Head into the hills above the popular coastal resort of Shelley Beach, to discover the separate world of the Nyandezulu community who live in semi-rural settlements sprawled across green hills and valleys above the sea.
Start your visit at the Mfihlo Guest House with its sweeping sea views, for a warm welcome into the area under a large wild fig tree. From Mfihlo, drive or be transferred to the Ntantana Mountain and picturesque Nyandezulu Falls. Walk up to the top of the mountain to enjoy the 360 degree view, or down to the slope above the waterfall.
From here, take a scenic route that snakes along slopes of hills to the open-air Shembe Church, demarcated by white stones on the slope of the holy Mdlungwana Mountain. Hear the story of this 6-million strong, traditional KZN-based church, founded by the Prophet Isaiah Shembe in the early 1900s.
Walk to the top of the Mdlungwana Mountain to see candles, coins and other signs of people worshipping there, and hear the story of the seven-headed snake, which lives in the waters under the mountain and causes storms and floods when he is disturbed.
Walk or be driven around the slope of the mountain to the beautiful ‘KwaSaka Beach’ on the banks of the Bhuqu River, to enjoy a picnic lunch. During apartheid, when beaches along the coast were ‘whites only’, the KwaSaka beach provided an attractive alternative to local families.
Visit to a sangoma or traditional healer, to get an insight into the vital role that traditional healers still play in the life of this rural community.
Add a wonderfully different dimension to your visit to KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast, a prime beach holiday destination. Head about 10 km inland into the hills above the coast to visit a friendly KwaNzimakwe community on a ‘holy Shembe mountain’ above the Mpenjati Estuary, Trafalgar and Palm Beach.
START AT THE WOWZULU MARKETPLACE
Our WOWZULU Marketplace on the R69 is your friendly home in the village. After a warm welcome by local hosts Neli Nzimakwe and Zonke Madwe, enjoy great coffee or a cold drink and a ‘taste of local’ snack. Hear the stories of our village and view hand-selected traditional craft as well as locally screen-printed and appliqued gifts. Create your own unique screen-print under Neli’s guidance. Or learn to wrap a colourful headscarf to transform yourself into an African Diva.
From the Marketplace, head off to experience village life. First visit the homestead of a local community elder to hear how the community came to live on this fertile mountain, about the role of cattle in traditional culture and the customs of the Shembe Church. Then walk along a footpath past playful village children, chickens and cows to the home of a Sangoma or traditional healer. Hear her story of how she was called to become a Sangoma and of the long road to becoming qualified.
VIEWSITE ABOVE THE OCEAN
From here, follow a path that hugs the side of the mountain, past the traditional Shembe Church at the top of the mountain and across grasslands to a view site that looks out across the rolling hills to a coastline that seems to stretch forever.
Hear more stories while you enjoy a traditional meal of chicken, Zulu steamed bread and spicy beans or spinach, and drinks that have been wheeled across the hillside on a wheelbarrow.
Wild-South Coast Walk
Leave the urban stress, the traffic and crowds behind and escape into a pristine coastal landscape, where rural communities live on green hills above wild beaches, in perfect harmony with their surroundings.
The three-and-a-half or four-day guided Wild-South Coast Walk starts on the KZN South Coast and ends along the pristine Wild Coast, a precious environment threatened by the prospect of dune mining along its wild stretches.
Enjoy village experiences and a homestay, 3 spectacular river gorges, ancient fossil beds and ship wrecks, striking red dunes and green hills dotted with homesteads, and gain insight into the rich Zulu and Mpondo cultures of local communities.
Here is a taste of what you will experience:
Arrive early afternoon in Trafalgar on the South Coast, to book into the Trafalgar Beach House above the sea. From here, visit our WOWZULU Marketplace in KwaNzimakwe above Trafalgar, for an introduction to the hike and a visit in this rural community on a ‘holy mountain’ above the sea. Make your own screen print, before going on a village walk during which you will meet community elders and a ‘sangoma’ or traditional healer. Then follow the contour of the hillside, past the traditional Shembe church to a viewsite with wide views of the coastline. Relax with a drink as the sun sets, then drive back to Trafalgar for dinner at the luxurious Nakai Homestay or family-owned Casa Toscana Italian restaurant on a neighbouring farm, and your first night’s stay at the comfortable Trafalgar Beach house.
After breakfast at neighbouring Nakai Homestay, collect your backpacks for a transfer to the top of the magnificent Umtamvuna River Gorge Nature Reserve with its uniquely rich biodiversity, which includes 1 400 flowering plant species compared to Kruger Park’s 200 species. Start your 8 km guided walk along a well-marked trail across high grasslands to the lunch stopover at Clearwater Café. Then head down into the gorge and through dense forests along the Umtamvuna River to the bottom gate of the reserve. From there, walk another 1,5 km to the Umtamvuna River Lodge for a swim, dinner and an overnight stay at the edge of the river.
After breakfast, collect your packed lunch and start the 2nd day of the walk with a boat ride across the Umtamvuna River (boundary between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape) to the beach on the Wild Coast side. Then walk for about 12 km, largely along empty beaches and across the Mzamba and Mnyameni Rivers, to your overnight stay in the homestead of Mrs Nolwandile Ndovela in Mnyameni Village, high above the ocean. On the first section of the walk between the Umtamvuna and Mzamba Rivers, view ancient fossil beds with specialist guide Benny Mbotho, who has identified 250 fossils along a 2km stretch of beach. At your homestay, let local children treat you to a spirited dance performance, before a ‘taste of local’ dinner cooked in three-legged pots over an open fire.
After breakfast, walk along 14 km of empty beaches past traditional villages, an intriguing ‘red desert’ and a ship wreck, to Mtentu Lodge above the deep Mtentu River in the heart of the Wild Coast. Spend the afternoon exploring the river, lagoon, beaches, waterfalls or the Mkhambathi Nature Reserve to the south. Enjoy canoeing, horse-riding, swimming or walking.
DAY 4: TRANSFER BACK TO TRAFALGAR BEACH HOUSE
After breakfast at Mtentu Lodge, continue to explore the spectacular Mtentu estuary and wild coastline, before your transfer leaves at 12 noon for the trip back to Trafalgar. Arrive at the Beach House at around 3 pm, to collect your vehicle and luggage.