Welcome to the Strandloper Hiking Trail…. where the ultimate coastal experience awaits you!
For the next four days you will join the ranks of the Strandlopers as you discover their world of wave washed shores, exquisite tidal pools, pristine estuaries, leafy forests and wild white sand dunes.
Each section of the trail has been designed to reveal special aspects of our coastline so that you may capture a complete Strandloper experience.
Hiking fees are R650 per person for the 3 nights and 4 days.
Hikers can overnight at the Enviro Centre in Kei Mouth the night before their hike and the night after at R75 per person.
The weekend special is R235 per person one night at the Enviro centre in Kei Mouth and one night at Double Mouth.
Groups of minimum 2 people and maximum 12 people can be accommodated at each overnight site.
A comprehensive trail map is also available, giving details of the route and background on the cultural, geographical and natural history aspects of the trail.
The trail caters for the young and the old, fauna and flora enthusiasts, fishermen, backpackers, in fact anyone who enjoys the great outdoors.
Hikers are requested to keep their permits on them at all times.
No historical or archaeological treasures may be destroyed or removed.
Hikers must be prepared for river crossings.
Prices are subject to change without prior notice. Strandloper Hiking Trail : Days 1 – 4
The Strandloper Trail has been described as “the one trail where you can savour the feeling of solitude on an unspoilt beach and down a bar lunch in a cosy pub barely an hour later”. The trail is almost 57 km in total and takes 4 days to complete. It is clearly marked with little painted white on green boot prints and can be walked throughout the year. The best weather is between January and May which have warm windless days.
The Trail Manager will issue you with a tide table to assist you in planning your river crossings at the Quko, Kwenxura, Kwelegha and Gonubie Rivers. Include strong watertight bags and rope in your pack.
There are braai places, water and ablution facilities at all overnight sites. This is a one way trail, so shuttling is required – the Reservations Manager will supply you with shuttle options.
Day 1 : Kei Mouth to Double Mouth (13,5 kms)
The trail starts at the Strandloper Ecotourism Centre at Cape Morgan in Kei Mouth where you will be met by the Trail Manager and issued with a permit. Highlights of today include walks in coastal forests, and along sandy beaches and rocky ledges.
Walking towards Morgan’s Bay, the Trail continues over fairly rough grass, boulders and sandy beaches. The awesome Morgan Bay Cliff rises out of the sea to a height of 57 metres and presents an ideal spot to observe a literal bird’s eye view of sea birds and, if you’re lucky, bottlenose dolphins. While today’s walk is relatively short, the crossing over the headland is quite challenging and there are plenty of opportunities to fish, collect shells and to wander and wonder!
Overnight site: Hikers’ Cabin, Double Mouth Nature Reserve
Day 2 : Double Mouth to Haga Haga (9kms)
Round the headland to the Quko estuary, the trail makes its way to the famous Treasure or Bead Beach. After passing Black Rock (the graveyard of many ships) and a beautiful shell beach, hike to the village of Haga Haga.
Delicious pub lunches are available at the Haga Haga Hotel and shops allow one to stock up on supplies.
Overnight site: Haga Haga Hotel. Two en-suite rooms have been made available by the owners Neil and Sandy Chemaly, and named Dog Box 1 and Dog Box 2
Day 3 : Haga Haga to Beacon Valley (23kms)
Today’s walk covers 8 kilometres of rocky ledges with intermittent shingle beaches and then 15 kilometres of beach backed by sand dunes –you will walk past four beautiful estuaries, all of which may or may not be open to the sea. High dunes are the Strandloper middens, indicating the presence of hunter gatherers (Khoi or Gonaqua) who visited the coast to harvest mussels and other shellfish over 400 years ago. Other highlights include bird watching sites, fishing spots and swimming beaches.
Overnight site: Settlers Cottage, Beacon Valley
Day 4 : Beacon Valley to Gonubie (15kms)
Most of today’s walk is along rocky coastline with narrow intertidal beaches. The hamlets of Glen Muir, Queensberry Bay and Glen Eden are tucked away en-route to Glengariff. This area offers safe bathing and wonderful surfing. After passing the Bulugha River, a grass track leads to a sandy beach before the mouth of the Kwelegha River. After a bumpy shuffle with Gonubie in sight, the river mouth beckons and a last swim brings you home!
Strandloper Sundowner Trail
No more back packs! No more cold showers! No more long drops!
No cooking! No sleeping bags! No more bunk beds!
You want to hike along the coast and enjoy the beautiful scenery and fauna and flora – but you don’t want to lug your backpack along and stay in basic overnights or suffer cold showers! You don’t want to make any meals…
No problem – take the Strandloper Sundowner Trail
We now offer you the laid back way to do the Strandloper Hiking Trail. Hike from Trennery’s to Chintsa East the luxury way. You carry only your daypack with a picnic lunch, drinking water or juice. Enjoy the nature along the way, have time to take in the beautiful views. No lugging of your backpack. No aching back, legs and feet! Arrive at your evening destinations relaxed after your leisurely stroll along the coast and enjoy a long hot shower or bath. Enjoy sundowners on arrival, dinner and your own comfortable bed. The next morning have a relaxing breakfast before you start hiking to the next comfortable destination stopping for a picnic lunch along the way.
Your 4-night 5-day package will cost you from only R5 000 per person. (Trennery’s/Seagulls to Chintsa). This includes dinner, bed, breakfast, a packed picnic lunch for your hiking days, all shuttling costs and baggage transfers. (This is for 10 – 12 hikers) Also available is a 5-night 6-day package (Kob Inn to Morgan Bay) (from R6 000 per person).
If you are only 2 hikers will pay R 6 500 pp for 4 nights and R 8 000 pp for 5 nights.
You will spend your first night at Crawford’s Cabins, on the magnificent Chintsa East beach. The next day after breakfast you will be shuttled to Trennery’s Hotel, crossing the Great Kei River on the motorised ferry. Here you can hike to the Jacaranda that shipwrecked on the beach in 1972, or visit the Gates with Trevor’s Trails. The next day after breakfast onto Kei Mouth/Morgan Bay where you can visit the world-renowned Hazel Jefferies shell collection and other items of interest. Day 3 sees you heading for Haga Haga, crossing the famous Morgan’s Bay cliffs, following the yellow Strandloper footprints (no rock climbing) cross the Quko River onto Marsh Strand and Haga Haga Hotel. The last day of your journey sees you hiking past Land’s End, Pullen’s Bay and Cape Henderson, where you will leave the rock shelf and onto a 12km stretch of dazzling beach (Beach as far as the eye can see), to Crawford’s Cabins to collect your vehicles
The Strandloper Ecotourism Board is a non-profit organization committed to developing community ecotourism initiatives in the coastal region between Kei Mouth and East London.
Environmental education is part of a developmental strategy to fulfill one of the Board’s main objectives and to meet a growing need focused on coastal environmental and outdoor pursuits. The Ecocentre at Cape Morgan has been specifically designed to accommodate learners. A museum concept and audio-visual corner has been incorporated into a refurbished generator room and learners are under the formal facilitation of an education officer specifically trained in coastal environmental education.
SETB (Strandloper Ecotourism Board)
The Strandloper Trail was started in the 1980’s by the Wildlife Society as an informal hiking trail. Donations from the Kei Mouth TLC, the Amatole Regional Services Council, Small Projects Foundation, the East London Museum, Iscor and the East Cape Nature Conservation provided the base for the revival of the Strandloper Trail.
A Section 21 Company (Association not for gain) was established in June 1996 to develop the Trail and manage it’s operations – and so the Strandloper Ecotourism Board was born.
SETB ‘s main objectives are:
To develop and promote the Strandloper Trail and associated activities.
To promote the development of ecotourism and job creation on the coastal areas between Kei Mouth and Gonubie.
To provide guidance, practical support and training to communities along the coastline.
SETB has also established the Ecotourism Centre at the Cape Morgan Mine Complex which it hopes to use as an Environmental Education Centre in the near future.
Today the Trail employs a Trail Manager, Reservations Manager, Maintenance Officer, Trail Guide and two Coastal Rangers. The Board of Directors comprises the following people:
Kevin Cole (Chairperson)
Dave Marais (Project Director)
The term Strandloper derives from the Dutch, ‘Strand’ meaning beach and ‘Loper’ meaning walker, and refers to a way of life rather than a distinct linguistic or racial group. It embraces all who have roamed our shores, combed our beaches and foraged and fished on the rocks from earliest times to the present; including the Bushmen, the Khoi and the Xhosa as well as shipwrecked sailors and seaside settlers.
Shell midens along the coast indicate the presence of regular foraging visits to the coast to harvest mussels and other shellfish.
The wild waters of the south-eastern coast of Africa have caused many ships to founder along the shore. Of special interest are the very early Portuguese carracks, three of which came to grief along the Strandloper Trail. The wreck sites have been distinctively marked by the presence of shards of porcelain which have been observed and collected by beachcombers for many years.
Santa Alberto 1593 – This sailing ship came ashore at Sunrise on Sea during a violent storm. Although many passengers and crew were drowned when the ship struck the shore, the remarkable way in which the ‘castle’ separated from the hull and grounded meant that when the tide went out at dawn, most of the remaining people were able to get ashore ‘dryshod’.
Santo Espiritu 1608 – Very little is recorded about this wreck other than that the survivors built a boat and sailed to Mozambique. The presence of porcelain and carnelian beads have been found in abundance near the mouth of the Quko River.
Nossa Senhora Da Atalaia Do Pinheiro 1647 – This sailing ship came ashore about midway between Cefane and Cintsa. It was carrying porcelain, spices and a cargo of bronze cannon when it foundered during a huge storm.
James Gibson 1874 – This wooden barque was wrecked near Cape Henderson during a gale.
Nuovo Abele 1874 – Carrying a cargo of sugar, this Italian wooden barque foundered at the Cintsa River mouth.
Asphodel 1878 – During a fierce gale, this British wooden barque carrying general cargo, was wrecked near Cape Morgan.
SS Khedive 1910 – A German steamer which also came to grief at Cape Morgan, had its crew rescued by a local farmer, who took them to East London. The German government presented him with a bronze statuette in appreciation of his kindness.