host guests as a business out of their family homesteads. These families use other members of the community to help them cook, clean and support the business. All the homestays we use have been vetted by us and have been successfully hosting satisfied people for many years. As always, however, If needed the group’s guide is available 24/7. Crime is a negligible concern here due to the friendly communal nature of the people and the appreciation for tourists due to the sustainable support they receive as a result. We have nearly a decade of experience in these communities and have only seen 1 item stolen during this time - a camera which was soon after returned.
Before and After
Our guests leave from, and return to, The Wild Coast Sun resort in Port Edward, Kwa-Zulu Natal. On certain packages transfer to here after the journey is needed and included in the price but If you need assistance getting to or from Port Edward then we can arrange a charter service. Alternatively you can fly to King Shaka Airport in Durban and take a shuttle to Port Edward. This shuttle is offered by Southern Shuttle (southernshuttle.co.za) or Margate Coach (margatecoach.co.za) at roughly R600 per person return (2021).
A variety of hotels, BnB’s, Air BnB’s and backpackers are available on the South Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, specifically in Port Edward, Southbroom, Margate and Ramsgate. Please inquire for assistance if needed
The Pondo Experience has a comprehensive cancellation policy due to the nature of hosting people in isolated environments and certain refunds are possible up to a certain point. We cannot give refunds due to late cancellation for any event that is out of our control as we cannot bear any risks resulting from our client’s actions or from government restrictions that prevent travel or operation. This includes cancellation due to contraction of illness such as Covid-19 or isolation based on any suspected illnesses.
When you book with us you will have direct contact with a facilitator who will make sure that all your needs and queries are addressed. Until then take a look at the our frequently requested questions.