Cast Away Hike

About the hike

Castaway Hike - GREEN FLAG certified

Kenton on Sea, Eastern Cape , South Africa.
The basic Hike is a 5-day hike, however the requirements for the shorter days ( min 2) is also enjoyed.


The Castaway Hike is situated in the heart of the Sunshine Coast, east of Port Elizabeth on the R72 and is adjacent to coastal towns such as Alexandria, Kenton-on-Sea and Port Alfred, with the latter town being the largest. The trail head starts at Woodlands Cottages, just off the R72 via the R343 en route to Grahamstown/Mkhanda. The scenic Kariega River, from Port Alfred’s direction and the Bushman’s River from Port Elizabeth side wedge this pristine environment in. Beautiful, open stretched beaches, estuaries and coastal vegetation give further environmental clout to where this hike is situated.

Why do our Hike

  • The splendour of the “unknown” eastern cape and Woody cape forest
  • Numerous ship wrecks, …
  • Diaz Cross
  • Famous Shelly bay
  • Kasouga, Kariega ,Boesmans and Boknes estuaries
  • Safe
  • Close to Game reserves ( Addo , Sibuya and Kariega Park)
  • Unspoilt coastline with minimal pollution.
  • Prolific Birdlife and indigenous game.

Landscape. Fauna and Flora

Mainly mid-altitude lush grasslands with steep and deep river gorges, densely covered with prickly “valley bushveld “(thorn trees and shrubs, aloes and euphorbias). Where conditions permit, the bushveld component morphs into forest: temperate where higher or colder, and thorny to subtropical forest at lower, warmer altitudes. It is a summer rainfall area but largely defined by a mist belt. Being an area rich for agriculture, little of it remains naturally intact. The hiking trail borders on the Greater Addo Elephant National Park’s Woody Cape Section on the southwest and comprise of a combination of vegetation types of which the coastal thicket biome and coastal forest amass with species such as Outeniqua Yellowwood (Podocarpus falcatus), Cape Ash (Ekebergia capensis), Cape Beech (Rapanea melanophleos). Bird species which can be found comprises of both coastal and terrestrial species, i.e. African black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini), Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia) as well as estuarine species such as Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), Red-knobbed coot (Fulica cristata). Larger mammals which can frequent the area is Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), Blue Duiker (Philantomba monticola) and the more nocturnal Bushpig (Potamochoerus larvatus.

Castaway Hike setup
Day 1 (Hike and Paddle)

Trip by vehicle to Kasouga to start your hike. Walk 6 km along beach reaching the Kariega slipway. The hikers get onto Kayaks and head for their 6,5 km paddle upriver. You collected from that point and returned to Woodlands, or may want to paddle back to the slipway depending on your level of fitness and conditions prevailing.
Total distance for the day 11 km , rated easy

Day 2 (Hike beach and boardwalk)

Trip from Woodlands Cottages to the Kariega river mouth and walk to the Bushman’s slipway, getting the most spectacular views of the reason why people love Kenton. Slow walk along the boardwalk and over the bridge is bound to allow you to meet some locals and catch-up on the fishing stories.
Total distance for the day 12 km, rated easy

Day 3 (Hike on beach)

The hike starts at the Bushmansriver mouth, and into the unknown, pristine time ! If the tide is low , you could see sections of the Volo shipwreck .The views from Diaz Cross , past the Boknes river and onto Cannon Rocks
Total distance 12 km rated easy

Day 4 (Hike on Beach)

The Hike is from Cannon rocks to Woody Cape reserve, passing well known Kraal banks, Fresh water springs source, and onto Woody Cape start of the reserve.
Total distance 18 km rated easy

Day 5 (Hike in Forest)

The Hike starts near the beach , and meanders through the Woody Cape forest. Experiencing the untouched forests of the Addo SANPARKS reserve.
Total distance 10 km rated easy.

General procedure and planning which makes our hike different

All the hike days are planned to depend on the wind direction. Should winds or conditions be extreme we drop off on the “comfortable start” end. We have transfers fetching and carrying guests on the day to and from Woodlands Cottages. Woodlands is right in the middle, making the transfers quick and easy. Most days are a 5-6-hour adventure. Meals and authentic stays in the Wooden cottages at Woodlands.

The environmental character of the Hike

The experience whilst hiking this route is the breathtakingly beautiful ocean views and the occasional interaction with locals cannot be stressed enough. Management should commit to informing hikers of weather conditions of the day in case of adverse situations that are expected as well as flood condition of rivers and estuaries.

  1. Natural contact with other hikers: Natural
  2. No Industry: Pristine
  3. Only natural sounds: Pristine
  4. Pollution and Erosion: Pristine
  5. Alien Vegetation: Pristine
  6. Farmsteads: Pristine
  7. Artificial structures: Pristine
  8. Public sites: Pristine

Rated a PRISTINE Hike by Green flag auditors.

Safety on the trail

Mugging: Sensitive hikers to take caution. Local guides available
Animals: No dangerous animals
Natural disasters: None
Clean drinking water: Take own
Guiding: Inexperienced hikes recommend a local guide
Maps: Available
Warning signs: None
River, pools , sea: Take caution in mouth and in sea, pools good


  • Pristine landscape and vegetation on Hike
  • Strong tourism brand on Route72 on Sunshine Coast
  • Blue Flag beaches
  • Within Port Elizabeth Airport
  • Malaria free
  • Addo National park , neighbouring
  • Weather conditions stable
  • Access to Hikers with ease.
  • Adventure combo with hike on beach,estuary,forest and kayaking.


Beds: Single or Double
Ablutions: Gas geysers
Food: Self-cater or ala carte ( to select)
Setting: Bush – rural neighbourhood
Washing – clothes: Washing service available
Braai area: Boma
Lighting: Good
Heating: None
TV: In Main Lounge
Cell phone & Wi-Fi: Excellent
Bar & Refreshments: Licenced Bar
Room service: None
Seating: Comfortable in Lounge
Privacy: Separate cottages or Dorm facilities

Other stuff to do in our area

Big 5 Game reserve Day trip, Addo Elephant park visit, Beach Horse ride , Pineapple farm visit, Famous Sculptor studio visit, Township Culture tour, Cook a local Poitjie.



1. Hike Structure:

Hikers are based at Woodlands Cottages over the period of the hike. Each day starts by transfer to the start of your days hike. A quick trip by transfer vehicle, and a call for collection is easy. This makes your stay more comfortable , allowing all your kit and equipment to be based in one place. We monitor your movements and offer all the support needed from Woodlands.

2. Accommodation Options:

Woodlands Cottages and Backpackers have various options, from which you can choose to suite your experience and budget:

  • Dorm rooms 6 – 8 people per dorm ( possible to split guys and girls or kids and folks)
  • Cottages , rustic and secluded, sharing or single.
  • Camp site to pitch your own tent available too
  • Your choice if you need bedding or not

3. Meal Options:

  • Goatshed is the onsite Bush pub available to you, prior planning needed.
  • Backpacker kitchen is available for own basic cooking if DIY option chosen.
  • Woodlands can assist with picnic packs etc for your daily support. ( well-practiced)
  • Cottages are kitted for the people staying in that cottage for basic cooking requirements
  • Huge Braai area and bush Boma for private group use
  • Goatshed Bush pub is licensed and request respect for our licensed service please.

4. Transfers:

We have local shuttle support, who we plan with, depending on the numbers, and set timing for collection at departure. Hikers, on the hike, are asked to call us once certain landmarks are passed, then we know when to trigger collection transport. It is important to know that collection times are strictly set, as the companies used charge for time waiting. ( sorry for this, punctual departures requested.)

5. Guide support:

Our guides are local staff familiar with the area, and informal support on the route. The guides can be booked at additional fees, to assist with basic route knowledge and local language requirements. Guides are not security support but can assist with communication, local routing and distance planning. Should guests want specialized birder , coast and marine guides, this can be arranged.

6. Daily Hike plans

The best characteristic of the Castaway hike is that in your choice of DAY plans you can choose to walk with the wind, as we can drop you off at the best weather pattern option. We can also review the tides and the soft sand planning for the day. We can also select the various days you would like to HIKE out of the 5 days….ie you can choose to do any section of the hike depending on weather or timing preferred. This also allows the flexibility of families who bring children to reschedule or change days depending on fatigue, sun, weather, health and happiness.