The Wild Coast forms the coastline of an area formerly known as the Transkei on the eastern coastline of South Africa. Pondoland forms the northern section of the Wild Coast and stretched from the Mtumvuna river in the north, to Port St Johns. Today, the area falls under rule of the Eastern Cape provincial government and although still pristine, remains largely unprotected.
Due to a complete lack of industry, infrastructure and employment opportunities, the area is predominantly inhabited by woman, children and pensioners. Where subsistence living is the norm, and unemployment has reached staggering proportions, a very large percentage of residents have to rely on government grants to survive. Schools, community centres and hospitals are rudimentary and overpopulated.
Fortunately, one positive result through the lack of road infrastructure, is that the Wild Coast, and especially Pondoland, has remained inaccessible to the majority of tourists as is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s best kept secrets.
Preserving the Pondoland
The Wild Coast runs for 311km, from the Mtumvuna River in Port Edward, to the Great Kei River just north of East London. Less that a fifth of this shoreline is protected and this pristine environment is in danger of being exploited by unscrupulous farming, mining, and unethical business practices.
It is our belief that the only sustainable way to preserve the Wild Coast, and Pondoland in particular, is to uplift the local community through high-end, low impact tourism. To bring influential and significant individuals to bring awareness to this area, show them the wonders that it offers and, in doing so, inspire them to assist us with its preservation. Hopefully, with buy-in from the local communities, where they are benefitting directly from the tourism, this will put an end to any form of development that has a negative impact of this fragile environment. We plan to preserve Pondoland and the greater Wild Coast through a 3-Pillar plan.
Awareness, Tourism and Community
Being so far off the beaten track, the Wild Coast remains largely unknown. Where international tourists visit South Africa in search of the Big 5 or national parks, the Wild Coast remains a place for the local adventure seekers. Unfortunately, with this area not being marketed or placed into popular itineraries, many international guests miss the incredible opportunity of experiencing this magnificent wilderness.
It is therefore imperative to create as much awareness for this area as possible. To help the world realise that such a beautiful area still exists, and in doing so, assist in preserving this area for future generations.
If we are to succeed in preserving Pondoland for the future, it is imperative that whatever efforts are made in achieving this also benefit the local communities and aid in providing the basic services that are so badly lacking. We need to ensure that community projects and services are funded by eco-friendly means, and not by companies or countries that look to exploit the areas minerals or communities. The Pondoland Conservation Trust has been registered, and in association with Pillars of Hope, we plan for this to be a very powerful partnership through which much of our efforts and external funding can be directed to benefit the local communities.
Wild Child Africa is an adventure tourism company founded in 2011. Since 2015, we have focussed almost entirely on conservation through tourism in Pondoland. The potential the area holds is unmatched anywhere in the country.
Over the past few years, due to the coastline being too fragile to sustain high density tourism, we have created a high-end hiking trail with low environmental impact that strives to educate the fortunate few who grace its shores.
The Pondo Trail® has become an iconic and sought-after South African trail, hosting a healthy mix of families, international tourists and corporate groups, and has already brought much awareness to this area in a short space of time.
The Wild Coast Crossing
fundraising and awareness campaign
In order for extraordinary results to be achieved, an extraordinary undertaking needs to be attempted by extraordinary humans. Attempting to traverse the 311km Wild Coast on foot is daunting and intimidating to say the least but attempting to cover this distance in less than 4 and a half days is where even angels would fear to tread.
The Wild Coast Crossing, now in its 3rd year, has successfully assisted in raising funds and creating awareness for the Preserving Pondoland projects. Having run the coastline in both directions, they have chosen to run a north to south 3rd journey and plan to cover the distance in 84km, 50km, 68km, 65km and 45km stretches.
A few other soldiers will be invited to join the organising crew in July this year in what promises to be a gruelling, sleepless, blistered and exhausting few days, all for the betterment of others.
Support the team on this incredible journey to raise funds for the construction of the Manteku Community Centre which will provide learners with a library, the community with a mobile clinic, meeting hall, wi-fi hub and borehole that can supply drinking water during the dry winter months.
All donations will receive a tax certificate from Pillars of Hope in terms of Section 18A of the Income Tax Act of 1962. So not only will your contribution assist with “Preserving the Pondoland “, but you will also get a tax deduction from SARS.
You can support the initiative by either:
Paying directly into Pillars of Hopes bank account (avoids losing fees to funding platforms)
Pillars of Hope, Nedbank Current Account, Branch Code: 198765, Account Number: 1142755649
Use the Payment Reference : Pondo(your name)
By contributing through GivenGain : https://www.givengain.com/cc/donations-and-fundraising-2021/projects/
Follow the Wild Coast crossing on https://www.facebook.com/wildcoastcrossing