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Four of the best hiking trails to explore in the Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape is one of the most beautiful provinces in South Africa. It offers a lot of variety for visitors looking to experience nature up close and personal. Most of the places that draw adventurers and people who love hiking are along the coastline, but it’s amazing how the coastline moves and encompasses lush forests and misty mountains.

If you are looking for a unique way to experience the Eastern Cape, here are four of the best hiking trails that will take you through the dramatic coastline, sandy and rocky beaches, lagoons, coves, cliffs, mangrove swamps and the fauna and flora that are nothing short of spectacular.

The Otter Trail

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The most popular hiking trail in South Africa, the Otter Trail runs through the exquisitely beautiful Tsitsikamma rugged shorelines, lush forests, streams, and waterfalls. It is a scenic route punctuated by the fragrance of fynbos growing wildly everywhere.

The Otter Trail is 42 km long. It is a long trail that might take five days to traverse and one of the most strenuous hiking trails you’ll find in the Eastern Cape. There are rest stops along the way. In certain parts, it breaks off to join other trails like the Dolphin Trail.

The Amatola Trail

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The Amatola trail is rated as one of the toughest hiking trails in South Africa. The 22 km trail traverses mountains, valleys, forests and even a nature reserve where hikers may encounter some of the friendlier wildlife.

The birdlife is great and hiking enthusiasts will get a lot of pictures all along the mountain trail. This Wild Coast trail can be completed in five days with occasional rest stops.

The trail has a lot of circular trails and connects with the magnificent Hogsback trail. In Hogsback, you can enjoy the beauty of the Madonna and Child Falls and Swallow Tail Falls.

You can take a well-deserved dip in the water after walking the entire 100 km length of the Amatola trail.

Coffee Bay to Lubanzi trail

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Coffee Bay offers a variety of hiking trails. It is one of the Eastern Capes must-visit places. This is one experience that allows you to one with nature and to be part of the local people’s everyday life.

The locals are very welcoming and happy to share their piece of heaven with visitors and a piece of themselves too. From an anthropological point, the trail to Lubanzi is illuminating at best. There are loads of beautiful scenery from the mountains and forest to the beach and of course the famous Hole in the Wall which you can walk through at low tide or swim across.

The Shipwreck Coast

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This area is the graveyard of many ships that got wrecked along the Eastern Cape’s coastline. Don’t expect to find treasure washed ashore, though! There are a lot of stories though that local people are happy to share with you.

The trail itself is about 69 km long and stretches from Port Alfred and ends at the Fish River Mouth. To walk the entire trail can take about five days and is not as strenuous as the other hiking trails in the Eastern Cape.


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