Port St Johns

Jewel of the Wild Coast

Walking Trails

Operation Footprint

Tour guides are available to take you on your hike. Bookings can be made at the Tourist Information Office.

Phone/Fax: (047) 564-1187
Email: [email protected]

All the trails below are available – contact the Tourism Information Office for more details. An example of the Gap and Bulolo Waterfall trail follows:

  • Second Beach to Umngazi
  • Mount Sullivan
  • Mount Thesiger
  • Lighthouse Circle
  • Eagle’s Nest and Monkey Slide

Route 1: Gap and Bulolo Waterfall

The Bulolo Waterfall section of the trail starts at the end of the tarred road at Second Beach. You can cross the river on the vehicle bridge and follow the road to Silaka until it turns uphill. A road to the right takes you past some houses, a farm, several bamboo clumps and to the turn-of-tide bridge.

On the left bank a footpath takes you along the water pipeline up the river valley through dense forest to the first dam. You have to cross the river twice to get there. Just after the first crossing there is drum tree, a Natal fig, which grew around a large forest tree that has since died and rotted away giving the drum tree a hollow sound when struck with a walking stick. At the second crossing the water pipeline is suspended from a leaning tree.

Cross over the thin dam wall, a favourite basking place for spotted bush snakes in summer. When the river is low you can skirt the edge of the dam. When it is high, a narrow footpath about 10 metres above water level must be taken. On the left bank of the dam there are steep cliffs with some small caves in which a leopard, an old toothless male of about 25 years, sometimes lies. He is harmless and not aggressive. Leave him to enjoy his old age in these beautiful surroundings. The pipeline is suspended from the cliffs, where it dips back to river level, re-cross the river and follow the pipeline footpath. The first rock-bottomed side stream is known as the Haemanthus Stream as its cliff bank is a massive hanging garden of fleshy leaves and yellow-white blooms when the haemanthus albiflos bloom. This stream bed is an emergency exit onto the ridge.

The waterfall is reached about one kilometre further when the footpath turns up into the forest. The pool below the falls is deep but check for rocks and submerged logs before diving or jumping into it. In summer the pool water is cool while the waterfall water is several degrees warmer. This is because the river spreads over a sun-warmed rock face above the falls. Below the pool to the right there is a rock-bottomed side stream which can be followed up a considerable distance to a waterfall amphitheatre. This is Plectanthrus Alley where the miniature plectanthrus reflexus plectanthrus reflexus plectanthrus reflexus plectanthrus reflexus plectanthrus reflexus

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