Transkei Travel Guide

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Waterfall Bluff

Waterfall Bluff

L. Smith

The Transkei region is a gorgeous region in the Eastern Cape, extending from roughly Durban to East London. Rolling hills, beautiful coast line and picutresque farmlands provide for a delightful drive through this area. Within the Transkei, the Wild Coast offers destinations such as Cintza and Coffee Bay, both popular with the backpacking crowd. Coffee Bay is beautiful (esp Hole in da Wall) and is really safe. The locals are quite friendly and you'll experience unmatched peacefulness.

Travellers should take heed in the Transkei region, however. The high incidence of violent crime has turned this into a notorious area, generally avoided by many South Africans. Umtata, the administrative capital, should be avoided at all costs as this is a violent crime haven. Shootings and armed robbery are frequent. Unfortunately, the N2, the only thoroughfare through the region, leads straight into the heart of Umtata. Plan your trip carefully to avoid driving through the area after sunset, choosing instead to stay in a hotel or backpackers well away from the city. Never take on hitch hikers. Unless you actually see the accident occur, do not offer direct assistance to other vehicles. Contact the police department instead. This may sound cruel, but sensible South Africans know that stopping on the open highway only invites trouble. Ultimately, South Africans in the know will avoid being out and about by themselves and will never, ever be caught outside after about 5 o┬┤clock. Remember, this is Africa.

(Note: I am presently living in Umtata (now Mthatha) and have for the past 12 years. Yes I do agree that this is a violent area, but not nearly as bad as the "picture" painted above (not entered by myself). Crime here is extremely over exagerated, mostly by the media. The media reports a murder, robery, etc that occured over 200km away from Mthatha as having occured in Mthatha.

My advice to any traveller, be cautious, don't be naive, just the same as you would do any where else in South Africa).

Having travelled to many countries  also in Africa and having worked in rural Transkei for over 5 years and still travel in the area,  I would not agree that there is more of a risk here than almost any Tourist area in Africa. A bit of common sense will keep one safe 99% of the time.

The coast is one of the most spectacular regions of the continent and almost all coastal hotels offer reasonable if not 5* accommodation.  The local people are more friendlyand helpful than many other places in South Africa. I would feel a lot safer having a puncture on a gravel road in Transkei than the vast majority of places in the world.

If you are thinking of a holiday on the Transkei coast - do a bit of home work and just go.


April 03, 2006 change by giorgio

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