The area surrounding the Haven Hotel has some of the most dramatic and beautiful coastlines along the Wild Coast, with sandy and rocky beaches, coves, lagoons, cliffs, rock formations in the sea, mangrove swamps as well as coastal grasslands. It provides the ideal environment to stretch your legs and explore the 3900ha Dwesa Reserve and sister 2200ha Cwebe Reserve area by foot.
There are trails to suit the less active guests such as a walk to Shark Island or the Mbashe river mouth to witness a fish eagle in flight. More challenging hikes can be made to the Mbanyana Waterfall / Breezy Point / Mendu Point and Dwesa Point and Xhora River. Lunch packs can be ordered the night before for the longer walks. Walks along the beaches are seldom without many stops to observe the abundant marine life as well as pick shells.
The beaches and bays in the Dwesa Reserve, across the Mbashe River, are some of the most seldom visited beaches on the coast and can be accessed by canoe.
Some of the rivers in both the Dwesa / Cwebe Reserves can be difficult to negotiate after heavy rains and coastal paths are often only accessible at low tide so it is important to plan your trip accordingly. You can refer to the tide tables at the Hotel.
Ensure that you have walking shoes, sufficient sun protection and always carry water – do not drink from Wild Coast Rivers and estuaries without boiling or purifying the water.
The Dwesa / Cwebe Reserves also contain the largest coastal forest south of the northern coast of Kwazulu-Natal. There are numerous trails through the forest. Within the forest many birds can be observed, Zebra, the odd bushbuck/duiker, genets as well as many vervet monkeys.
Take a guided hike with Mr. Vasco Juju. He will show you places of interest; provide information regarding traditional uses and characteristics of indigenous flora and fauna.
Vasco has spent his entire life in the local community and has an in-depth knowledge of this part of the Wild Coast’s history and culture. Guided hikes may vary from a casual 1-hour stroll to a full day.
Mbashe River and Mangoves – 2 Hours Level of difficulty – 1 Distance – 3Km’s. Along the beach to the mighty Mbashe River. At certain times of the year see sharks swimming in the mouth. Walk to the mangrove trees on the riverbank and back to the hotel through the forest.
Shark Island – Mbanyana – 1- 2 hours Difficulty – 1 Distance – 2km’s Take a stroll along the beach in a northerly direction to Shark Island. Walk around the corner to “Shelly bay”. Continue along the beach to the beautiful Mbanyana River estuary. Walk back along the beach of use the road to walk past the lighthouse back to the hotel.
Community Tour – 2-3hours Difficulty 1 Distance – drive 7Km’s & Walk 1Km. Drive from the hotel out of the reserve to Vasco’s homestead. He will give you some insight to the Xhosa culture and lifestyle. Enjoy some tea and amaqebengwane (vetkoek) prepared in authentic Xhosa style.
Mbanyana Falls – 3.5 – 4 hours Difficulty 3 Distance 8km’s. Follow the road or path from the hotel through ancient forests up to the falls. Clamber down to the bottom of the falls and take a swim in the rock pool. A great option when the wind is blowing or the sun is beating down as the forest is well protected.
Mbashee River Canoe Trail – 2-4 hours Difficulty – dependent on canoeing skills. This outing is not advised when the river is in full flow. Walk or drive to the Mbashe River. Launch the canoes and paddle as far up the river as time and energy will allow. See the abundant bird life and catch a glimpse of the Bashee Clivia on the banks of the river. It is recommended that you time your outing to coincide with the incoming tide.
Breezy Point – 4-5 hours Difficulty – 2 Distance 9km’s Walk from the hotel onto the beach and head north. Pass Shark Island, Shelly bay, Mbanyana estuary, along beaches, bays and rocky shorelines to the northern border of the Reserve. Observe the quaint cottages at Breezy. With a little luck you will see dolphins surfing the waves and whales frolicking in the sea.
Mendu Point – 4/5 hours Difficulty – 2 Distance 8km’s. Drive or walk to the Mbashe River, canoe across into the Dwesa Reserve and walk along the beach to Mendu point. See the whale bones and remains of the shipwreck at the point. Enjoy the many rock pools and the marine life. Take a lunch pack to enable you to enjoy the environment at your leisure. The wind blasted rocks are worth seeing. Alan Fogherty a tour guide/operator and regular visitor to the Wild Coast came across then while hiking and did some investigating.
Quote ..Alan Fogerty
“I sent photographs (see left) to the renowned geologist Professor Izak Rust to see if he could, cast light on their origins. I quote from his reply to my mail.
“Not glacial striae on a glacial pavement but sandblasted ventifact facets cut on Karoo dolerite. Really, really superb examples! By far the best I have seen in a long time and almost certainly the best in South Africa. They are just as good as the best I have seen in the Namib and in Antarctica”. These ventifacts are absolutely superb examples. World-class, in fact. In fact, it may be useful to write a short report in the Geological Society GEOBULLETIN.” which he offered to help me write.
It’s easy to get lost wandering around these beautiful rocks and thankfully the rough boneshaker roads are the guardians of these last bastions of paradise.”
Xhora Mouth – From Breezy Point – 6-7 hours Difficulty -3 Distance 18km’s You will need to take a lunch pack and sufficient water. Drive to Breezy point along the beach. See a large stretch of the pristine coastline littered with shells. Explore the boat wreck. The local boatman will row you across the Xhora River. Return to Breezy along the beach.
Hobeni – German Xhosas’ – 3-4 hours Level of difficulty – 2 Drive 11km (out the gate) and walk 3kmDrive to our Chiefs Homestead at Hobeni and walk to “Ikhaya Loxolo” . See the resident German’s community project for the mentally and physically challenged. Relax with a cup of tea and amaqebengwane (vetkoek). Get an insight into the fantastic work that Alex and Michael are doing for the local community.