Pondo-Falls Hiking Trail
For families with kids of school-going age, or groups who do not wish to self-cater on any of their nights, we have curated the Pondo–Falls trail.
Like the Voyager-trail, it starts at, with return-to, the Wild Coast Sun (Port Edward). It is also 5 nights, but finishes at Grosvenor instead of Mbotyi – with 2 nights spent at the vibey Mtentu River Lodge and 2 nights at a hidden gem of a lodge tucked away in a secluded milkwood forest. Full catering and bedding is provided by all the lodges and the homestay on your first night, so you need bring little more than your clothes and a toothbrush for the trail.
With an extra day spent at Mtentu, one can paddle up this pristine estuary and do the adventurous hike-kloof to Swallowtail falls – a truly spectacular waterfall enclosed by a natural amphitheatre of rock.
After Mtentu, you will hug the shore through Mkambati Nature Reserve: a 7720-ha protected reserve consisting of expansive grasslands and indigenous forest patches, flanked by the magnificent forested ravines of the Msikaba and Mtentu Rivers.
If secret waterfalls and skinny-dipping pools call your soul, then this trail should be top of your list.
- Trip Duration5 Hike Days / 5 Nights – extra 'lay' days can be taken.
- Daily DistancesDay 1: 15km Day 2: 14kmDay 3: 12km Day 4: 25kmDay 5: 5-20km
- Trail Grading3-4 / 5 - Fitness. Easy gradient but some long daily distances.2 / 5 - Technicality. Limited scrambling, some rock-hopping and potential river crossings.
- Trail TerrainCoastal Trail - traversing grasslands with deep forest ravines and gorges, rocky headlands, sandy beaches and passing through friendly Pondo villages.
- Accommodation1 Night Village Homestay (traditional mud & thatch rondavels, mattress on floor with bedding & bucket bath)2 Nights Mtentu Lodge2 Nights Grosvenor Lodge (comfortbale twin room rondavels)
- Logistic SupportFully-catered trailGuide for all point-to-point hike days (everyday except extra day at Mtentu)Porter support can be arranged on special request
- Group SizePreferred min of 4 persons & max 14/ per single transfer
- PricingOn a group of 4 - 5 persons: R8400/pp
At a Glance
This is a 5 day / night hiking trail starting at the Wild Coast Casino and finishing at Grosvenor. Led by a passionate local guide, hikers will be treated to warm amaXhosa hospitality at a village homestay in Xolobeni on the first night of the trail. The second and third night is spent at community-owned Mtentu Lodge on the gorgeous Mtentu estuary. A more relaxed day can be spent at Mtentu, or for the adventurous and able, a paddle-kloof-up to Swallowtail Falls.
After Mtentu, you will hug the shoreline through Mkambati Nature Reserve. A number of streams run through the reserve with deep pools and cascading waterfalls inviting you to take a ‘plunge’, whilst large herds of Eland, Wildebeest and Blesbuck graze-on. It is a rather long days hike (25km) past Msikaba and on to Grosvenor for the night. For groups where this day may be a stretch too far, one can overnight at a homestay at Msikaba (15-18kms), finishing the last stretch to Grosvenor (7-10km) the next day.
A final day is spent at Grosvenor where a number of hike options exist. There are short hikes (5-10kms) to nearby waterfalls (Tezana & Mkweni), or even to Waterfall Bluff and back (20km) if you wish.
- Day 1Arrival & Hike Day 1 : Wild Coast Casino – Nyameni (15km)
Leaving your vehicle in secure parking at the Wild Coast casino, you will meet your guide here. Today’s hike is mostly along the beach passing remnants of a petrified forest, through to the stunning Nyameni river and then on to the Xolobeni village for a night in a local homestay.
Overnight: Nyameni Village Homestay (Dinner)
- Day 2Hike Day 2: Nyameni to Mtentu (14km)
Today’s hike heads out through the cultivated fields of Xolobeni across the grasslands and over the red dunes through to Sikombe and on to Mtentu.
Overnight: Mtentu River Lodge (Breakfast & packed lunch from VBA. Dinner at Mtentu)
- Day 3Optional Hike: Paddle-kloof-hike to Swallowtail Falls (self-guided)
Chose between a day of relaxation at the beach, taking one of the shorter strolls to a nearby swimming hole, or if you feeling adventurous - a paddle-kloof to Swallowtail Falls - a rock amphitheatre falls. A private guide (extra) can be arranged for the swallowtail falls adventure.
Overnight: Mtentu River Lodge (Breakfast, lunch & dinner from Mtentu).
- Day 4Hike Day 4: Mtentu – Grosvenor (25km) – through Mkambati Nature Reserve.
Today’s trail is a long one - traversing Mkambati Nature Reserve, past Msikaba and on to Grosvenor. Secret bays and waterfalls, baboon cave and the beautiful Msikaba estuary. See the vestiges of treasure quests at Grosvenor, before arriving at the lodge tucked away in a milkwood forest.
Overnight: Grosvenor Lodge (Breakfast & packed lunch from Mtentu. Dinner at Grosvenor)
- Day 5Hike Day 5: Shorter waterfall options (5-10km) or Waterfall Bluff return (20km)
A number of shorter hike options to waterfalls and freshwater swimming holes on the stunning Tezana and Mkweni Rivers (5 – 10km routes)
Or guided hike to Waterfall Bluff (80m waterfall which plunges into the ocean) and return (20km)
Overnight: Grosvenor Lodge (Breakfast, lunch & dinner from Grosvenor)
- Day 6Departure Day
Breakfast and private transfer back to the Wild Coast Sun (approx 4 hrs)
1 Night Village Homestay (traditional mud & thatch rondavels, mattress on floor with bedding & bucket bath)
2 Nights Mtentu Lodge (Eco-backpacker) - 4-sleeper chalets or 2-sleeper canvas tents or rustic rooms
2 Nights Grosvenor Lodge - twin bedded rondavel huts with ensuite bathrooms. Central dining area.
- Can this hike be shortened or lengthened?
It is possible to spend an extra day-night at any of the overnight locations. If you looking for a shorter version of this trail – try our Mtentu Explorer.
- Is it possible to organise vehicle luggage transfers on this hike?
Not without a lot of extra cost. Local porters are a better option, but they also are a little tricky to arrange on this particular hike as the hike crosses over a number of guide-porter territories.
- What type of footwear is appropriate?
A hiking type shoe or trail sneaker, with some good grip, is perfect.
- What is the best time of year for this trail?
The Wild Coast has a very temperate climate so can be hiked all year round, but from about March through to November tend to be better months i.t.o less rainfall. Winter months offer a wonderful and stable climate for hiking and the annual sardine run brings with it game fish, schools of dolphin, and pelagic birds.
At a Glance
|Group Size||Price (PP)|
10 or more
Whats included in this tour
- 5 Nights Accom (sharing basis):
- 1 night in village-based homestay (dinner, breakfast & packed lunch)
- 2 Nights at Mtentu Lodge (with dinner, breakfast & packed lunch)
- 2 Nights at Grosvenor Lodge (with dinner, breakfast & lunch)
- Hiking Guide: for 4 hike days. Day 3 at Mtentu is a relax/self-guide day, but a guide can be arranged
- All Meals: from dinner on first night to breakfast on last day (5 dinners, 5 breakfasts, 4 trail lunches)
- Transfers: private return transfer from Grosvenor (4hr)- back to Port Edward/ Wild Coast Casino