Tradition remains untamed in the evocative Transkei. Semi-independent during apartheid, this is where witch doctors perform ceremonies on the beaches, locals welcome you into their circular huts, and village life remains cut off from the rest of the world. This immersive 2-week tour explores South Africa’s most traditional lands in depth, traveling from the hills of Zululand to the stunning Wild Coast. Combining hiking and guided driving, this is offbeat South Africa at its best.
Durban – Lounging on the Indian Ocean Coast
Touch down in Durban, and you’re immediately captivated by the charms of the Indian Ocean. Turquoise water cascades beyond the horizon, frothy waves break onto white beaches, and there’s a calm that always comes with the Indian Ocean. There’s a soothing serenity, one that helps to revitalize the mind after the international flight. Durban is a city built on the sand, one where the beach acts as the city center. Vibrantly multicultural, it’s where you can hear most of South Africa’s 11 official languages and find odes to both British and Indian histories. You’ll be picked up at King Shaka International Airport and transferred to a colonial-style five-star hotel that’s just a few meters from the sand. The cultural discovery starts tomorrow; for today, lounge amongst the beauty of the coastline.
Durban – Exploring the Traditions of Zululand
Day 3 - 4
Mbotyi – The Tranquility of the Wild Coast
Day 5 - 7
Port. St Johns – Sangomas, Serenity, Villages, and Beaches
Day 8 - 13
Southern Wild Coast – Hotel-Hopping Hiking Along an Untamed Coastline
Port Elizabeth – Departure
- Discover the authentic culture of Zululand by visiting the Valley of 1,000 Hills on an interactive and non-obtrusive tour
- Meet a sangoma, a traditional doctor, on the beach of Port St. Johns and partake in a local ceremony
- Visit the untouched Xhosa villages of the Transkei, where circular huts and local tradition remain unchanged for centuries
- Enjoy some of Africa’s finest beaches, with endless miles of silky sands rolling beneath the green cliffs
- Spend six days on a luxury hike along the southern Wild Coast, piecing together remote villages and landscapes that are far from the tourist trail
- Get fully acquainted with all the local flavors and styles as you’re immersed in the world of the Transkei
The Transkei region of South Africa evokes the beautiful traditions of history. Pastel-colored circular huts cling to dramatic cliffs, the front doors opening out to Indian Ocean vistas. Local sangomas (traditional healers) take maize beer down to the beach for ceremonies. Songs and dancing ring out from villages untouched by time. Local village chiefs welcome you with a firm handshake, then pass you on to locals with welcoming smiles. While South Africa is very much a modern nation, the Transkei is where tribes and traditions continue to prevail. This is where Nelson Mandela and most of the ANC grew up, a region that was semi-independent throughout the Apartheid regime. It’s remained blissfully off the tourist trail, although a handful of small lodges provide upmarket accommodation throughout your tour.
This isn’t just a destination of tradition. It’s perhaps the most beautiful coastal region in Africa. White beaches are hidden beneath dramatic cliffs, and it’s rare that there are any prints in the sand, other than those made by wandering cows. Valleys cascade above the Indian Ocean, hiding hundreds of tiny villages. Dolphins are spotted on a daily basis, great pods of them on their migratory route. And there’s a silence that’s unthinkable in the modern world. This is where you can be alone with your thoughts, where thoughtful and immersive travel is the only way to explore.
This 2-week tour starts in Durban, where you have a day discovering the traditions of Zululand. Then it moves to the northern side of the Wild Coast and the delightful village of Mbotyi; wild horse trails provide an adventurous option here, but like every day, there’s a wonderful serenity to the coast. Move on to Port St. Johns, home of the AmaMpondo tribe. You’ll spend time with a sangoma, be welcomed into tiny villages, and taste all the local delicacies. Among the visuals are the cliffs that Leonard DiCaprio climbed at the end of the movie Blood Diamond, and a series of beaches that are completely unknown to the world.
The Wild Coast is the coastal section of the Transkei. There is no coastal road, only rugged roads that lead to each of the main villages. Instead, you must travel like people have done for centuries: on foot. You’ll set off on a 6-day coastal hike, winding along the cliffs from village to village. You’ll wade across lagoons, wind over headlands, pass lone surfers on remote beaches, and follow the dolphins on their journey along the coast. It’s the best means of being immersed in local lifestyles, as you meet village chiefs and enjoy astonishing Indian Ocean views. This is South Africa at its rawest and most untouched, a chance to explore a mostly unseen and undocumented piece of one of the world’s most enchanting countries.
$7,275 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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