Port Edward is a little frontier holiday village at the very end of the south coast road. In fact, during apartheid, it was on the border of the Transkei homeland, complete with border crossing. The boundary itself, now with the Eastern Cape, is marked by the Mtamvuna River.
Just on the far side of the border is the Wild Coast Sun Casino, initially started to exploit the loophole created by the Transkei being “independent” from South Africa and therefore not limited by its anti-gambling laws. It still offers gambling, but also has a wonderful golf course and all sorts of other indoor and outdoor activities.
The little town itself was formed in 1925 and named after the Prince of Wales, later to become the King of England. Other history in the area includes many shipwrecks, as well as the notorious Tragedy Hill. It was here were that a Zulu war party killed fleeing Langeni tribesmen, as well as followers of Frank Fynn.
Port Edward has become a popular tourist town and is very busy over the holiday seasons. The beach, overlooked by a pretty lighthouse, is good for swimming and surfing and is protected by shark nets.
Look out for
The Beaver Creek Coffee Estate is just out of town and offers a fascinating tour. Apparently the most southerly coffee estate in the world, Beaver Creek does everything on the premises, from growing, harvesting and roasting the beans, to distributing them countrywide. There’s obviously a coffee shop, too!
The Wild Coast Sun is either a sinful temptation or a glitzy attraction, depending on who you ask. Other than the casino, there is a spectacular golf course, horse-riding, movies, 10-pin bowling, a spa and more. Waterworld, on the premises, has all sorts of waterborne activities, from jet skis to a stately cruise.
The Cow Shed Coffee and Pottery Shop lies to the north of town and is a coffee shop with great views. But it is also a showcase for hand-painted pottery, tables and art from Zanner studios.
Mountain-biking in the area is excellent, and just behind Port Edward can be found Clearwater Trails, offering a range of trails of different difficulties.
A walk along the beach from the Wild Coast Sun reveals a fascinating world of petrified trees, fossils, caves and legends. A good guide can show all of this to you, and tell you the tragic tales of shipwrecks, both Portuguese and English, survivors and the not so lucky.
Mtamvuna Nature Reserve, on the banks of the river of the same name, is a great place for a day trip. Hikes, bird-watching and some game are all here in KwaZulu-Natal’s southernmost reserve.
The incredible, diminutive Red Desert beggars belief. Set in the middle of typically lush coastal vegetation, the red desert is a mysterious patch of sand that looks totally out of place and is said to be the smallest true desert in the world. Some say it was caused by an alien landing…