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Author Topic: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.  (Read 3840 times)

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Offline wildside

Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« on: October 26, 2011, 10:25:30 pm »


                          Welcome to the Wildcoast !
         Port St. Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall – 4x4 Coastal Route
                                                           20 October 2011 

This Wildcoast ride was to be part of our planning for our December trip and would be a good test of bikes and equipment. No changes have been made to my bike, other than a long range tank, since our last trip to Namibia but Kingsleys bike and our camping gear have changed. This is also an opportunity for anyone interested in this area of the Wildcoast, to enjoy a ride that is not too over demanding (weather permitting)  but makes for an interesting trip providing one with beautiful scenery along a fairly unspoilt stretch of coastline.
Below is a hand drawn map that we were given at Cremorne Estate several years ago and each time I have added a bit of detail to make it clearer. It is fairly accurate and time consuming when one follows all the little coastal tracks – but well worth it.




Thursday arrived and all our gear was packed and our bikes ready to depart as soon as we could escape work. At 11.30 am we filled up with fuel and headed off out of Merrivale (KZN) towards Underberg. We turned off onto the first Coleford road which is a dirt road that takes one through the Coleford Nature Reserve and is apparently 10 km shorter. This lovely gravel road winds through some stunning areas and offers some magnificent views .We took some time out to fool around on the drift that crosses the Umzinkulu River.



After a while we joined up on the tar road again at Kingscote and from there it was easy riding to Kokstad with very little traffic. The traffic became heavier as we set off down Brooks Nek Pass into the Eastern Cape, which was once known as the Transkei, and often is still referred to as that.
Taking the turn off to Bizana at the bottom of the hill was a relief and we could start to relax and get that holiday feeling. Getting through the busy town of Flagstaff required a lot of patience and good humour as the traffic was bumper to bumper in both directions and on several occasions it came to a standstill as more cars tried to squeeze in and some drivers decided it was time to chat to a long lost buddy on the sidewalk. It seems that we were the only ones in a rush. Getting through Lusikisiki wasn’t as bad and we were soon covering the last 40km to Port St. Johns. The closer to Port St. Johns the windier the roads became. After seeing Kingsley nearly taken out by an on coming taxi travelling on the wrong side of the road I hugged the barrier on the left and negotiated these tight corners very carefully.

By late afternoon two tired people pulled in to Cremorne Estates, along the northern banks of the Mzimvubu River, ready to pitch a tent and discard the boots , but, my  ‘ St. Christopher’ was there and suggested that instead of camping we should stay in the Fishermans Cottages for only an extra R20 each. What a treat!! It was nothing special – a tiny wooden cabin with a double bed and a few shelves – what more does a tired adventure rider need? It does save us from packing up a damp tent.
 It didn’t take long for us to settle in and head for the pub and restaurant.













Before heading off to Hole-in-the-wall the next day we decided to ride up to the airstrip on top of Mount Thesiger. It’s about 20 km out of town – follow directions to the landfill sight. When you reach the Bulalo Dam turn right onto a newly tarred road which becomes fairly steep and windy. You really feel on top of the world up there and you have a magnificent 360 degree view. It would be advisable to check out the skies first before gaily heading off down the airstrip to the viewpoint. There is always a lot of cow dung on the airstrip and I suppose the pilot of these small aircraft has to take care not to have a real ‘shitty’ landing.
















At 11.00 am we finally managed to head out of Port St. Johns and followed the Mthatha road for about 21 km.  We have been told that no day visitors are welcome at Umngazi River Bungalows so we made no attempt to visit there.
Turning left at the Mpande and Isilimela Hospital sign will lead you in the right direction for 12 km on a good gravel road to the turn off to UMGAZANA. This is not sign posted but look out for Post Boxes on your right and NEDAVU PRIMARY SCHOOL on your left.










Once you get to the top of the hill the views are stunning and you will see the Umgazana River snaking its way down to the coast. The road also splits here so keep LEFT. Right takes you to Brazen Heads – which we did not check out as the road does not lead down to the beach.








The roads are a bit rutted in places and lead you past dry mangrove swamps. When we got to the end of the line Kingsley decided that he wanted to go down the two concrete strips to the cottages below and from previous experience I decided it was not a good idea for me to follow – and so the fun started....



"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline Buff

Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2011, 10:54:21 pm »
Subscribed  :thumleft:

I absolutely love the Wildcoast. Had Spotted Grunter for supper tonight which I caught there while on holiday in July... yum  :drif:
Present bikes: BETA 300RR, KTM 690, Yamaha WR250F

If you're dumb you gotta be tough !!!
 

Offline wildside

Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2011, 10:57:12 pm »




I waited and waited for him to return and heard the bike returning and then all was silent. A nearby cottage owner came out to me and told me that he had seen the bike go over. As I went running down the hill more cottage owners kindly came up to assist. We eventually managed, with the help of others, to wrestle the bike to the top. It seems that the packing on the Tenere was too heavy and too high and became uncontrollable on the steep, uneven concrete strips (thats his story......and he’s sticking to it!). By now we were so hot and uncomfortable in these thick and heavy riding jackets that we decided there and then that these were a NO NO for our next trip. Re –thinking our packing on the Tenere was also a priority.



Anyway we managed to get a few photos of the coastline and promptly decided to move on to our next point of interest, the Kraal.





"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline wildside

Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2011, 11:01:17 pm »

Once back on the main gravel road you need to ride another 4 km and take the next turnoff to THE KRAAL , which is sign posted.



Due to the recent rains we had to ride through several patches of mud. Needless to say Offside had lots of fun.  One also gets a lovely sighting of the Sinangwana River that pops out onto a beautiful beach. Keep left at the fork in the road. The right turn takes you down to a picnic sight on the northern banks of the Mpande River. However, due to a boom across the road we were unable to get down there this time.







On the left hand side en route to the Kraal is Jeffs Place – which also offers accommodation. Not having stayed there I’m unable to comment on what they have to offer.



"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline wildside

Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2011, 11:05:41 pm »

On arrival at the Kraal, which you will find tucked away from the surrounding cottages, we discovered that we were unable to go inside as the gate was locked and it appeared that there was not a soul around which was a great pity. However, there was an abandoned, rusty old merc which was evidence of some previous life there. We were fortunate enough to stay here on our previous trip, a couple of years ago, and were so impressed with both the owners and the accommodation. It was also on this occasion that we were fortunate enough to meet up with Nardus and he shared some of his riding experiences with us. Great stories to listen to over a beer and stories that inspired us to plan our Namibian trip that may well not have happened without this chance meeting. Thanks Nardus!
 Seeing the Kraal locked and barred was a bit of a let down. Anyway,  next stop Mpande.
















"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline GlenInk

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 11:12:59 pm »
 :'( These pictures bring back such vivid memories of the place I once used to call home !

Oh how I miss those places you travelled to !

I stayed at Umgazana ( Madageni ) for a whole three awesome months, Port St Johns for two and a half years . . . .

Thank you so much for the great photographs and for deciding what I`m going to do on sunday  :3some:  :thumleft:

 O0
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Offline Yami Super 10

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 11:19:43 pm »
Hi Wildside.

Nice RR :thumleft:
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Offline laurika

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2011, 11:32:21 pm »
stunning ride report....that landingstrip on the mountain, use to have many cows laying on it....way back when....such a place!!!

 "There is no happiness for him who does not travel...Therefore, wander... The fortune of him who is sitting sits, it rises when he rises, it sleeps when he sleeps, it moves when he moves... Therefore, wander!"...The Rig Veda - 800 - 600 BC..

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Offline jimjim

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2011, 01:14:50 am »
That looks like one for the bucket list. Nice RR  :thumleft:
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Offline Karel Kat

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2011, 01:40:57 am »
Love that place! Subscribed.
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Offline Kenisis

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2011, 06:49:27 am »
I have never been there and would like to have a trip there some day when i am back in SA!
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Offline Diesel & Dust

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2011, 12:17:27 pm »
Love the wildcoast/Transkei - Thanks for the photies
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Offline XTZFegen

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2011, 01:42:10 pm »
My family owns a B&B there in Port ST Johns, on the left had side of the river. Absolutely fantastic, awesome place. About 3 years ago we had a Fegen family reunion and all the cousins jumped on thier bikes and tore the beach up. The next thing we knew Fauna and Flora were out looking for us and we had to lay low for a few days.

Lovely crayfish there as well...mmm mmmm :ricky:
I do all my own stunts.
 

Offline goingnowherequickly

Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2011, 06:49:06 am »
Great report.. :thumleft:
Myself & a friend went down this way a few months back, & rode part of the route from hole in the wall back...
unfortunately we had very heavy ( & unseasonal ) rains to deal with... we lost our route & had to miss out on most of the coastal
ride to PSJ, although we were told by some local bikers that one or perhaps two of the rivers would have been uncrossable anyway..
Just makes me want to go back even more....
Cant wait for the rest
 

Offline Crop Sprang

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2011, 07:57:20 am »
Thanks for great RR
We did a couple of these roads about 2 years ago
Fantastic places to ride
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Offline JonW

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2011, 08:06:57 am »
Thanks W/S and O/S, great report and sme good riding  :thumleft:
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Offline Frannarossi

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2011, 08:12:11 am »
Great stuff :thumleft:
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Offline wildside

Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2011, 10:29:18 am »
Thanks to all for your encouraging comments and input. The Wildcoast is one of my favourite places and I have been threatening to do a RR for a long time now. So I'm glad you're enjoying it. It's an area that will appeal to most people.

Goingnowherequickly - glad you eventually managed to do some of the ride. I certainly wouldn't like to do it in the rain - for me there were some scary sections. It is also so easy to get lost if you're not sure of the route as there are plenty of little turnoffs.

Will be posting some more soon.
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline Bashplate

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2011, 02:49:24 pm »
Fantastic RR, Thanks... :thumleft:
 

Online White Rhino

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Re: Welcome to the Wildcoast - Port St.Johns to Hole-in-the-Wall.
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2011, 03:02:01 pm »
God's own country :thumleft:

Spent two years there and can't stop thinking of going back to explore!

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