At Mbotyi we offer a range of guided walks & hiking trails through stunning coastal scenery in Pondoland. See Contact Us for map and directions to Mbotyi River Lodge on the Wild Coast. Here are a few of the guided walks & hiking trails on offer:
Drewe’s Camp Circular Route
Moderate, distance 11.5km. The trail starts at the lodge and follows the gravel road for 1.5 km before branching off into a section of indigenous forest. A path goes into a section of forest northwards to Sugar-loaf Hill and the ruins of Drewe’s Camp. For those wishing to walk unguided, detailed directions will be given at reception. Drewe’s Camp is a wonderful, lonely beach with two smaller river estuaries one of which is the river that forms the spectacular gorge that is visible from the road on your left before you come down the pass. At the end of the beach is a little waterfall that tumbles into a pool on the beach during the wet season. Sugar-loaf, or Mgcagcama Hill as known by the locals, is a 100m high hill which juts out into the sea. The views from the top are spectacular. An additional section for the adventurous souls is to explore the cliffs along the southern end of the Waterfall Bluff to various caves and hidden pools. The return trip to the lodge is along the coast, with lovely views, a beach with shells and our Mighty Bean soccer field along the route.
Mbotyi River Lodge to Fraser Falls
Strenuous terrain, distance approximately 12.5 km. This hike is only recommended for the fitter and adventurous person. There is no set trail. Your experienced guide will take you along the water course of the Mkhozi River for most of the way. Start will be after an early breakfast at the lodge, with lunch and water to carry. Fraser Gorge is one of the few places left where the flora and the fauna have not been exploited due to its inaccessibility. Many species of birds, Chacma baboons, Samango Monkeys and even Leopard are still to be found here. The highlight of this hike is the huge pool at the foot of the falls. Very few people have had the privelige of being here due to the extreme conditions. An exhilarating albeit exhausting hike for those up to the challenge. Appropriate gear for wet weather is essential. Take a lunch pack and spend time in the gorge.
Colliers or Ilityelentaka (the rock of the bird)
Moderate, distance 12.5 km This is a relatively short, yet satisfying walk in a southerly direction to a rocky outcrop called Ililyelentaka by the local people and Colliers by the fishermen. The return route is inland past isolated rural dwellings. The route provides wonderful views of the ocean as well as the valleys around. Mmzimpunzi beach and small lagoon is the first of a few remote tropical white sandy beaches in the Southern direction. Each beach encountered is more remote than the previous and we recommend that you relax and enjoy the solitude of this paradise. Upon reaching Ilityelentaka, one climbs to the top of a hill, a good place to enjoy your lunch while looking out over the immense Indian Ocean. The walk back through the village is a unique opportunity of meeting and seeing how these friendly Pondo folk live in these truly remote regions
Waterfall with No Name
Strenuous, distance 14km Certainly not to be missed. This day takes one through rural foothills before entering and climbing up through towering indigenous forests to a waterfall with no name that cascades over the escarpment and drops about 90 meters into a pool tucked away in a heavily forested kloof. The distance covered is 14 km, one climbs up from the hotel along the foothills of the escarpment and traverses past local dwellings before entering the dense indigenous forest. The forest is truly overwhelming with birds singing in the canopy and the floor covered with beautiful flowers and strange mushrooms. Keep an eye out for the elusive Narina Trogon’s beautiful Kynsna Loeries ( Turaco Corythaix ) or the loud Hornbills.
Waterfall Bluff Trail
Everyone wants to see Waterfall Bluff, the iconic waterfall that drops down into the Indian Ocean. It requires a bit of effort to do this but the rewards are immense. This remains one of the most exciting walks for the seasoned hiker. If you do a return trip from the lodge, the distance is 28km
From Mbotyi you walk close to the coast along grassy banks and beach for some 3.5 km before reaching a long sandy beach at Drewe’s Camp. In the middle of this stretch is the mouth of the Mkhosi River. Beyond this estuary are two more undisturbed, clear streams. One has a beautiful waterfall that cascades into a pool. The route now leaves the beach and hikers ascend up the back of Sugarloaf Hill to a plateau. Your guide will point out the Eggossa fault to you. You will skirt the first deep valley. The only habitation is two huts utilized by herdsman who periodically guide their cattle onto these traditional grazing grounds. A highlight along this route is to see one of the endemic Mkambati palms, which are indigenous to this area. Walking along the cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean where whales and dolphins abound, you will come across Cathedral Rock, a well- known landmark. Note the rock cairns left by brave or foolish rock climbers. After crossing the Mlambomkulu River, with its pristine pools, the trails leads you down to the coast and Waterfall Bluff. The cliffs form a huge overhanging cave, called Grotto Cave and supplies excellent shade for your tasty packed lunch. The return route is slightly inland. Remember to have a swim at the pools.