This area, 85 kilometres northeast of East London, has been a beloved beach holiday spot for decades and Morgan Bay is well-known for its family-friendly accommodation, with luxury, budget and mid-range self-catering, bed-and-breakfast, hotel, caravan and camping options.
Although the Wild Coast roads inspire shivers, the newly tarred road to Kei Mouth (10 minutes away) leaves only seven kilometres of gravel road to travel.
For centuries, it was the Wild Coast’s crashing waves that inspired shivers. In the 16th century, a Portuguese ship, the Santo Espirito, was wrecked along this coastline. Bead Beach is so named because carnelian beads and fragments of Ming porcelain still wash up there.
With the Double Mouth and the Cape Morgan Nature Reserves nearby, this area abounds with natural beauty. Because five different biomes meet in this area, birding is rewarding, with more than 270 species recorded.
The dolerite cliffs extending for kilometres along the beach to Double Mouth offer the only established sea-cliff climbing in South Africa, of excellent quality because of the many vertical cracks and rough texture. The cliffs are great for hikers and a perfect place to watch dolphins, whales and sunsets.
Xhosa women sell beads and other crafts under the trees near the lagoon, which is pretty and fun for kids to splash about in. South of Morgan’s Bay lies Haga Haga and the Cape Henderson Nature Reserve, where hikers can visit a remote Xhosa village or explore the forest, swamp and dam trails.
Surfing, 4x4 trips, fly- and deep-sea fishing, canoe trails, mountain-biking and dune-boarding are also popular, or you can simply enjoy being immersed in the relaxed, friendly vibe and rhythms of the sea.
Look out for
Cape Morgan Nature Reserve borders Morgan’s Bay. It takes its name from its Lighthouse (built in 1964), three kilometres west of the Great Kei River mouth and easily reachable on foot or by car.
Double Mouth Nature Reserve - Where the Quko River and Condwane Rivers converge, five kilometres west of Morgan’s Bay. A lagoon offers calm swimming and boating and the estuary supports exceptional bird life. A fossil bed preserves a segment of the ribs of a small reptile.
Horse trails –Exhilarating one- to 12-day rides around Morgan’s Bay and Kei Mouth, along pristine beaches and bays, rolling hills, indigenous forests, past waterfalls and rural villages.
Morgan Bay Hotel is a friendly family hotel. At Christmas, it features children’s pageants and castle competitions, festive dinners, dancing and fireworks.
Yellowwood Forest Campsite – is on the Inchara River’s banks, one kilometre from Morgan’s Bay beach. It has a gift shop, tea garden, pizzeria and children’s play area. There are also walking trails, bird-watching, dam-fishing, swimming and canoeing.