Florian and Henning
A review of our Two- Day - Hike from Port St Johns to Mpande Village Kraal with Dreadlock Jimmy
Me Florian and Henning a friend of mine from Germany arrived in Port St Johns during journey down to Cape Town. We just wanted to relax a few days at the beautiful Wild Coast and then on our second day Jungle Monkey Backpackers we were introduced to Jimmy, a well known local guide. We met him the first morning and he introduced himself as “ Dreadlock Jimmy the tourist guide”. He was very friendly and told us everything about hiking down the coast, where we would stay the first night and where we will be picked up to go back to Port St John’s if we wanted to do a two day hike with him. So we talked to him a couple of minutes and the hike was booked.
At 8 o’clock the next morning Jimmy picked us up at the Backpackers and we started our hike. The first destination was second beach not so far away, but the way took us through his township and he told us everything about the little area directly at the sea, the problems and the political situation the people here have to deal with. So we got a nice impression of the local’s life.The whole first day Jimmy was leading us through beautiful country side along the coast, up and down, jungle trees around us and most of the time on an amazing view of the Indian Ocean. We had to manage solve steep parts but in the end it was no problem. Most of the time he adopted his speed, so it was never a problem to follow him. His knowledge about the fauna and flora was amazing; sometimes he stopped and told us a 5 minutes story about that tree, or this flower and how the locals use it.
After a few hours walking and beautiful beaches passing by we arrived at about 3 o’clock at a little village called Mpande , where we were going to spend the night. It was nice to see that Jimmy knew nearly everybody on the way and had a little small- talk to the people who themselves were lived. On the way we were introduced the Xhosa language and how to greet the people.
Finally we had a nicer impression of the family we stayed, got some coffee and bread in the afternoon and a wonderful dinner. Lying down in our beds, Jimmy told us exciting stories about Xhosa- culture and the way the people live.
Our second and last day started with a hot coffee and some breakfast and a nice smile from the mother’ family. We left at about 9 o’clock with a beautiful view over the whole area with its nice rondavels. The next 4 hours our way took us to a location called Kraal along the lirky Coast never ending excellent beaches over most of the time small paths. Here our journey or hike ended.
Now there was only little way to a close by hospital to catch a taxi back to Port St John, even that was an experience. However, in the end we can say, Jimmy is a competent and relaxed guide we had and who earned our full respect. So if anybody is taken with that countryside, we have to recommend Jimmy, it would be our first choice.
Florian and Rebecca from Italy
How is it? Thank you so much for taking us to the village yesterday it was an experience we won’t forget. We really appreciate that you made a personal tour with us by telling us about your feelings and beliefs about your culture. The church was really impressive too.
People were so friendly to us. It was nice and made us feel very comfortable that all the village people shared their culture and privacy with that and us they were tolerant towards us. We are very grateful for that and won’t forget it. We also wish you all the best and hope you get to marry your girl soon. Keep on with the good work.
Wentzel & Elaine Lombard
Hope you are well! Thank you for the message you sent us. I just had to write to you to tell you how much we enjoyed the hike. We really had a good time. We were very tired for a few days, but after a good rest we were fine.
I printed these photos for you and covered them in plastic so that they don’t get spoiled.
Lawrence is back in Kimberly with the Griquas, very busy exercising in the terrible heat. They are going on a tour to Port Elizabeth next week. Le Riche is back in Stellenbosch and his classes are starting today. Louzel has also gone back to school to start her matric year.
We really look back on as wonderful trip and we think about all the people we met. You must please give our regards to all the people where we stayed. Please give them the photos we took with them.
Thank you again for all the stories you told us- we learned a lot. Keep up the good work and may the Lord bless you and keep you and prosper you. We will be praying for you.
Jeremy Keenan, New York
I am writing to recommend Mbuyie Mangala as a tour guide for the Wild Coast. Mbuyie lead two other American tourists and me from Port St John’s to Coffee Bay in November 2002. He proved to be very knowledgeable guide, both in terms of the route we took and the things we saw along the way. He was obliviously very familiar with the Wild Coast Hiking Trail, and I always felt safe with him. He also knew about much of the flora and fauna of the area, and would tell us about different species as we saw them. He also told us a little about the history of the Pondo and the Xhosa people, as well as the current events that these tribes now face.
Mbuyie was well- known in the village through which we walked, and we met many interesting people along the way, including a shebeen full of men, several gospel choirs during the concert, fishermen, store owners, etc. In addition to his familiarity with the Wild Coast, Mbuyie was also a great traveling companion. He was fun to be around, and our trip was much more enjoyable because of Mbuyie’s likeable personality. I wish him great success in the future.
From the first time we talked on the phone with our guide, Mbuyie, we felt like this guy will be fun to hike with and he is going to help us do more than just see the Coast”. We felt safe and secure with him from the beginning and we learned so much everyday.
We were not sure if 5 days of hiking along the Wild Coast was long. But the variety of the hike – from beautiful (empty!) beaches, to quiet villages in the hills to rain forest walking- kept us curios and excited each day. The character of each individual family and village we stayed with was rich part of each day’s experience.
All the villages and people in them were great. We did have one very luck and special experience, where in one night we were able to spend time at our host family’s traditional ceremony- what a thing! We also visited a traditional sangoma healer. This was one of the most amazing and unforgettable days on our 3 months of South African travels.
If Mbuyie could play football as well as he could tell stories, he would be on the South African national Team for 2010. We never had a dull evening. We traded stories about history of the Transkei to how many ways there are for clever boys to avoid going to school.
Louis, Thys, Giovanni, Wynand
Thank you Mbuyi, We had an absolutely great time. Many more would like to join me on the next hike. Be blessed and prosper.
Just wanted to thank you for an awesome hike! So well organised and really community-orientated. Some of the best scenery in the world and a holiday that makes me super-positive about our lovely South Africa's future!
Andreas - Fanatastic hike with 8 month old baby
Hi Mbuyi, Jimmy and Siyabulella.
We just want to thank you for a fantastic hike we had during the 2nd week of Sept. Me and my wife absolutely enjoyed the hike with our 8 month old girl we carried along. The views of the coastline were overwelmingly beautiful and unspoiled. Our guide Siya did an excellent job in looking after us and making sure all was ok, especially with our little girl. The owners of the VBA huts were very friendly and the welcoming coffee was a real welcome every day! We would recommend this hike to anybody who likes the outdoors!
All the best for the future and your business, South Africa needs more of you people!
Hoi hoi, Via Caroba kwam ik er achter dat ik niet de enigste cattery ben in Graauw. Dus meteen maar even een kijkje genomen op jullie website. De coons zien er super uit! ffaaff Zelf heb ik Britjes smile