Transkei was administratively created by the South African government in 1959 as a non-independent Bantustan designated (together with Ciskei) for the Xhosa-speaking people. Transkei was made nominally independent in 1976 in order to serve as a legal homeland for millions of Xhosa-speaking blacks.
The land of the Pondos is full of stories that remind us of times gone by. Most of these tales are kept only through their telling but some have been recorded.
Somewhere between 500 and 1200 years ago Bantu speaking people settled all along the East coast of Southern Africa down to what is now known as Port Elizabeth. This area was also home to nomadic San and Khoi people. Many of the Khoi were incorporated bringing with them the three characteristic clicks that are found in the Xhosa language today.
This region is geographically referred to as "Eastern Pondoland".
The Wild Coast, known also as the Transkei, is a 250 kilometre long stretch of rugged and unspoiled coastline that stretches north of East London along sweeping bays, footprint-free beaches, lazy lagoons and rocky headlands. Originally encompassing the rural Transkei region only, today the Wild Coast includes the pretty seaside villages of the Jikeleza Route that run south along the coastline between the Kei River and East London.
A stunning landscape of rolling green hills with thatched rondavels, offering interesting glimpses into a culture removed from the stresses of modern life.
The Wild Coast is well known for its magnificent hiking trails, including the easy-going Strandloper Trail, which begins near Kei Mouth and passes through the Jikeleza Route villages, before terminating at Gonubie. Wrecks along this stretch of rugged coastline, explorers will be thrilled by the adventure, vehicles and passengers are ferried across the river at Kei Mouth. Famous landmarks include "the Gates" at Port St Johns, Hole in the Wall, Magwa Falls, Waterfall Bluff, the Jacaranda shipwreck, Nongqawuse's pools and the Morgan Bay cliffs.
The Wild Coast is blessed with good weather during the winter months, the Sardine Run attracts activity from gannets, seals, dolphins and predatory fish as it moves slowly north along the coast. High vantage points along the coastline are great lookout points for dolphin and whale watching. Humpback and Southern Right Whales migrate from the Antarctic to the shores of South Africa to calve and may be seen from the coast.
Start to a wonderful day out at sea with magnificent views of the coast. Other Wild Coast activities include golf, fly fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, abseiling, surfing, canoeing, horse riding, game viewing and bird watching.
A much loved scene in Transkei is the frequent sightings of cows on the beaches. Even though beaches have no grass or drinking water, herds of cattle still love coming down to the beach to sleep, relax and chew the cud. They are easily approachable and make great photographic subjects.
Leisure or Adventure Transkei is a Gem.