Wild Coast Trail Running

Running along miles of sun-kissed beach and following local fishermen paths up and over the rocky headlands, you too can run wild with Active Escapes. Any of our Wild Coast hikes can potentially be arranged as a trail-run, but the lower wild coast with its well positioned hotels and network for luggage support, makes for an easy trail running getaway, flying in and out of East London.

  • Trip Duration3 Trail Days / 4 Nights* Extra days avail
  • Daily DistancesDay 1: 25km (Kob Inn - Wavecrest)Day 2: 28km (Wcrest - Morgan Bay)Day 3: 30km (Morgan Bay - Cinsta)
  • Trail Grading3-4 / 5 - Fitness. There is very little ascent on this stretch of Wild Coast. The distances are approx double the daily hike distances, so if you were to attempt this without jogging, you’d need to walk at a brisk pace and make early starts.1/ 5 - Technicality. Some small boulder hopping on rocky beach sections but no scrambling or sheer sections.
  • Trail TerrainCoastal Trail – mostly flattish terrain with some small hills, long stretches of pristine beaches, secluded bays, and beautiful estuaries.
  • AccommodationOld world characterful Transkei Hotels (3-4 course dinners, full cooked breakfasts and packed lunches all provided).
  • Logistic SupportVehicle luggage support is an option, but only feasible for larger groups. As the hotels provide all meals and bedding, you can get away with a superlight pack. Our costing is based on self-support, but we can provide a custom quote for group luggage support.Fully catered with hotel accommodationEnd point transfer/shuttle provided
  • Group SizeMin 2 persons, no maximum
  • PricingOn a group of 5-7 persons: from R8,200/pp for a 4 Night / 3 Day Jikeleza Route
At a Glance

For fitter hikers, and trail runners, we run a trip which essentially covers two hiking days in one. These daily distances are possible if you speed-walk or jog-walk, with light packs.

It is not possible to provide guides and porters over these daily distances (as it covers many guiding sections in a single day), so we cost without a guide or porters.

As the hotels all provide bedding, towels and meals; you really can go superlight if you wash out your running clothes overnight and bring light layers for the evening. We will use the same transfer provider from and back to East London airport so you can leave excess luggage with them OR you can leave it in your vehicle if you are self-driving to the end point.

  1. Day 1Arrival Day: Self-drive to Cintsa, Crawfords or Fly to EL - Transfer

    Private transfer through to Kob Inn (approx 3hrs)

    Overnight: Kob Inn hotel (Dinner)

  2. Day 2Trail Run Day 1: Kob Inn to Wavecrest (25km)

    Today’s route is perhaps the ‘wildest’ - offering a mix of sandy beaches flanked by rippled dunes one side and flat-shelved wave-cut rocks on the other; and grassy banks that pass natural springs and indigenous forests alive with birds and insects.

    After crossing the Ngqwara River its a combination of beach, flat rocky shelves and grassy tracks before reaching the beautiful Cebe River Mouth. Flanked on both sides with thick indigenous forest, this river mouth is a truly a wild and special spot. The final stretch from Cebe to Wavecrest is along wide flat beach.

    Overnight: Wavecrest Hotel (Breakfast, packed lunch & Dinner)

  3. Day 3Trail Run Day 2: Wavecrest to Morgan Bay (28km)

    From Wavecrest to the Kobonqaba River, you will pass through a lovely section of indigenous forest.

    After the Kobonqaba River crossing, the trail is easy going. Look out for the last remains of the Jacaranda Shipwreck – a Greek Freighter that was wrecked in 1971 on a voyage from East London to Durban.

    The mighty Kei River will be crossed by motorised pont.

    After passing through the small village of Kei Mouth, you will head in the direction of the lighthouse and then back down to the rocky coast.

    The beach marks the final stretch through to Morgan Bay.

    Overnight: Mitford Hotel or upgrade to Morgan bay hotel (Breakfast, packed lunch & Dinner)

  4. Day 4Trail Run Day 3: Morgan Bay to Cintsa (30km)

    To the west of Morgan Bay, the impressive Morgan Bay Cliffs jut out of the ocean to a height of 57 metres. The trail goes along the tops of the rocky doleritic headlands from here down to Double Mouth Reserve.

    After crossing the Quko River, the trail makes its way to the famous Treasure or Bead Beach. The promontory ahead is Black Rock, the graveyard of several ships. Cornelian beads and Chinese blue and white ming porcelain sherds may be found in the shingle and grass lining the rocky shore.

    You will pass Marsh strand before coming up to Haga Haga hotel, which offers an ideal refreshment stop.

    From Haga Haga you will run along an exposed wavecut platform with small gullies & rock pools to explore before reaching the waterfall at Rooiwal.

    The long beach of Cape Henderson awaits. After Bosbokstrand, it is sandy beach all the way with high vegetated dunes. You will walk pass three beautiful estuaries which are normally closed river mouths. After the final beach stretch, look out for the path up to the thatched cabannas of Crawfords.

    Overnight: Crawfords Lodge (Breakfast, packed lunch & Dinner)

  5. Day 5Departure Day: Transfer back to ELA or leave in own vehicles left

The Jikeleza Trail Route

From Kob Inn to Cinsta over 3 running days

Old world characterful Transkei Hotels (ranging from 3-4 Star): 3-4 course dinners, full cooked breakfasts and packed lunches all provided.

Double, Twin and family room options are available. Single supplement will apply if you specifically request your own room.

Wavecrest Hotel at first light
  1. Can we get vehicle luggage transfers on this trail run?

    Yes, this is feasible if you a larger group (>8 persons) or prepared to pay for them. The trail running days are two normal hiking days and we usually use porters in the section north of the Kei. The porters are not able to carry bags over these trail running distances, and the guides are hikers, not trail runners. Hence – we cost as a baseline for self-support (carrying your own lightweight trail pack) and self-guided with maps and directions provided.

    As the hotels provide all bedding and meals, you literally just need to provide a few extra clothing layers which you can wash overnight.

  2. What type of footwear is appropriate?

    A trail running shoe with some good grip and should have an inner mesh layer to stop sand from coming in at the top. Lycra trail-running gaiters are also good at preventing this.

  3. What backpack should I run with?

    Firstly we recommend using a properly fitted trail running pack / vest which wont move around and chaffe and also give you easy access to your hydration (bottles or bladder). Ultimate Direction, Osprey, Salomon all provide good options. You will need a min 10L storage capacity and up to 20L would be ideal. You will need to be able to carry approx 1l of water with you and your trail snacks, over and above your spare clothes.

  4. What is the best time of year for this trail?

    The Wild Coast has a temperate climate so can be hiked/run all year round, but from about March through to November tend to be more stable months with less rainfall. If possible, it is best to try avoid the busy school holiday periods. Peak period rates will apply during Dec/ Jan holidays. Winter months provide very comfortable daily temps - usually mid 20's with lower humidity.

  5. How do the group transfers work?

    We include and cost for a group transfer/shuttle from either the end point of the hike to the start (usually done at the beginning so you hike back to your vehicle) OR return airport transfers (to/from East London airport). Groups need to co-ordinate their flight arrival times. On larger groups, it is possible to do multiple transfers but you will pay for the additional transfers required. It is also possible to collect some of the group from the airport and the rest from the hike end-point, but additional 'detour' charges will apply.

4 Night / 3 Day Jikeleza Trail Run

Group SizePrice (PP) 
2 Persons
4 Persons
5-7 Persons
8-10 Persons
Whats included in this tour
  • 4 Nights Accom (sharing basis): 1 night at Kob Inn hotel, Wavecrest Hotel, Mitford Hotel, Crawfords Hotel
  • All meals: from dinner on arrival night to breakfast on departure day: 4 dinners, 4 breakfasts, 3 trail lunches.
  • Private Transfers: collect from EL airport - transfer to Kob Inn (start). Collect from Crawfords (finish) - transfer back to ELA