The Pondo Trail

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We recently did the Pondo trail, one of the most scenic and beautiful trails in South Africa, the planning started almost a year before when our friend asked if we would join them on a trail, he knows us very well so he knew it had to be a fully serviced trail, what do I mean by that? Well, firstly, we needed someone to help carry our bags, definitely not sleeping in tents. Secondly, we wanted food cooked for us and obviously, drinks, so, yes! The Pondo trail is just like that, you carry a small bag with whatever you might need during the day, basically a water bottle, a long sleeve sweatshirt or jacket just in case, preferably a rain jacket, snacks, and sunblock, that is what I had in mine. 

The way the trail works, you start from Mtentu, just outside Port Edward, this can be, by road, a couple of hours on a bumpy road, or by boat, if the sea conditions are good, now, to get there you fly to Durban, we spent the night before there and then met everyone at the airport to start the 3-hours drive to the Estuary hotel in Port Edward, where we spent the night, next morning we go on a 2-hours drive to the starting point of the trail, some people were very lucky, actually, just Jan, because one of the guys doing the trail didn’t want to do all the driving so he went on a Helicopter and since they charge for a minimum of 2 people Jan got to go with him. We all met at the edge of the Mtentu river mouth and the adventure started with us going across the river. No, we didn’t swim, and although a few of the guys did, we went on a Kayak. 

Day 1. (15km)

We start the trail and it’s all very exciting and fun, within 45 minutes of starting we find a waterfall and we jump in the water, then we keep going, we stop for lunch at a very nice natural pool, now, the first dat we walk across a nature reserve so although we didn’t see any, we could have seen some wildlife, wait, we did se Zebras. 

Day 2. (18km)

Now, we are out of the nature reserve, and I have to admit, it was the less exciting day of the 5, the landscape was pretty much the same all day, lots of grasslands and not much diverse scenery, it got quite windy at one point, but it ended majestically!

As we were reaching the end of the day we saw far away in the distance, these massive waves crashing against the coastline making giant splashes, I immediately thought, ah! It would be so cool if we could walk right next to them, well, guess what? We walked right next to them, the splashes were huge and very often and that rocky coastline was about 1km long, at the end of all this splashing and fun was our campsite, right next to the river mouth which they had organized a bonfire and plenty of G&T waiting for us, (wine for me please)

Day 3. (17km)

 

This is supposed to be the most exciting day, we are going to see the waterfall Bluff, one of the few waterfalls that go straight into the ocean. According to our guide, there are only 12 waterfalls like this in the world, and 3 of them are on this trail but only this one is accessible. OK, only this one has easy access. Lots of uphill and downhill, we even went to see a cave, and then we came up to the waterfall, very impressive. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side so we didn’t walk down to it and got totally wet, I should have done it! So, yes, it was the best day.

Day 4. (10km) 

On our last day walking, we did walk a lot, a total of 10 km. Day 3 is the longest and the best day, today. It wasn’t as long but it took us across 7 headlands and 6 beaches, each one more beautiful than the other. When we reached the top of the last hill, the view of the estuary where we ended the trail was just amazing. We arrived there at midday and spent a fabulous afternoon by the river, drinks, friends, and fun, all around a fantastic bonfire.

Day 5.

We head back to where it all started, Durban. Word of advice, if you can take a helicopter back, DO IT! It was a long drive and of course, we were all super tired. In my opinion, it was a bit too much, about 7- hours drive back, but when you think about the trail and how beautiful everything was, it was all worth it.

In summary, The Pondo Trail is a Must-Do, especially if you love nature and like the outdoors. However, you have to like walking. A total bonus are the beaches, rivers natural pools, and waterfalls. The best time to do it is between April and May, but you need to book this well in advance, almost a year in advance.

Want to join the next Pondo Trail Hike?

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Brendan Magauran
Brendan Magauran
2024-04-14
Incredible! Beyond expectations. German guided us on an absolutely amazing trip to Cape Town, Franschhoek, Hermanus and a safari at Thornybush game reserve. Every recommendation was spot on from a restaurants to a guided tour of Cape Point, the Hop on hop off bus, where to visit in the wine country, lodging in a beach front suite in Hermanus. As for the safari at Thornybush - WOW! More than we could have ever imagined in terms of luxury and game sightings. Thank you German. Looking forward to our next trip with you as our guide. And yes, we have told all family and friends, this is the man to contact for their travels.
Ellen H.
Ellen H.
2024-04-12
We feel beyond lucky to have found Nanan Travel! We are from the USA and are DIY-ers, used to making our own travel arrangements. When planning for our bucket-list trip to S. Africa, it quickly got overwhelming and stressful to differentiate among the innumerable safari options on the internet, figure out domestic flights, assess safety concerns, find a private driver to tour Cape Point, etc. We did not want to travel with a tour group, nor use a global internet travel agency, so I looked for a travel agent actually based in Cape Town so that we could deal with just one person who really knew the area. I found Nanan based on location and reviews, then was sold by their individualized approach and willingness to help with as much or as little of the planning as one wants. We reached out to German de la Melena and he answered immediately, even though it was a Sunday evening in Cape Town, wanting to hear all about our wishes so that he could work on things promptly and have a suggested itinerary by the time we woke up the next morning! He was thoughtful, conscientious, friendly, worked within our budget and did not try to upsell us, gave us options and even incorporated some specific requests we had. From that initial contact on, all the stress and worry about our upcoming trip went away! After designing a fantastic itinerary for us, the true test of an amazing travel agent came when my husband injured himself the week before our trip and couldn’t travel, requiring us to postpone for 4 weeks. While we were dealing with stressful health issues, we gave German our medical documentation and he took care of the rest. He had to change all of our reservations and domestic flights, and went above and beyond to do so without our incurring more expense. What a huge relief! German remained remarkably responsive before and during our trip, able to advise on any question and troubleshoot any problem, reachable by What’s App in minutes. Between the great itinerary and the peace of mind, working with German and knowing he had our back truly made all the difference in our experience being the trip of a lifetime!! Thank you, German! You deserve more than 5 stars and I will refer everyone I know to you!
Pablo Berenbaum
Pablo Berenbaum
2024-03-17
Exclente organización. Hoteles, tours, impecables !!! Gracias Germán x las sugerencias, el viaje fue INCREIBLE !
Faisal Alaali
Faisal Alaali
2024-03-13
I cannot say enough great things about Nanan Travel. He organized a spectacular trip to South Africa for me, and every detail was absolutely perfect. From the boutique hotels to the incredible safari stays, everything was top-notch and exceeded my expectations. The entire trip was seamlessly planned, and I never once had to worry about a thing. The accommodations were luxurious, the guides were knowledgeable and friendly, and the overall experience was truly unforgettable. Last part was the stay in Cape Town before heading back home. The city is absolutely stunning, and I was able to explore all it had to offer thanks to the amazing recommendations from German. I highly recommend Nanan Travel for anyone looking to plan a trip to South Africa or any other destination. Their attention to detail, personalized service, and overall expertise make them the best in the business. Thank you German for an incredible journey that I will never forget!
Manuel D
Manuel D
2024-03-08
Hemos pasado días espectaculares en Sudáfrica y Zimbabue, toda la organización de nuestros hijos con German funcionaron perfectamente. Todas las actividades, lodges, tours, safaris, fueron perfectos, así como el trato recibido en cada lugar fue muy personalizado, haciendo que este viaje sea inolvidable. Cada detalle funcionó a la perfección. Nanan Travel es 100% confiable y recomendable.
Monica C
Monica C
2024-03-08
Acabamos de llegar a Lima después de un viaje soñado a Africa. Mi hija y su esposo, que habían hecho Safari el año pasado por su Luna de Miel, querían que los cuatros papas viviéramos y sintiéramos toda la adrenalina y experiencias que ellos habían vivido, así que no lo pensaron dos veces y nos invitaron a este viaje único y maravilloso. Gracias Nanan Travel, gracias German, hemos vivido lo que realmente quisieron transmitirnos los Manuela y Rodrigo, los lugares visitados, las atenciones, los hoteles y su staff, todo, y la experiencia de estar con los animales asi de cerca es única. Si quieren hacer un viaje soñado, no dejen de contactar a German, escriban a Nanan Travel, y no se arrepentirán. Gracias por Todo!!
Gustavo Rivera
Gustavo Rivera
2024-03-05
Fue espectacular, desde el momento en que llegamos a Cape Town hasta que llegamos a Lima de vuelta estuvimos súper engreídos, los lugares escogidos para descansar , los guías, todo lo conocido !!, realmente un viaje de ensueño, recomendado a mil !!! Gracias Germán, eres un capo !!!
Violeta Rivera
Violeta Rivera
2024-03-05
Espectacular ! hemos pasado unos días increíbles con un servicio de primera Volvería hacer el mismo viaje mañana mismo !!!
Lizbett Arevalo
Lizbett Arevalo
2024-02-26
If you want to sit back, relax and enjoy… German is the way to go! My 16 YO son and I had the best dream trip came true to South Africa thanks to him! I can’t thank you enough German! Starting from Cape town then Safari and meeting my best friend in Johannesburg… I call it an OVER THE TOP kind of vacation🤩🤩🤩🙌🙏❤️🐆🐘🇿🇦🦁 🦏

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