Camp in Double Mouth Nature Reserve near Morgan Bay.
Remember that silly “Double rainbow” video that did the rounds a few years ago? Well, at Double Mouth you can experience the river version: The Quko and KuMqotwane rivers join up to form an estuary and both flow into the sea. Technically, this small reserve is not on the Wild Coast because it’s south of the Kei River. But the vibe is the same: It’s a place to escape to if you don’t want crowds, loud music and beauty pageants on the beach. There are no chalets at Double Mouth, nor is there a shop, but the campsite is one of the most scenic you’ll find. The stands are laid out in a semi-circle so they all have a sea view, and there’s a big lawn in the middle where the kids can play cricket. Down at the beach they can catch klipfish in the rock pools and look for starfish and anemones. At Double Mouth you can also live out your dream of being an archaeologist: A Portuguese trade ship called the Santo Espirito sank somewhere off the coast in 1608. At Bead Beach, about a 20-minute walk down the coast from the reserve car park, you can look for carnelian beads and shards of Ming porcelain that were part of the ship’s cargo. Check the tides before you go because you have to cross the mouth of the estuary. Where can I hike? From Bead Beach, you can continue to Haga Haga (about 9 km from Double Mouth). Or head up the coast from the campsite and hike 4 km to Morgan Bay. The latter trail winds along cliffs with expansive views of the coastline. Squint a little and you could be on the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. What else? You can fish on both sides of the estuary. Get a permit from a post office (the closest one is in Kentani) and cast a line for musselcracker and kabeljou. You can also bring your mountain bike and ride the trails around the campsite. Facilities & rates: The campsite has 30 stands, each with a tap, power point and braai (max six people per stand). Rates from R238 per stand. Conservation fee R11 per adult per day; R6 per child. Niggles? Not much. Bring a ground sheet because the grass is patchy in the campsite thanks to the trees. The beach in front of the campsite is pebbly – if you want to lie on the sand you’ll have to walk about 500 m around a koppie. Where? About 4 km south of Morgan Bay. The reserve is accessible in any vehicle. More info: 043 492 0883; visiteasterncape.co.za