Mkambati

Right near the Mtentu River / Xolobeni

Contact

Reservations:
Tel: 043 7019600
Fax: 043-742 5566

Reservations Contact Number: 043 7019600

Reservations Fax: 086 6111623

E-mail:
reservations@ecpta.co.za

or natasha.kleinhans@ecpta.co.za

Or

Eastern Cape Tourism Board
Umtata Booking Office
Tel: (047) 5315290
Fax: (047)5315291

Visitors to the Wild Coast will find the scenic Mkambati Nature Reserve one of the highlights of their trip. Situated close to the KwaZulu-Natal border, the reserve's coastline stretches along 10km of rugged, rocky beaches, offering visitors a glimpse of unspoilt nature. Other scenic features include forested ravines, a swamp forest and splashing waterfalls.

Attractions

This 8 000 ha coastal reserve consists mostly of open grassland dissected by perenial streams and flanked by the magnificent forested ravines of the Msikaba and Mtentu rivers. Grasslands cover a large portion of the reserve and support a fascinating and diverse flora. Large numbers of grazing herbivores such as Eland, Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Blesbuck and even Gemsbok, have been introduced into the grasslands, although only the first two species are indigenous to the area.

Among the birds which may be seen in this habitat are Redshouldered Widow, Yellowthroated Longclaw, Common Waxbill and Croaking Cisticola, with Gurney's Sugarbird and Greater Double Collared Sunbird seeking nectar from the flowering strelitzias. Of the many streams running through the reserve, the Mkambati is perhaps the most beautiful with its crystal clear pools and series of spectacular waterfalls. The Horseshoe Falls are most impressive as they drop down over the terrace in a wide arc, the stream then tumbling over another waterfall before dropping several metres into the ocean.

Breathtaking views of the Msikaba gorge can be obtained by walking through the grassland above the river. At a bend in the gorge, a natural amphitheatre of towering evergreen forest is inhabited by a spectacular variety of birds including Trumpeter Hornbill, Rameron Pigeon and many more.

Visitors wishing to acquaint themselves with this mysterious river can engage in a 2km canoe trip upstream. Along the way they may be rewarded by sights of the feathery-leaved Mkambati palm, the African fish eagle or the crowned eagle. Birdlife in the reserve is prolific.

Apart from canoeing and fishing, there is a variety of trails, one of the most popular being the walk along the Mkambati River to the breathtaking Horseshoe Falls which plunge into the sea far below.

Of historical importance (and tourist interest) are two famous shipwrecks, namely the Sao Bento(1554)- near the mouth of the Msikaba River - and the Grosvenor (1782) lying in Lambasi Bay.

Services

- Nature reserve
- Bird watching
- Game viewing
- Self-guided walks
- Hiking
- Fishing
- Swimming
- Horse riding
- Canoeing

How to get there

The Mkambati Nature Reserve is situated on the coast of north-east Pondoland in the Eastern Cape.

From Umtata travel along the N2 from Umtata to Brooks Nek (approximately 162km). From Kokstad follow the N2 southwards towards Port Edward for 7 km to Brooks Nek

Continue for another 7km, then turn left towards Bizana. After about 36km turn right at Magusheni onto the R61 to Flagstaff. A few kilometres before Flagstaff, look out for a signpost to Mkambati. This gravel road will take you past the Holy Cross hospital to the reserve??s entrance gate.

Accommodation

Combine the tranquility of a nature reserve with the natural beauty of the Wild Coast beaches. The reserve offers accommodation in cottages, rondavels and 2 lodges.

The Mkambati Game Lodge has 5 en-suite double rooms, a swimming pool and a magnificent sea view. The balance of the accommodation is more rustic, some on the beach, some 4km inland. The lodge can be contacted at Tel: +27 (0)39 727 3124 or Fax: +27 (0)39 727 3939 for further information.

Other accomodation centres scattered around the reserve are all self-catering: Gwegwe has several rondavels, each with en-suite and kitchen facilities; Point Cottage is right on the beach, sleeps around 8 persons and is ideal for a large family or a group of friends, and the Lagoon lodge can sleep parties of up to 20 persons. Booking can be made through KevalTravel on Tel: +27 (0)39 306 9000.

-----
The Mkhambati Nature Reserve has lots to offer the nature tourist. Its long coastline makes for a wide choice of hikes.The large wilderness area can only be traversed on foot. You can self-drive during the day and night to watch the ample game that are featured in the reserve. Fisherman can enjoy fishing at official estuaries.

For larger groups, the Gwe Gwe River Lodge (20 persons) and the Main Lodge (10 persons) offers fantastic settings that one cannot help but enjoy, while smaller groups can find accommodation in the Gwe Gwe Rondavels (2 persons), Point Cottage (4 persons) and the cottages near the reception area.

The reserve is situated on the coast of north-eastern Pondoland, in the Eastern Cape. It lies between Port Edward (30 km to the north east) and Port St Johns (59 km to the south west).

It is a 7720-ha coastal reserve with open grasslands, dotted with indigenous forest patches and swamp forests, flanked by the magnificent forested ravines of the Msikaba and Mtentu rivers. Grasslands cover a large portion of the reserve and support a fascinating and diverse flora.

Large numbers of grazing herbivores such as Eland and Red Hartebeest have been introduced into the grasslands.

Among the birds which may be seen in this habitat are the Redshouldered Window, Yellow throated Longclaw, Common Waxbill, Croaking Cisticola, Orange Throated Long-Claw, Ground Hornbill with Gurneys Sugarbird and the Greater Double Collared Sunbird, seeking nectar from the flowering strelitzias.

Of the many rivers running through the reserve, the Mkhambathi is perhaps the most beautiful with its crystal clear pools and series of spectacular waterfalls. The Horseshoe Falls are incredibly impressive as they plunge over the terrace in a wide arc. Further down, the river tumbles over the Strandloper and Mkhambathi Falls before dropping several metres into the ocean.

Visitors to the Eastern Cape will find the scenic Mkhambathi Nature Reserve one of the highlights of their trips.
Climate

The climate at Mkhambathi is mild sub-tropical with a relatively high humidity. The warm Agulhas current provides for minimal differences between minimum and maximum daily temperatures.

Most of the rain falls falling during spring and summer (September to February). On average June is the driest month, and March is the wettest. Strong winds can occur , blowing parallel to the coast. These winds impact significantly on coastal vegetation and on marine recreational activities.

Comments

Hi, As a regular visitor during the 90's and early 2000's could you please confirm where one can fish at Mkambati. It appears that fishing restrictions have been imposed of various areas which were previously unrestricted.

Regards

Ross

No fishing is allowed between the eastern bank of the mouth of the Mtentu River and the western bank of the mouth of the Msikaba River, including the tidal portions of the two rivers.

Hi

My family has been going to mkambati for almost 25 years.There is no place like this. We go every year for 3 weeks and every year it feels like we have been on holiday for 2months. Its the most relaxing and entertaining holiday.I have been going with my parents for many years, i remember all the hoidays as if it was yesterday and growing up as a child most of my friends use to think i was stupid to think that going on holiday where you have to take everything with you was so not a hoilday for a child, they use to say a holiday is a place where you need to go movies ,shop and sit on the beach with loads of people breathing down your neck, i dont think so,Waking up in your small neat and practically rondovel every day with the sea at your door step and the peacefulness of you and your family enjoying the out door life can never be replaced by any other holiday. I met my husband at gwe gwe in 2002 and then years later i got engaged on a very special rock over looking the stunning veiws of gwe gwe and in 2007 we spent so time at gwe gwe on honeymoon to. So for me and my husband it really is a special place to go every year. Next year we will be taking our first child on holiday with us and new memories will be added to our family holiday that is made up of lots of fishing cooking, birthdays and games. If i had one wish ,my husband and i would love to run and maintain the up keeping of gwe gwe and mkambati.

Is fishing allowed in the Msikaba river ? Can you use motorized boats on the Msikaba river ?

No fishing is allowed between the eastern bank of the Mtentu river, and the western bank of the Msikaba river, including the tidal portions of these 2 rivers.

So that means no fishing in the Msikaba.

I don't know about motorboats in MPAs, but seems unlikely. Check www.fishingec.com - they may be able to answer that.

On reading the posts, am I correct in assuming that effectively there is no fishing in Mkambati anymore. Very sad, as I grew up on those rocks with a rod in my hand, and was hoping to allow the same for my kids one day!!

Sadly, that is correct. Just a couple of weeks ago some local tribes people at Dwesa were fined for subsistence level catches.

I spent many years as a young boy growing up on the Pondoland coast , From Mtanvuna in the east to Coffee bay in the west .
We lived in Kokstad and often went to places like Mkambati , Msikaba & Luplatana which Because of the roads or should I say the non existence of a road , only a grass track to follow sometimes in the dark would take us about 8 hours if u did not want to break your bakkie's shocks . It was all part of the holiday. One had to make sure that you brought all your stuff , If you left the paraffin behind , you would be in deep ........
For us kids on the back of the bakkie , you would have swallowed a couple of Kg's of dust. When you got there , you really appreciated your holiday.
The other things that make me excited about being in the bush are :
No Cell phone coverage , No Electricity , no crowds , you got to appreciate your luxuries at home , You want to bath , well go and make the fire under the drum outside and in a couple of hours , you had some hot water .
Lighting was mainly Colman Lamps or gas lamps , so It was early to bed , early to rise ,

This is my life , If I could take early retirement , this would be my home , just rough as it is .

I would like to write a book one day , any one interested in doing the same

I am quite a regular visitor for the last few years and you are allowed to fish at Mkambati. Approx. 1km either side of gwe-gwe and south of point cottage from black rocks along the beach to msikaba river can be fished, there are designated posts/pillars erected at these points.

Sorry to be pedantic, but the MPA (Marine Protected Area) is from the west bank of the Mtentu river to the east bank of the Msikaba.

Effectively, there is NO fishing allowed in the Mkambati reserve; but one can travel the short'ish distance across the Msikaba or Mtentu rivers and fish freely.

Hi Jeff

Who are you , Who do you work for ?

The info you have is incorrect . I have been going to Gwe Gwe for 30 years including last year . This area is outside the demarcated zone as the white markers advise.
Suggest you update yourself with current info
given by the Parks Officer at Mkambati

Regards

Jono Mundell

No it is not incorrect.

No recreational or subsistence fishery activity is allowed within MPA's.

What the EC Parks officer at Mkambati let you get away with and what is nationally legislated are evidently 2 different things. It is possible that they have a special exemption from the DG of MCM (I'll check in the morning. But I seriously doubt it.)

From my experience, EC Parks are a law unto themselves, anyway. But usually not in a good way!

FYI:

Govt Gazette No. 21948 (29 December 2000)

(9)
The Mkambati Marine Protected Area in the Eastern Cape Provinceis the area between the high-water mark and a line $ix nautical miles seawards of the high-water mark, and between, as northern boundary, a straight line (135* true bearing) drawn from the northern bank of the mouth of the Mtentu River, and, as southern boundary a similar line drawn from the southern bank of the mouth of the Msikaba River including the tidal portions of these two rivers.

Incidentally, I do acknowledge that you're also correct that there are beacons indicating controlled fishing zones. However those are contrary to the MPA regulations, and the INTEGRATED RESERVE MANAGEMENT PLAN for Mkambati indicates that they intend to remove the beacon below Point Cottage.

See page 32:
http://www.ecparks.co.za/management-plans/Mkambati%20M%20Plan_Draft_LJ.pdf

Not sure when that will happen, as the document is not dated; but do also be aware that EC Parks are not the authority in this regard. In recent months MCM compliance were fining subsistence fishers at DWESA for fishery activity in an MPA.

As far as I can tell it is still illegal to fish in MPA's; but while the parks officials allow it at Mkambati, I say go for it and enjoy. And good luck!

Sadly, I believe SA is over-regulated in many areas, and some laws are way too draconian.

(I am not affiliated to any of these concerns, and speak in my own capacity as a nature lover with a limited grasp of some of the complexities.)

It seems that there is lots of confusion regarding fishing at Mkhambati Gwe-Gwe rondavels. Is fishing allowed and if so could you please provide a map with the fishing areas in the Mkhambati reserve.

Hi there, we want to visit you guys, do you have camping available? If yes what is the tariff?

If not we need self catering for 4 adults and 2 baby's under 3 year of age.

Regards

Frans

As far as I know.

Please telephone or mail the contact at the top of this page for clarity.

Morning Jeff

I can confirm , camping is not allowed at Mkambati

You can camp at Msikaba , accross the river from Mkambati

All the Best

Jono Mundell

Hi,
Would I need to rent a 4x4 to visit in late March? Or would a high clearance 2x4 get the job done?
Thanks!
Michelle

Hi , When i was last there {June 2010} a 2 x 4 was ok

Advice : Take it slow in the reserve

Hi folks,
My Dad (Tiny) and Mom (Glynis) managed Mkambati in the mid/late 80's. Unfortunately, both have passed, and I'm in the UK, but I still love reading about all the news. So glad that TEM has been halted, for now.

Mkambati still has fond memories for me, spending school holidays there. Can you imagine! I really hope that it's not becoming too commercialised? Its exclusivity is the biggest attraction. Jono, you seem to know the reserve rather well. Maybe we'll meet someday?

Regards to all at my 'Heaven on Earth' - Mkambati

Paul Lewis

P.S. Is Christine, the chef at the Lodge, still there?

Paul , sorry I have taken so long to reply ..... Most of my family come out of various places in the Transkei , My Grandpa & my dad had fingers in many pies , mainly the Bakery in Lusikisiki & Kokstad , and a clothing business in Kokstad called RR mundell's ... As kids we spent most holidays at Mkambati , Msikaba , Luplatana , Port St Johns to name a few ..... I battle with all names , suppose you would know the Moffat's

I hope to build a website on my life in the good old transkei , many stories & many beers

I was last there in June 2010 . Normaly we are a group of +- 5 couples , we have been going there every year for a month at a time for +- 20 years ... staying at Gwe Gwe . In the old days the railway bus used to come to Mkambati , driver would sleep over at Gwe Gwe , my dad & his mates hike a lift with the bus driver , spend a few days & go back with the bus to kokstad

Anyway , I have plenty photos , , send me your email address & I will forward a few

Yeah , when you come out to sa , give me a call .... Will send you my contact details when I receive your email

My email address = stajo@polka.co.za

Dear Michelle,

We plan to travel to Mkambati this January, but we will be going with my 2x4 VW Polo... How is the access road to Mkambati? Do you think we will be okay with my car?

Your advise will be greatly appreciated!

Celeste

Hi Celeste

Did you say BY CAR .......... ?

This road is not ideal for a car ...... U might make it going VERY SLOW .... but the road in the reserve is worse .

I would not recomend a car at all ,,,, My friend was their in Sept ..... but who knows maybe they graded the road

All the best

Jono Mundell
079 879 5544

The directions given above up to Flagstaff indicate that after the turnoff to Holy Cross Hospital the road is gravel i would like to confirm that the road is now surfaced up to Mtontsasa Police Station which is a distance of about 30km from R61.

My last trip to the area was on 25 December 2011.

Thanks for the information!

You were there in December... How was the road condition of the gravel portion from Mtontsasa Police Station to Mkambati reserve? Would a slow driving 2x4 manage?

to Celeste and Kim

I am from Holy Cross but reside in DBN. In recent months I have travelled there in a sedan. I haven't ventured beyond the police station and not to familiar with the remaining +- 30km to Mkambathi. I am excited to see all the comments and interest in this countryside and hope that you can give positive/constructive feedback on your return.

I'm sorry I couldn't be of assistance and hope that the EC Tourism contacts will be able to assist both queries.

Hi all. We spend an awesome 2 weeks there from 2 Jan 2012. Rains have washed the roads in the reserve a lot and some of the pools and corrosion are deep now. I suggest nothing less than a 2x4. Definiely not suitale for a sedan unless you want to carry all you own for the last 2km. The road is tarred to the Police station beyond Holy Cross. The road is "OK" from there to the Makabathi gate. But watch out, now and again a few deeper gullies across the road need one to slow down. On the whole the road is fine though. Rondavels now have Gas powered fridge and freezers, and each have their own gas stove and gas showers :) The communal kitchen apparently burned down in 2011 and has been rebuilt but is locked and empty. Not much successful fishing was had by all during the 2 weeks in Jan. Enjoy

Thanks to all the advice from you all.

We took the plunge and went to Mkambati Gwe Gwe Rondavels with my 2x4 VW Polo 1.9TDi. The gravel road from Holy Cross to Mkambati gate is okay. From the gate to Gwe Gwe is some 5 to 7 km for which you preferably need a car with better ground clearance! :) But we made it. You have to drive really slowly (it took us almost 2hrs from the gate to the rondavels) and must choose your line carefully at the rocky portions of the road to avoid leaving bits of car behind...

But it was completely worth it. The place is beautiful! I hope to be back soon...with or without a 4WD.

Hi all
I am very excited to hear that despite the poor conditions of the roads we are still getting your support for this almost forgotten countryside. The poverty, literacy and unemployment levels are very high and I hope that my community will benefit from your contributions. I was also in the area last week and it is an absolute pleasure to see the interest levels I noticed a convoy of bikers while there.

This region is also rich in history and hosts an annual event in commemmoration of Pondo people who were massacred at Ngquza Hill otherwise known as the Pondo Revolt. This event is on June 6 and it would be nice to have you in attendance.

I hope to hear from all of you soon, and I guess the budget for the gravel roads will eventually be made available so that we can all get there easier.

Hi, I love this part of the world and am actually in Mbotyi now. First tried to get a booking for Mkmbati through ECParks and was told the Lodge is sitting empty due to privatisation. How many lodges are there? I asked for a lodge an old local friend of mine gave me the name of, I think Mtentu, as we have v young kids so at this stage of our lives I would like access to food and a hideaway from wind. May just have to toughen up a bit. Will get there soon hopefully...with al our own food :-D

Hi guys. What an interesting forum. I have been struggling to find info on walking in the transkei. I have phoned a few places & they efficiently give me more & more numbers to call.

We are hoping to head down to Port St Johns this week & walk either South or North for 3 or 4 days (depending on which way offers easier accommodation options & I seem to think South would be better).

Can anyone offer any suggestions.

Thanks so much

Hi Tracey

Many years ago I hiked much of this coast.
I recall we Hiked from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay. Another was Cofee Bay to the Haven (Bashee). and another was from the Lusikisiki area to Port St Johns.

These were hikes we did where sometmes we stayed in tents we carried with us, and sometimes there were hiking huts. It was so long ago (in the late 80's) that I cant recall more than that and a few photos. All the stretches mentioned above were 4 - 5 day hikes.

They were planned and we had route maps back then.

I would suggest you call Eastcape Tourism (Natasha is very helpful) and I am sure they can set you right.

Rgds
Quentin

Hi We ended up staying at Mboyti, as we have very young children and decided we wanted food laid on. It was fabulous!!! My in laws have hiked the whole coast and I believe Mboyti is one of the stops for a night if you want catered - give Mboyti a call, as they know all the ins and outs of the hiking and were exceptionally helpful! Drifters have a few other self catering tented camps in the area if thats what you would prefer.

hey there! i've been googling the nature reserve for about a year now, seeing all the attractions gave me an interest in knowing more about you but cant get enough info on the net. i would love to get hold of you guys by telephone or e mail. PLEASE SEND THE TO ME ON THE E MAIL ADDRESS ABOVE OR PROBABLY DROP ME AN SMS. i really wanna come around in june holidays. Regards Norma, Mana

ohh my e mail address is s210027746@live.nmmu.ac,za and my cell non is 078 341 7080,Norma

I am from the bizana area but living in PMBurg at the moment..I am interested in birdlife that exists in the Mkambati area and surroundings...if anyone knows the best areas to go to for birding and who to contact for information please let me know...I want to visit the area during the end of june this year- hopefully the weather will be kind to us...info contact me on lumko92@gmail.com

Hi there.

a group of us want to hike from Mkmbati to port st johns this dec 2012.

We dont want to go on any packaged tours,just do it on our own.Is this possible?

Any info and help would be great thanks

Hi marco

As far as I know, it is possible to hike all the way from Port Edward to Port St Johns, without having to be on a guided hike...just make sure you are equipt to cross the estauaries at high tides-thats if you will be going along the coast...should be great fun tho..2njoy

Hi Max

thanks for the info.

aside from the Mkambati park fees, are there any another fees we need to pay along the trail?

we will be trekking inland to cross some gorges and visit some villages.

would we be trespassing on any land or upsetting any people if we do this?

the trail looks amazing we cant wait!

Hi All, I am looking for an alternative way to get to Mkambati than by road. I know that there is a trail that one can follow, but as we are pcked for a week it would be difficult. Does anyone know somebody with a boat or horse? Any tips welcome - it would be around the 27/28th Dec 2012.

Hi.

Please could someone confirm whether the lodge is in fact closed. If so, then could anyone advise me on a suitable and alternative getaway? I am looking for a remote getaway to take my family.

Cheers
Warren

We are visiting Mkambati at the Gwe Gwe Rondavels the first week in March. Please can someone confirm that they supply sheets and towells. I know we have to take crockery and cutlery as well as water but would like to know what else is supplied. Please can someone also let us know the condition of the road the one vehicle is a Toyota Avanza - will it make it?

Hi
They do supply linen and towels. There is a gas freezer and I think that was about it. This was when we were there Jan 2012 a year ago.

It was great, if you are lucky enough to go/ get a booking. We tried to get in again and it was full for a long time ahead.

As to the road condition, we got there easily in a Hilux Double cab 4x4, but in reality you just need some good ground clearance - more than a sedan unless they improved the last few km in the reserve for the rest the road is easily traversable in any car. Its the last 2 -3 km you have to take very slow. but luckily when you get there you dont need to drive around :)

Rgds
Enjoy

thought I would add some feedback here, since it was useful in planning our trip to gwe gwe. in general it was spectacular, but it is a real africa type experience...things will work, they will make a plan.sometime!

We went for four days in late september 2012. booking was very haphazard, got lost a few times and eventually we had to make do with 2nights in gwe gwe rondavels, hike to mtentu for a night, hike back for 4th night at a different rondavel. This was ok, since we actually wanted to do something like this, but suggest you get bookings confirmed paid and finalised as soon as you can.

Four days before we got there(when we were about to leave), got a phonecall to say that our rondavel for nights 1 and 2 had burnt down. I think it was rondavel #5. We got moved to the gwe gwe river lodge instead, which was a bit spacious for just the two of us(20 sleeper fishing style self catering place). We were happy with this, but lucky that it was available during school holidays.

In terms of access, I don't think your avanza would have made it then. We sukkeled in some donga sections with a 4wd landrover freelander. they were however very busy with roadworks in sections closer to the park offices. sheets were provided.

Thanks for the replies but does Gwe Gwe have pots and pans and any cooking facilities? Please let us know as well as the condition of the road. Thanks

Hi Can any body PLS help with the number fore reservations at Mkhambati

Hi Le Roux

you can call mkhambati admin at 0393069000 they going to give u th number for East London where they do bookings.
hop nobody booked for the date you want.
all the best!!!

very interested in the nature reserve loging

Hi,

We recently booked at Mkambathi Riverside Lodge for my dads 60th Birthday and too excited for words to go, as the last time we were there was 14 years ago.

Please can anyone tell me what the roads are like inside the reserve as with the booking we got a letter saying that the roads will be done by February 2013 which has already passed. Please assist.

Thanks
Ron

I was there about twelve years ago, wow, its a piece of paradise, unspoilt, fishing paradise, basic accommodation, but totaly good. dont go there if you like shopping malls and luxuries, it is more for the nature lover, that like walking in the veld, and obviously for the guys that enjoy fishing.
We stayed at Gwegwe, fished from the rocks in the front, swam on our own beach, fished at the waterfall, eish, what a place, I cant believe iIhave never been back.
Regards
Barry

Many years ago, our family visited Mkambat every Dec school holidays. I would like to know if anyone still has contact with old staff members that used to work at the Leprosy Hospital. I can remember the Austin family and Wessel van Dyk, his wife Carol and their son Marius.
The time span was from about 1966 to about 1972.
We stayed at the cottage above the very old hospital ruins on the banks of a lagoon north of the Hospital.
I am happy to see that nature conservation is a valued and would love to visit the area again to rekindle the good memories.
Ansie (Botha) Juul

Hi Ansie,

The reserve is running and still looking as pristine as it was, however the management has changed and it would be rather difficult to find contact details of old staff. All in all it is worth visiting again, maybe you would find out more information from the 'older staff', as I only recently discovered the beauty of Mkambathi Nature Reserve
Sorry for the late reply.

Thanks
Max

Hi Max
Yes, it is a beautiful place! Over 40 years on, and the memories are as strong as if it was yesterday. I heard the call of the HoopHoop at sunrise last week, and it took me right back to Mkambati! I know there are many who will not like it there, but that is what attracts me to the place, I can leave the hairdryer and all the other home comforts behind and just blend in with nature!
Thanks for the update, and I will love to visit Mkambati again!
Kindest Regards
Ansie

Hi There...

We will be traveling along the Wild Cost next week, Direction from Port Edward towards Port St. John. We'll be over-landing in a 4x4 Jeep and plan to take the path less travelled and enjoy the scenery of the coastline for as far as possible. From the Tracks 4 Africa maps, Mkambati is on the coast, a long way from the road which runs far inland. We would love to visit Mkambati, but only if it's possible to cross the Msikaba river by 4x4 Vehicle, if not, the detour from the inland road, to Mkambati and back inland to continue South will be a bit out of the way. Is it possible to cross the river from Mkambati?

Kind regards,
Brenden

All right, the most interesting part is that I am actually into those other scenic features that include forested ravines, a swamp forest and splashing waterfalls. I would like to see more details about those features. Thanks a lot for the brief idea.

Hi there.
We've been visiting Mkambati regularly in the past 5 years. On trying to make a reservation for next year, we were informed that Gwe Gwe and Riverside "is not available" with no explanation as to why not. The main lodge and other accommodation at the old main reception is however again 'available'. On a previous visit in 2013, these facilities were run-down.

Anybody have an idea of what's going on at Mkambati at the moment?
Thanks
Kobus

Hi to everybody, i visited mkhambati on the weekend of 14,15,16 March 2014. We were 8 in our group. Gwegwe rondavels were fully booked so i settled for the main lodge (with the swimming pool and 5 ensuited bedrooms). Never regretted it in the least. It was well appointed, Well looked aftered, well equipped and overall just fantastic. The only issue that we had was that because of the heavy rains which they had prior to our going there, the tap water was a little discoloured and of the 4 bathrooms we had, the water pressure of 2 showers(not the basins and bath tubs) was too low rendering them unusable , and yes of course the swimming pool water was very heavily discoloured.
Of the issues that I have cited, 2 were beyond the control of the maintenance staff whilst the 3rd (water pressure in shower) was overlooked since we had 2 other showers available.
I must admit that the staff did try there level best to address the water pressure and swimming pool issues.
If anyone intends booking this lodge and using the swimming pool, then it would be wiser to make it known to them in advance(maybe a week before check-in), giving them sufficient time to clean the pool and have it ready for using.
As far as Gwegwe rondavels are concerned, I was told by a senior long standing staff member of theirs that... as of May 2014,the rondavels will be maintained, managed and run by a private company called Safari Adventures. All bookings for the rondavels, I was told, will be handled by them... So i guess we gotta say goodbye to the low rates that we were enjoying all these years.
This probably explains the upgrading of the roads(from gravel to concreted tracks) from the main office to Gwegwe rondavels.
I was also told that the running, maintenance and bookings for the main lodge and 20 sleeper river lodge will still be in the hands of the parks board.
As far as the type of vehicle that's required there is concerned, a 4x4 is the number 1 and best option, however at present(whilst we were there in march) high clearance vehicle is definitely a must for use inside the reserve.
On a personal note... We went in 2vehicles...a vw polo cross and a touareg 4x4...we parked the polo at the main admin office for the weekend, and used the 4x4 in the reserve.
However if one does not have a high clearance vehicle or a 4x 4, and feels that they can do without a vehicle in the reserve, then an option would be to park their low clearance vehicle at the main admin office and request the parks board staff to transport you and your belongings to your accommodation(which they were gladly willing to do for my son in his vw polo).
I really do hope that this input/comments, although lengthy, is useful.

Hi, thanks for your report, very useful. Google Maps suggests the route from St Johns to Mkambati via Lusikisiki, cutting out Flagstaff, which route did you take from the R61 and what was it like? Thanks Don

Hi DON, PLEASE forgive me for the late reply... I travelled to mkambati coming from the south coast of kzn, hence the route which I used was different to the one that Google has suggested to you, and was as follows : I drove on the N2 south bound from Durban to Port Edward... From Port Edward I drove via Bizana towards Flagstaff. Approximately 1km before Flagstaff is a turn towards Holycross Mission Hospital (from this turn, which is 1km before Flagstaff, to hollycross it's approximately 40km). From here (Holycross) there are sign boards indicating the way to mkambati... From Holycross to the mkambati main gate is approximately 35km...the road surface and condition to Port Edward is very good... From Port Edward to Flagstaff is pretty much potholed... From the turn before Flagstaff to Holycross is terrific... And from Hollycross to the main gate, although it's only 35km, it can take anything from 45 minutes to 1 and a half hours depending on the vehicle you are travelling in.
I once again apologise for the late reply.
With kind regards.

Hi DON, PLEASE forgive me for the late reply... I travelled to mkambati coming from the south coast of kzn, hence the route which I used was different to the one that Google has suggested to you, and was as follows : I drove on the N2 south bound from Durban to Port Edward... From Port Edward I drove via Bizana towards Flagstaff. Approximately 1km before Flagstaff is a turn towards Holycross Mission Hospital (from this turn, which is 1km before Flagstaff, to hollycross it's approximately 40km). From here (Holycross) there are sign boards indicating the way to mkambati... From Holycross to the mkambati main gate is approximately 35km...the road surface and condition to Port Edward is very good... From Port Edward to Flagstaff is pretty much potholed... From the turn before Flagstaff to Holycross is terrific... And from Hollycross to the main gate, although it's only 35km, it can take anything from 45 minutes to 1 and a half hours depending on the vehicle you are travelling in.
I once again apologise for the late reply.
With kind regards.

We have visited there for so many years now. when I phoned to make a booking I was told the place was going to be demolished, and they didnt know who the new owners where.
this is so sad , as these were the best holidays we have had with out family.
wish i could get more info

Hi Jono My Grandparents traded in Lusikisiki and I went to school there in 1947, we had a beach cottage at Lupatana. I would like to go there again, Please advise will I be able to get there in my 1400 Nissan bakkie? and where would the nearest self catering cottage to Lupatana be (near to sea)