Take a walk on the wild side

Take a walk on the wild side

Become an environmental watchdog

Intrepid, tough and rugged reporters are to get a unique environmental journalism training opportunity as part of a drive to promote marine conservation and grassroots ecotourism initiatives on the Wild Coast.

Two to three selected candidates will be enrolled on an eight-day hike from Port Edward to Port St Johns led by award winning conservationist, Sinegugu Zukulu.

The hike will be followed by a two-day writing workshop at 984 St Ives, in the Leisure Bay Conservancy, from August 3 to 4.

Biodiversity hotspots

The trail, from Sunday, July 21, to Sunday, July 28,  passes the Mzamba fossil beds, the Pondoland Marine Protected Area, the Mkambathi Nature Reserve,  several pristine estuaries and other biodiversity hot spots threatened with destruction.

Red sands

Hikers will also crisscross red sands earmarked for heavy minerals mining by the Australian mining outfit, Mineral Resource Commodities. The controversial Xolobeni Mineral Sands Project was the focus of a recent Ambabhungane investigation, The mine, the murder, the DG – and many unanswered questions

Cultural experience

Aside from immersion in nature, the hike is a cultural experience with hikers accommodated at rustic home stays along the route.

“We all sleep on mattresses on the floor of mud huts. We use basins to bath, no showers. We use a long drop toilet, and eat local food,” says Singegugu Zukulu, a walking-talking encyclopaedia of indigenous knowledge and an expert on Pondoland plants.

Khotso Sethunsa

Highlights include canoe crossings of the Manteku river, walks to Strandlooper cave, Waterfall Bluff, the Pat Goss House, Grosvenor wreck site, Mamba pools, Cathedral rock and the Mfihlelo waterfall, as well as a visit to Khotso Sethuntsa’s pool, where the legendary medicine man reputedly made magic. According to a recently published biography, The Extraordinary Khotso: Millionaire Medicine Man from Lusikisiki, customers from across Southern Africa and abroad flocked to Sethuntsa for healing, good fortune and wealth.

Click here for a detailed itinerary of the hike.

Training

Organised with Sustaining the Wild Coast, the hike provides an ideal opportunity for aspirant environmental writers to cut their teeth in producing a feature under expert guidance and supervision of  Roving Reporters.

If you consider yourself tough and rugged enough to handle this trail – and rigorous writing mentoring from Roving Reporters,  apply here.

The deadline of applications is 10pm, Friday, July 12.  You will be notified of the outcome of your application  on Tuesday, July 16.

Click here to read the opening stories in our Wild Walk series produced by marine biology student, Natalie Dos Santos, freelance writer, Matt Vend and Roving Reporters intern, Mlu Mdletshe.

  • Roving Reporters Wild Walk series is sponsored by the 8 Mile Club, compliments of the Wild Swim expedition which  funds raised for marine conservation and grassroots eco-tourism initiatives on the Wild Coast.

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The spectacular and awe-inspiring Waterfall Bluff. Photo: John Costello

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