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Enjoy Your Adventure here

Amaponda Backpackers provides guests with a unique and adventurous experience while enjoying the beautiful surroundings of the Wild Coast.


Nature Reserves



Sardine Run

Ocean View Charters


Sulphur Pools

Festive Season

Book NOw!

Find Your Peace at Amaponda Backpackers

Book Amaponda Backpackers for an eco-friendly nature experience with comfy rooms and fun activities. Enjoy local cuisine at the restaurant or community kitchen and barbecue area. Plan your itinerary with knowledgeable staff.


First Beach is at the mouth of the mighty Umzimvubu River and you are advised not to swim there unless you want to rub fins with the numerous sharks seen there.

Second Beach is about 5 kilometers south of the town along a tar road. It is an idyllic bathing beach – very safe for swimming as it has a very gentle slope. There is a full life-guard contingent as well.

Third Beach You can access by car with a permit at the Silaka Nature reserve gate or hike about 40 minutes and you will arrive at Silaka’s very own private beach.  Leap into the water at Bird Rock.

Amapondo Backpackers Lodge are situated at second beach, amidst the tranquil setting of the rain forest, Second Beach allows guests to feel like they are truly in the wild and rugged African coastline.


There are numerous hikes available. From easy to challenging. From 1 hour to 6 or 10 days hikes. Below are only a few of the local hikes close to Amapondo backpackers lodge. Hikes can be done solo, or of you want a guided hike, please advise reception in advance to arrange a tour guided hike.

Bulolo Waterfall

Adventure hike through dense a jungle path to Bulolo Waterfall.  This croute takes about 3 hours there and back.  One of our most popular activities, the hike to Bulolo is totally awesome.  In parts it can be a bit challenging, and it is for the more adventurous. We hope you do not chicken out of the 11m jump into the deep pool below the Waterfall.

The Gap and Blow hole

Hike up into the cultural village of Mthumbane along a stunning coastal path. From here, hike down to the Gap, climb down some rocks using a rope, then down an impressively long ladder, and into ‘The Gap’.  Traverse this impressive coastal peninsula and shimmy up another ladder onto a great viewpoint.  From here you can see the Blowhole, where powerful waves crash against the rocks, the water that erupts out of the hole can be incredibly powerful. At the top, the views are screensaver perfect, and if you are lucky, you might even see a whale or a pod of dolphins. This hike takes about 2 – 3 hours.

Third Beach Hike

The hike starts at secord beach and along the coast foot path towards Silaka, about 40 minutes and you will arrive at Silaka’s very own private beach.  Leap into the water at Bird Rock.

Agate terrace to Poenskop hike

Agate Terrace is halfway between the river mouth and where the beach ends abruptly in a very steep bluff. The path from here leads to the top and along the hills to another splendid beach and excellent rock fishing can be had. This is Poenskop, which means, in Afrikaans, a hornless cow’s head. Along these hills one finds Native life as primitive as is possible to see, and the view of the ocean is breath-taking. The distance from Port St John’s is about 10 kms and should not be attempted by those who are not strong and energetic. It is advisable to take food and water on this walk.


Magwa, Fraser and Angel Falls day trip

The Magwa Waterfall lies in the middle of the 1 800 hectare Magwa tea plantation, South Africa’s last remaining tea estate just outside Lusikisiki which is an hour’s drive from Port St Johns, (43,0 km) on the R61.Magwa Falls is a day trip towards Lusikisiki The main water drop is 142 metres.

While you in the area, drive to Mboyti Bush camp, we can arrange for you to enjoy lunch at the bush camp, but needs to pre – arrange 24h in advance, this bush camp can only be access by 4×4.

Or you can drive all the way to Mboyti and enjoy the scenic beach and lagoon.

Directions to Fraser Falls

Direction to Magwa Falls

Waterfall Bluff

The Waterfall Bluff has an immense waterfall that crashes into the sea near vertical sandstone cliffs, from a height of more than 100 m. However, the most exciting feature of the falls is that one can walk behind the cascading wall of water. The bluff extends about 5 km along the coast and contains two of the few waterfalls in the world that plunge directly into the sea. It is a place of exceptional beauty

Reaching it as part of a hike is not that difficult. Depending on how you plan things. Chat to us and we can make recommendations

It is not that easy to reach; one cannot simply drive to a clearly marked lookout point and gaze at it.

A tricky 4 x 4 drive to Luphuthana pondo beach camp and hike to Waterfall Bluff. The 1-hour hike is easy through the grass lands of the wild coast.

Between Port St Johns and the Mkambathi Nature Reserve (but closer to the Msikaba River than Port St Johns) is Waterfall Bluff.


Enjoy swimming at Mamba Pools.

Cathedral Rock is a short walk of about 2 kilometres down the coast from Waterfall Bluff. It is a tall pinnacle of sandstone which has been cut off from the mainland by the sea and is one of the most dramatic rock formations to be seen anywhere along the South African coast.

Double Falls

Nature Reserves

Silaka Nature Reserve

Silaka lies in a forested valley only 7km south of Port St Johns. A small but beautiful coastal reserve, Silaka stretches from Second Beach to Sugarloaf Rock, covering 400ha. The Gxwaleni River flows through the reserve and forms an estuary, which enters the sea at the beautiful main beach. This exquisite reserve comprises grassland, a dramatic piece of coastline and a magnificent indigenous coastal forest with huge trees, offering a pristine coastal setting and exceptional bird-watching. Bird Rock, a huge rocky outcrop just offshore, provides a resting place for the white-breasted cormorant, amongst many others. The primary purpose of Silaka Nature Reserve is the conservation of the biodiversity of a near pristine example of the Eastern Cape Forest.

Conservation Fees – Applicable to both Day and Overnight visitors, to be paid on arrival at the reserve in cash:

nature walk R26 adult / R13 child
Guide hire R183 1 to 2 hrs


  • Swimming
  • Fishing (permit required)
  • Hiking
  • Bird watching
  • Self-drive wildlife watching (4×4 access only)


  • Blue Duiker
  • Samango monkeys
  • Bottle-nose dolphins
  • Whales,
  • White-breasted cormorant

Mkambati Nature Reserve

This is the Wild Coast at its most spectacular. The Mkhambathi Nature Reserve, situated on the coast of north-eastern Pondoland between Port Edward and Port St Johns, is a 7 720ha coastal reserve with open grasslands, dotted with indigenous forest patches and swamp forests and flanked by the magnificent forested ravines of the Msikaba and Mtentu rivers. Of the many rivers running through the reserve, the Mkhambathi is perhaps the most beautiful with its crystal clear pools and series of spectacular waterfalls. The Horseshoe Falls are impressive as they plunge over the terrace in a wide arc. Further down, the river tumbles over the Strandloper and Mkhambathi Falls before dropping several metres into the ocean. The grasslands covering a large portion of the reserve support fascinating and diverse flora and a large number of reintroduced herbivores. Mkhambathi Nature Reserve is truly a birder’s paradise.

Conservation Fee – Applicable to both day and overnight visitors and are to be paid in cash at the reserve upon arrival:

nature walks adult R38/ child R20


  • Picnics
  • Bird-watching
  • Swimming
  • Walking Trails
  • Self-guided game viewing
  • Fishing(permit required and at designated areas only)
  • Dolphin and whale watching


  • Chacma baboon
  • Black-backed Jackal
  • Bushbuck
  • Eland
  • Cape Vultures
  • Southern Rhebuck
  • Common Duiker

Lupatana Nature Reserve

The Lupatana Nature Reserve with its Milkwood Forest, Lupatana River and wild waves. Walk to Waterfall Bluff, the Cathedral Rock formations and the Mfihlelo Falls.

Ntsubane Forest

This Forest offers quite a unique experience when passing through the twilight world of this forest on the Lusikisiki/Mbotyi road. Be on the lookout for birds such as loeries, paradise flycatchers, bush shrikes, cuckoos and broad-winged, crowned eagles (the only forest-dwelling eagle) as well as small antelopes, bush pigs, monkeys and baboons.


Port St Johns airstrip on top of Mt Thessiger is a part of the old Transkei Military Base and is now used for private aircraft. The airstrip ends at a cliff’s edge which boasts magical views of the town and its surrounds. You can perch yourself on the edge of the 342m high cliff whilst drinking sundowners and listening to music.

It is also where the filming of the well known movie Blood Diamond with Leonardo DiCaprio took place. A little slice of heaven right here!


Situated in Port St Johns, which is a small coastal town and known as the jewel of the Wild Coast, the Cape Hermes lighthouse was built using granite rocks quarried from nearby. The lighthouse is octagonal in shape, and acquired its name after the ship, HMS Hermes that undertook national surveys of the Pondoland coastal waters. It was constructed under the direction of H.C. Cooper

The Wild Coast is strewn with the remains of ships, which have been caught by monster waves or sudden storms and dashed onto the rocks.

A lovely gentle walk up to the lighthouse which is in pristine condition and very clean and freshly painted.

Still manned by a lighthouse keeper, the Cape Hermes Lighthouse flashes once every three seconds, warning ships of the hazardous Eastern Cape coastline. With panoramic views of the ocean, river mouth, and lush cliff faces, this is a sight worth the walk.

Sardine Run

The Sardine Run is more about the migration of various predators moving along the South African coastline following sardines than the sardines themselves.

The water temperature has to drop below 21 °C in order for the migration to take place, around May, June & July.

The Sardine Run is an amazing experience — there is nothing quite like it. Most of the Sardine Run is done on snorkel; only when we find a static baitball do we get in the water with scuba.

Seeing an iconic sardine baitball in crystal-clear conditions with dolphins, sharks, whales and sea birds in a feeding frenzy is, in fact, quite rare.


Be it deep-sea, estuarine, salt or freshwater fishing, Port St Johns has it all.

The Mzimvubu river is one of South Africa’s major rivers and November through to April thick muddy water pours out to sea. As autumn approaches the water clears and you can expect to catch grunter and kob. September and October are good months for garrick.

Deep Sea Charters are weather and sea condition dependent, please enquire for more details.

Ocean View Charters

Take a day trip with one of the experienced boat charters, one if the big attraction is Waterfall Bluff, more and less 3 hours there, depending on the sea life stops on the way from Giant manta ray to humpback whales

The coastal waters teem with the giant animals, mating, calving and rearing their young – and giving whale-watchers spectacular displays of raw power and elegant water acrobatics.

Dolphins are known for friendly character and curiosity towards other species and humans in the ocean.




Zozo – 071 952 9574

Sonwabo – 063 084 4005

Sulphur Pools

The Isinuka Mud Caves and Sulphur Pools are located next to the Isinuka village, about 15km from Amapondo backpackers Lodge.

For a unique cultural experience, come and visit the natural sulphur springs; a traditional healing site to the Pondo people.

Immerse yourself in the tradition by smothering yourself in the mud. Dry in the glorious sun and visit the sulphur pools afterwards to rinse off. Finally, bathe in the river to complete your healing.



082 081 7905

Festive Season

With thousands of bathers expected to flock to the notorious but popular Second Beach, Port St Johns authorities have announced that motorists will not be allowed to park at the beach over the height of the festive season.

Boom gates will also be set up at various points about the town, warning that those who park illegally at the beach will have their cars towed away.

You will not be able to leave Amapondo backpackers on the 01 January due to road closure – no CHECK-IN or -OUT on the 1 January 2021.