6-day hiking trail from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay hopes to spike tourism and job creation

2018-09-26 10:30 - Marisa Crous
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Coffee Bay. (PHOTO: iStock)

What's better than a 5-day hiking trail stretching across the lush and unspoiled landscape that runs along the coastline of the former Transkei homeland? An upper thigh workout in the form of a 6-day trail from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay. 

READ: From Addo to the Wild Coast: SA’s top wildlife experiences to add to your Eastern Cape itinerary 

Road trip your way up or down to Port St Johns with friends or family and experience breathtaking beaches, grassy hills dotted with huts and fresh air at its very finest as you trek your way through a region of South Africa that's simply like no other. 

The Department of Tourism's Derek Hanekom, the Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development, Environment Affairs and Tourism recently engaged with the communities around Mngazana Village, Eastern Cape to discuss the tourism benefits of the 64km Six Day Hiking Trail, which is currently in development. 

READ: Wild Coast: The ultimate 5-day hiking guide 

“The hiking trail from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay can create much opportunity. Our challenge is to make this a blow-away hiking trail. We want people from the across the world to hike this trail as it is unique, linking physically beauty with a cultural experience,” said Minister Hanekom. 

According to The Department of Tourism, this estimated R20 million project's construction commenced on January 2016 already, with Phase 1 and included the upgrading of the hiking trail through erosion control and enhancement of the trail; construction of ablution blocks; recreational facilities including benches and park bins; clearing of alien vegetation; building of nine hiking huts and provision of furniture. 

“The big magnet is the physical beauty of this area and the environment who will attract many tourists. We need to look after that environment.”

“We need to make certain as tourism grows that people benefit and are always there to welcome the tourists. It is about the environment and people. Without people and the participation of the people, the environment will not be protected. If the environment is well protected, there will be more tourists, more jobs and more opportunities.” 

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“Big tourist attraction creates jobs and put food on the table for many people. Tourism is not only for some big hotels, but it is about the people and the benefits must go to the people,” concluded the Minister.

Phase 1 of this project employed 104 people from 2016 to 2017 from Mpande, Hluleka, Mgazana and Port St Johns. The Minister is in the Eastern Cape to host World Tourism Day on 27 September 2018 at Luchaba Nature Resort in Mthatha. 

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