110th Birthday Tour - Transkei
Friday, 6 December 2019
Coffee Bay, South Africa
To celebrate the troop turning 110, we decided to organise a birthday tour in the Transkei. The tour started off with a 5-day guided hike through the Pondoland, and then finished with a relaxing camp in Coffee Bay.
The guided hike was a real once in a lifetime trip. After leaving our cars in Port St Johns, our hike guide Sinegugu (Sine for short) loaded us into a taxi where we drove to our starting location, stopping along the way to see the Pondoland tea plantations and Magwa falls. Sine is a local who grew up in the area, and as such each of the four nights we stayed in the Rondawels in the Xhosa villages, where we were fed traditional food. Sine is also incredibly knowledgeable and spent much of the hike telling us all about the indigineous fauna and flora, as well as the customs and ceremonies of the Xhosa people.
Besides the cultural experience, the scenery was out of a promotional video for a holiday paradise. Long sweeping white-sand beaches, lazy, grassy rolling hills, patches of rainforest, stark rugged cliffs worn down over the millennia and of course the deep blue sea which accompanied us throughout the hike. The weather was unfortunately rainy and windy at times, but it wasn't too cold and we all enjoyed ourselves despite it. The hike even included two waterfalls that fell straight into the ocean, of which there are only nine globally! All in all a thoroughly enjoyable hike and would highly recommend (contact us if you want more details).
After the hike, we took a slow drive to Coffee Bay where we set up camp in a wonderfully secluded and sheltered campsite. The following four days were filled with good food, relaxing and playing on the beaches, wandering around town and sampling the local coffee shops and cooling off in the ocean. We took a hike to Hole in the Wall, an iconic Transkei rocky arch created by the constant erosion, accompanied by a dog we befriended in the campsite, but unfortunately it was bit rainy and cold to swim. But the highlight was our final day where the wind died and the sun came out, where we drove to Mdumbi to enjoy the surf and beach there. We even made some friends and had a very competative game of ultimate frisbee.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable, successful trip and I know all involved will carry fond memories of our adventure for the decades to come!