South African mountain bikers constantly hear how great it is to race the tide on the pristine Wild Coast, but seldom get the opportunity. As one of our previous riders aptly put it, for this trip we need the sun, moon and stars to be in line! What she meant was that climate, tides and complex logistics dictate when we should take on the Wild Coast. The emphasis of this trip is on much more than pure riding, adventurers will go away with lasting impressions of amazing scenery, magnificent beaches and an insight into the culture of the hospitable people who live here.

DETAILS OF THE TYPICAL OR STANDARD WILD COAST AMBLE

START/FINISH Morgan Bay to Hole in the Wall
TOUR GRADE 3: EASY TO MODERATE

This ride is for regular mountain bikers, who have a small degree of off road experience and reasonably fit non-riders.

BEST TIME OF THE YEAR APRIL – SEPTEMBER
INCLUDED
Accommodation on the expedition including Morgan Bay the night before the trip and White Clay on the last night.
Food and soft drinks including a range of trail snacks (Alcohol is for each rider’s account)
We help with repairs and carry a range of spares which we supply at cost. But it is still the responsibility of each rider to keep their bikes going.
Access to trails, nature reserves, etc. including all necessary permits and ferry crossing costs.
 Competent Group Leader, Support Leader, guides (depends on group size), knowledgeable vehicle support crew of driver and hostess. No. of vehicles depends on group size.
NOT INCLUDED
Airport transfers
Fancy Alcohol (We provide beers at strategic times!)
Fatbike hire (contact us for details)
Insurance for Medical Oopsies (We’ll gladly hold your hand while you bleed!)
Personal Stuff like Energy bars and Fancy Sports Juice ‘n stuff! (Seriously? If you need that stuff, you’re riding too hard!)

All you need to bring is bike and riding equipment that’s in GOOD REPAIR (Helmet, gloves, Hydration pack and basic spares you’d usually have for a multi-day event), casual clothes, swimming costume, towel, toiletries, etc.

If you are particular, bring your own personal sports drink and any special snacks you like on the trail and make sure your medical insurance is up-to-date.

Basically the cost includes everything on the trail, except personal spending money. There’s nowhere really to spend money, except for a few cokes at spaza shops, drinks at hotels and maybe for a few bits of beadwork from the locals.

Remember personal insurance! You won’t be allowed on the expedition without this. Signing indemnity and providing medical details and assurance from your doctor that you are medically fit.

Once your booking is confirmed, you will receive a suggested kit list. With guidelines on preparing your bike for the rigors of the beach and what to ask your local bike shop to do on servicing the bike after the ride.

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SUMMARY ITINERARY FOR TYPICAL OR STANDARD WILD COAST AMBLE

DAY DESCRIPTION DISTANCE RIDE TIME OVERALL TIME MEALS INCL
1 Transfer to Morgan Bay D
2 Morgan Bay to Wavecrest 23km 3 – 4hrs 5hrs BLD
3 Wavecrest to Qora Mouth 25km 3 -4hrs 6hrs BLD
4 Qora Mouth to Cwebe 42km 6hrs 8hrs BLD
5 Cwebe to Mpame 32km 5 – 6hrs 7 – 8hrs BLD
6 Mpame to Hole-in-the-Wall 21km 3 – 4hrs 6hrs BL
7 Transfer back to East London B

DETAILED ITINERARY FOR TYPICAL OR STANDARD WILD COAST AMBLE

1

Day 1: Arrival and transfer to Morgan Bay

Although most riders will be met at East London airport, the ride officially begins at Morgan Bay where the riders will be given a thorough briefing of what to expect on the ride and all procedures to be followed.

After assembling, checking and adjusting the bikes, it’s off for sun downers on Keightley’s Kranz followed by the customary braai at the Mitford Lodge.

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Day 2: Morgan Bay to Wavecrest

Stats:  23 km, Ride time 3-4 hrs, Total time 5 hrs

Leaving Morgan Bay along the beach the riders get their first taste of beach, rock and trail riding past Cape Morgan Lighthouse into coastal forest and then through the sleepy village of Kei Mouth and on to the Great Kei River itself.

After crossing the river by pont, it’s up Sunrise Surprise hill and then a dash down back to the beach. For the next few hours the riders will pick their way along short beaches and over rocky outcrops to Qolora and on to the wreck of the Jacaranda. This is a good place for a quick rest and to hear about the Jacaranda’s misfortune.

It’s then onto a sandy trail above the beach and down to the Kobonqaba River for the first of many interesting river crossings. After wading/swimming the river, the riders follow the trail across the beach and inland over a long grassy hill to our overnight stop, Wavecrest Hotel.

After lunch there is time to boat up the Nxusi and Nxaxo Rivers into the most southerly mangrove swamps in SA for some excellent birding. The not so energetic will spend the afternoon on the beach or relaxing at the hotel with a book or gin and tonic in hand while savouring the view.

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Day 3: Wavecrest to Qora

Stats: 25 km, Ride time 3-4 hrs, Total time 6 hrs

As it’s chilly early in the morning, it’s prudent to use the hotel water craft to cross the river onto the sandy beach. After a long beach ride, there’s a little respite and then back onto the beach past Bowker’s Bay and Cebe Cottages. The trail leaves the beach here and runs on the grassland above the coast to Cebe Nature Reserve heading back onto the beach for a short while around Stony Point and on to Mazeppa Bay.

The trail leads through Mazeppa and climbs high above the ocean for spectacular views of Mazeppa Point (Clan Lindsay Rock), magnificent sand dunes and points northwards towards Qora Mouth.

As with a lot of the trips along the Wild Coast, sea and beach conditions dictate where best to ride, we usually opt for the shorter recreational route following the coast past the big sand dunes and Salt Rock to the ferry crossing at Qora Mouth and on to finish at Kob Inn.

After lunch, there is much to do at Qora. Again the riders who wish to relax can spend their time in the hotel surrounds or lying on the beach while the energetic may take a stroll through pristine indigenous coastal bush up the Qora River in search of the illusive rare half-collared kingfisher or to find a specific sub-species of clivia plants which are endemic to this forest.

4

Day 4: Qora to Cwebe

Stats: 42 km, Ride time 6 hrs, Total time 8 hrs

This is the BIG DAY! The riders will need to get going early and keep moving through the day in order to make the best use of the low tide and hard sand.

Leaving Kob Inn, the trail is largely on double track and cattle tracks in the grasslands above the coast as it runs to the Jujura River. After the crossing, the trail heads inland before going back to the beach and to the Shixini River, past the remnants of the wreck of the Frontier and alternating on and off the beach to Beecham Wood and the Nqabara River.

A short beach section before it’s back onto cattle tracks through the Dwesa Reserve gate, to the foot of an imposing climb affectionately known as Mother 1!

After walking up this mother, the riders follow a very sketchy trail into Rhino Valley and on to Mendu beach. As the rhino were culled a few years ago, many a rider will question whether there is really a trail here or not!

At the end of Mendu beach, the trail crosses a sandy spur and continues on the last long beach leading to the mBashe River which is always crossed by canoe as we have seen huge Zambezi sharks here!

From the river, it’s a short ride to The Haven Hotel, our destination for this long hard day.

5

Day 5: Cwebe to Mpame

Stats: 32 km, Ride time 5-6 hrs, Total time 7-8 hrs

There are a few route options through the Cwebe Forests (one of the last pristine coastal forests left in SA) and on towards Ntlonyana to re-join the coast for a long beach run to a rocky outcrop, called The Wall. After climbing the rock wall and regrouping it’s back to following the beaches or using an alternate track on the grasslands if the beaches are too soft all the way to Xora River.

After the Xora, it’s beach riding past Bulungula village to the end of the beach and imposing cliffs. To avoid these, the trail heads up along cattle and goat tracks inland over two large hills (Mothers 2 &3), through a number of rural settlements and the Kuamanzimnyama indigenous forest before eventually reaching a district road which leads down to Mpame and  Bull’s Inn.

6

Day 6: Mpame to Coffee Bay

Stats: 21 km, Ride time 3 ½-4 hrs, Total time 6 hrs

After a morning wake-up for the legs in the form of a little stinger of a hill to get out of Mpame Bay, the trail heads back to the beach, across the Mncwasa River to Mbolompo Point. Here, the trail heads inland and down an exciting descent past Lubanzi.  It’s then up again on a rough, but almost ride-able track onto to a ridge running parallel to the sea, but there are still a few more exciting descents and brutal hills (which should be called Mother 5, 6 & 7!). Eventually the trail contours high above the cliffs as it makes its way to Hole in the Wall. There is an exciting descent from the contour path to the river crossing right at the hole (definite picture stop!) where we’ll regroup for a celebratory drink, lunch and a swim. This is effectively the end of the Wild Coast Amble as the crew load the bikes onto the support vehicles for a short drive to White Clay where everyone can chill and celebrate the adventure.

7

Day 7: Transfer to East London Airport

After a leisurely breakfast, it’s time to bid farewell to the Wild Coast and head for East London, the nearest city with a major airport. The transfer is a relatively long 4-5 hours or so giving an opportunity to see a little of inland Transkei, the home of the amaXhosa.

Check out our Facebook page from one of our previous Wild Coast Tours

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PRICE FOR A TYPICAL OR STANDARD WILD COAST AMBLE

> 16 RIDERS 13-16 RIDERS 11-12 RIDERS 8-10 RIDERS < 8 RIDERS
POA as Discounts apply R14 000 R15 000 R17 000 POA as Premiums apply
Per rider Per rider Per rider

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT OF AN ADDITIONAL 30% APPLIES IF A SINGLE ROOM IS REQUIRED

TYPICAL OPTIONS:

-AIRPORT TRANSFERS To make the ride more accessible, Detour Trails can arrange airport transfers before and after the ride.
Should most of the group require this, the estimated cost is R1200 per rider and bicycle for two way transfer.
Specifics can be arranged with Detour Trails when booking.
-BICYCLE HIRE Because of the effects of salt and sand on bicycles, it is not advisable to use expensive full suspension bikes on this ride.
Detour Trails offers Fat Bikes for hire on this adventure at a cost of R600 a day (R3000 for this tour). They are ideal for beach riding and robust enough to handle the rigours they will be subjected to. Details can be discussed with the Detour Team when booking.

CUSTOM OPTIONS:

Detour Trails encourages customisation of the tour to make it appropriate and special for specific groups so please do not hesitate to engage with us on specific needs. Companies using our platform regularly have specific requests. This is part of the bespoke offering.

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Tour Reviews

5.00 based on 5 reviews
July 5, 2017

Just our best trip! Incredible scenery & riding a fat bike on a beach with the wind behind is a gift! Nothing better than a G&T & all accom & meals sorted as you arrive into the hotel at the end of the day. Rohan was a great tour leader – v experienced & kept a pace that could work for most. I don’t think this is for beginner MTB’ers. Some areas quite technical & the hills demand a moderate fitness! I would suggest you should be able to ride (off road) a fairly hilly 30km/day for 3 consecutive days before arriving at Morgan Bay!

July 9, 2017

This is a great tour for two reasons. First, the terrain is varied and spectacular. Yes, it’s a little gnarly in some places, climbing up and over rocky headlands, etc. but this is part of the adventure, and an adventure it is. Second, Detour Trails provided the best possible support. Rohan and crew exceeded all our expectations, every day and in every way, and we look forward to another cycling adventure in with them in the near future.

July 11, 2017

Most awesome trip. Not only do you get to ride your bike with the most breathtaking views , you actually have time to absorb them. Food for the Soul . Definitely a must if you enjoy adventure , good company and a beer or 6. The tour is well organised , accommodation and food great.
You need to be relatively fit and comfortable on a MTB bike to get the best out of the trip as there are some challenging moments and descents.
I look forward to doing more trips with them in the future.

July 20, 2017

Heard about this trip from a fellow cyclist in Colorado and have two words to describe this experience — INCREDIBLE ADVENTURE! I have traveled the world and have to say this ride is one I will never forget. The scenery is amazing, the accommodations are great and Detour Trails did a fine job of keeping us on track and rewarding us for a job well done. This is not an easy ride, but if you like adventure, it’s for you! It’s truly a ride of a lifetime.

November 29, 2017

One of the greatest adventures imaginable well managed and supported by the Detour Trails crew. I can’t recommend it and Detour more highly.

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