A 40-kilometre hop, skip and jump north from East London, Cintsa is the first of many paradise seaside villages along the coastline of what used to be known as the Transkei.
The town is found along the Jikeleza Tourist Route and is divided by the Cintsa River into two villages. Cintsa East hosts numerous types of holiday accommodation, residential developments and shops.
Cintsa West, on the southern bank of the river, is more rustic and remote. This is where the coastal nature reserves, caravan park with campsites, and the popular Buccaneers backpackers are situated, offering canoeing, surfing, kite-surfing and guided horseback tours.
There are walks and mountain-bike trails along the gravel dirt roads and coastal paths and also opportunities to interact with the local Xhosa people. Another unique experience in the Cintsa area is the vast, malaria-free Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve.
Cintsa is a nature-lover’s paradise, with the lagoon, long Indian Ocean beaches and lush Wild Coast vegetation hosting beautiful birdlife. It is a wonderful escape within easy reach of the airport at East London and a convenient stop for those touring along the South African coastline.
Look out for
Buccaneers Backpackers offers surf lessons in the calm lagoon before you tackle the local point breaks (wetsuits and surfboards available for rent).
Buccaneers also arranges cultural day tours to NgingXolo village. Mama Tofu explains the traditions and crafts of the local Xhosa culture.
Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve encompasses five different vegetation biomes, home to wild mammals such as leopard, buffalo, rhino and rare white lion. Visitors can interact with elephants at the Elephant sanctuary.
Inkwenkwezi hosts the Wild Coast Wet 'n Wild Festival (a weekend of mountain-, motor- and quad-biking, fun runs and boat races) and the Jikeleza Country Fair at the end of very July. The fair features (handmade) art and craft stalls, free game drives, pony rides and elephant interaction, jumping castles, face-painting, food stalls, a beer tent, and vintage cars.
The East London Coast Nature Reserve south of Cintsa stretches from the Great Kei River to the Tylomnqa River, encompassing a number of smaller coastal and inland reserves. The campsite at Double Mouth is an hour from Cintsa.