MEET JIMMY

go! - - Hike Wild Coast -

“The Wild Coast hasn’t re­ally been de­vel­oped – it looks like it has al­ways looked,” says en­tre­pre­neur Jimmy Se­lani, the face of this Wild Coast trail. He has been a guide on the trail since 1998 and started his own com­pany, Wild Tours, in 2013. Jimmy lives in Mtum­bane near Port St Johns. “I was work­ing as a bar­ber in 1998 when I saw an ad in the lo­cal news­pa­per look­ing for guides,” he says. “I had pre­vi­ously worked as a re­cep­tion­ist in a big ho­tel in Mthatha so I was used to talk­ing to peo­ple. I went for train­ing and started on this trail.” Jimmy is mod­est about the part he has played in de­vel­op­ing the trail, and the fact that he has helped to cre­ate jobs for more than 40 other guides, in­clud­ing Yongama. He em­pha­sizes again how safe the route is. “You can do it without a guide,” he says. “But the trail is not clearly marked.” In the early days, hik­ers used to camp near the vil­lages. Since 2001, how­ever, they overnight in huts be­long­ing to res­i­dents. “This has led to in­ter­ac­tion be­tween hik­ers from around the world and the peo­ple of the Wild Coast,” Jimmy says. “The Pondo are some of the friendli­est peo­ple in South Africa. You can learn how they live, en­joy their hos­pi­tal­ity and warmth, and re­lax far from the hus­tle and bus­tle of the city.”

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