Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wild Coast of Transkei

The Wild Coast is part of the Eastern Cape province in South Africa, encompassing the coastal region from north of East London to the southern border with KwaZulu-Natal at Port Edward. The Wild Coast encompasses the coast between the Kei River Mouth and Umtanvuma River along the Indian Ocean. During the former Apartheid regime the Transkei (the Wild Coast and adjacent interior up to the border with Lesotho) was one of the so called "homelands" and officially politically and economically independent. It is still one of the poorest regions of South Africa. It offers spectacular coastlines without the tourist crowd. The whole region is very rural and infrastructure is sparse.

Hole in the Wall is a geological phenomenon shaped by the Mpako River that runs into the sea right at that spot. Among the local Xhosa inhabitants, this region is inhabited by mythical "sea people" - one of whom fell in love with a local Xhosa maiden. Her father would have nothing of this relationship and prohibited the sea man from seeing his daughter. The sea people then asked a giant fish a ram a hole into the wall of rock, whereafter they abducted the maiden to their sea world. The instantly recognisable rock formation is made up of Ecca shale and sandstone, capped with hard volcanic dolerite.
Port St Johns is a small coastal town in South Africa known as the Jewel of the Wild Coast, offering true South African accommodation and hospitality. The Wild Coast is a stretch of 250 kilometers of coast, which gained its name by its inaccessibility and reputation for ship-crushing waves. Today the Wild Coast is still untouched by plastic civilisation and offers rich experiences and adventures. If you're after rustic authenticity with your accommodation in South Africa, this is the place for you.

The other famous rocks on this coast are shown on the two other stamps on the cover, namely, The Citadel and the The Archway.

The drawing on the cover is that of the Jacaranda Shipwreck. The Wild Coast is not a name given lightly. The coast is well known for the rough seas that slam on to rocky shelves along the beach, presenting all sorts of hazards to seamen.The beach is wide and inviting at the river mouth with a few small rocky points and estuaries scattered along its length in either direction as it stretches to the horizon. Side-step a few cows on the beach as you hike to the wreck of the Jacaranda which ran aground on the night of September the 18th, 1971. She was not laden with any cargo and riding high in windy seas when her engines failed. She was washed ashore and the captain, his wife and 14 crew members abandoned ship using a rope ladder which they strung from the ships prow to the nearby rocks. Successive storms have taken their toll on the stranded ship and today only the bow remains.

Thank you Maria for this FDC with the lovely stamps.

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