DAY 4 18 km

go! - - Hike Wild Coast -

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.

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