DAY 3 14 km

go! - - Hike Wild Coast -

Tswe­leni to Hluleka

An Isuzu truck crawl­ing up a hill re­minds me it’s a work day – for the rest of South Africa, at least. My Mon­day will in­volve more time next to the beach and some hills to climb. The group has found a nice hik­ing rhythm. Up and down we go, along empty beaches and dirt roads, through vil­lages where we buy Bigga Naks and Lemon Creams, over more hills, along an­other beach… My wor­ries melt away. All I have to think about is putting one foot in front of the other. The kids we meet are friendly and I’m amazed at their cre­ativ­ity: Al­most any­thing can be made into a toy. One boy slides down a hill on an old beer car­ton, an­other boy tows a flat­tened 2 ℓ Coke bot­tle on a rope. When I last did the hike, many of the chil­dren called out for sweets. This time I hear fewer such calls. Please don’t hand out sweets on the trail – it’s bad for young teeth in an area where there is lim­ited ac­cess to den­tal care, and it fos­ters a beg­ging cul­ture. The views seem to get bet­ter and bet­ter. “Still amaz­ing,” I hear Liezel mut­ter as she takes yet an­other photo. We stop for lunch at about 1.30 pm, at the pic­nic site in Hluleka Na­ture Re­serve. The beach in the re­serve is framed by rocks and wild ba­nana trees – it looks like it should be on a brochure for an is­land hol­i­day. ( Stay in the chalets at Hluleka for R476 per night for two peo­ple – see go! #148. – Ed.) We spend the night in the vil­lage of Hluleka, a 45-minute walk from the re­serve. “I can’t re­mem­ber the last time I saw my face,” Dian says af­ter his shower. The shower is in a sep­a­rate hut and works with a bucket sys­tem: Wa­ter is boiled in a black pot and poured into a bucket with a show­er­head. You hoist the bucket up with a rope and away you go. As the sun sets, chil­dren per­form tra­di­tional dances on the lawn. The stars come out and our host Nokhanyo Jerewiya treats us to home-made bread, pap, pump­kin and chicken. Later, I read an en­try in the vis­i­tors’ book by a Ger­man tourist: “Dear Nokhanyo, we had such a good rest and sleep on your great mat­tresses. Your food was most amaz­ing and healthy. Thanks for feed­ing us your chicken’s eggs. To watch them go to sleep was bet­ter than watch­ing TV.”

TRANSKEI SNAP­SHOTS (clock­wise from top left). Apiwe Dlo­tovu owns this spaza in a set­tle­ment near Mngazana. The rock pools are a good place to cool down. Nokhanyo Jerewiya will make you feel wel­come when you stay with her near Hluleka on Day 3. The rit­ual of tea, cof­fee and home-made bread be­came a high­light at the end of each day. Apart from iconic Eastern Cape scenery, you’ll also walk past in­ter­est­ing rock for­ma­tions on the coast. The closer you get to set­tle­ments, the nar­rower the paths over the hills be­come.

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