Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Umtentu, Transkei (Wild Coast), South Africa

Finally at the beach, Umtentu
Originally uploaded by make_change.
Happy Easter to you all! I just came back from a trip in to an area in South Africa called the South Coast in the Eastern Cape called the Transkei. They call the Transkei the Wild Coast and its roads and remoteness proves to be just as wild as it states. On the Friday night, we stayed at a backpackers called Uma Valley Lodge. The lodge is run by Bernice, a woman with four dogs and a rustic, hippy type of hostel. The next day we left Port Edward, bought food at the local grocery store, then drove 3 1/2 hours through the unpaved roads to Umtentu. The drive is not for the faint at heart. The tracks ran up and down through the gorge's rocky and muddy trails. While you drive through the trails, you will find several empty soccer fields (soccer posts made with 3 wood sticks) and then schools powered by solar panels. The drive also had kids running out the the car yelling "sweets! sweets!" or pounding rocks in the large pot holes through the route. At the end of the drive you arrive at Umtentu and a lodge hiding in the bush overlooking the ocean, gorge and the marine-protected esturary. There was only the four of us and three hikers at the huts where we stayed. The next morning was beautiful and sunny so up the gorge we went on canoes. I have never paddled between two massive gorges before with the sound of baboons and kingfisher birds chirping away. Only downside was when I slammed my knee on the rock while I was jumping into the river to swim and the knee is bruised for the rest of the trip. I have some kind of bacteria that is making my stomach churn so I'm on the antibiotic Cipro to fend it off. Click on the photo to see a few other shots from the Transkei.

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