29 May - 1 June
The entire 111km follows a North to South route predominantly along cattle and goat paths that are also used by humans. In many instances, there will be a high tide and low tide route and this is where you will need to use your initiative and navigational skill to negotiate the best and safest route. Our intention is to keep the route as natural and raw as possible so there are few marked sections along the way. The few marked sections will either be a safety measure or a pointer to a surprise, a challenge or a beautiful view point, the rest of the way is a journey and for you to figure out as you go. The key is to keep the sea on your left and identify a well-used path heading in a southerly direction as these will generally follow the path of least resistance and keep you on track.
Day 1 Port Edward to Msikaba – 41km
Aid Station – 25km – Mtentu
A perfectly timed low tide just after the start time will enable you to stretch your legs along the first 18kms of hard sand and endless beaches till you reach Sikombe Point. From there a short inland section through the rural Pondo villages will bring you to the Aid Station at Mtentu Lodge. A river crossing will then take you into the Mkambathi Nature reserve for the remainder of the day till you reach Msikaba on the southern boundary. The day offers incredible diversity in a mostly forgotten wilderness: grass plains with a large range of antelope, thick indigenous forests, crystal clear waterfalls and numerous shipwrecks on the coast.
Day 2 Msikaba to Mbotyi – 36km
Aid Station – 18km – Luphatana
A fantastic stretch with the perfect mix of grasslands, undulating hills and desolate beaches will take you past the famous Grosvenor shipwreck and onto the famous Wild Coast salt-water-shower and aid station at Luphatana. We then continue along the majestic Waterfall Bluff section past the spectacular Mlambomkulu Falls and Cathedral Rock view point before dropping down onto a long beach section before our finish at Mbotyi River Lodge.
Day 3 Mbotyi to Port St. Johns – 34km
Aid Station – 17km – Ntafufu
Continue south from Mbotyi past the notorious Shark Point and the desolate Robinson Crusoe beaches before a river crossing at the idyllic Manteku. The aid station at the Ntafufu river crossing will allow you to refresh fully before your last push past Poenskop and onto the finish line at Port St Johns’ Umzimbuvu River.
Pondo Ultra 111km – all of the above in 1 go!!!
The Abyss is an optional add on to this route created solely for those crazies who limits exist elsewhere.
Since the early migration of the Bantu tribes from the African interior into the South, their livestock have been navigating the paths of least resistance and carving the hillside trails to this day. Particularly the Xhosa and Pondo tribes of the East Coast of South Africa. The incredibly rugged yet perfectly manicured paths along the wild Pondoland Coast pay testament to this.
Mainly due to the political rollercoaster that the Transkei has undergone, combined with the huge logistical challenges that this area faces, and with scant road infrastructure and river gorges that cut deep into the interior, the coastline has remained largely undiscovered. Only very few pioneers have ventured into this unexplored territory mostly through raw, self-supported missions.
Now, through a collaboration of Wild Coast specialists and some of Africa’s trail running leaders, Wild Child Africa and KZN Trail Running hereby present you with the Pondo Trail in an ULTRA and 3 DAY STAGE trail run format. The Ultra is 111km and will be run in a single stage, whereas the Coaster is 111km in legs of 42km, 36km and 33km.
Both formats are paired team events and all teams are to enter, run and finish together. No exceptions will be considered due to the technical nature of the trail and the numerous river crossing along the way. Choose wisely!
This unique coastline is too fragile to sustain high density tourism. Therefore, the Pondo Trail is an exclusive, high-end product with a low environmental impact that strives to educate the fortunate few who grace its shores. May they realise its inner beauty and endeavour to preserve its future.
From Durban follow the N2 south until Port Edward.
See the map to navigate to the Start venue at The Estaury Hotel