DAY 4 18 km
Hluleka to Tshani
We cover good ground today and there’s lots of time to think. Yongama and I talk about the people of the Wild Coast. It’s easy to romanticise a rural lifestyle, especially if you compare it to more obvious poverty in townships. It’s true that the people here are poor and jobs are scarce, but there’s space and the opportunity to be self-sufficient. Everyone has enough to eat. About an hour into the morning’s walk, we reach the Mthakatye River. Yongama made enquiries earlier and discovered that the man who is meant to take us across the river has vanished. If he can’t find someone else to help us, we’ll have to take a long detour. The river is too deep and wide to cross without a boat. “Let’s wait and fluit,” Yongama suggests. He gives a loud whistle. It’s met with silence, then two dogs bark on the opposite bank. Someone appears and waves. His name is Job Wenene and he’s willing to ferry us across. Phew! The rest of the day we hike along the beach. Everyone is busy with his or her own thoughts. We meet up on Mdumbi Beach at 2.30 pm. It’s hot and we all run into the sea to cool off. We arrive at the village of Tshani in the late afternoon and one of our hosts, Lubabalo Gxala, greets us with fresh vetkoek, tea and coffee. Family photos and school certificates adorn the walls of the hut. This isn’t a hiking hut – it’s someone’s house! How generous to share it with us so we can rest our heads.