Mbotyi Beach & Cliffs Walk

Beach, waves and cliffs on a hike from Mbotyi Beach on the wild coast in south africa
Beach, waves and cliffs on a hike from Mbotyi Beach on the wild coast in south africa

By Vicky · Published Jun. 19th, 2024

This easy walk starts in Mbotyi, heads across the beach, along cliffs to another beach and back through the countryside.

Mbotyi Beach & Cliffs Hiking Map


This walk starts from just outside Mbotyi River Lodge. It’s about 1.5 hours drive northeast from Port St Johns and 5.5 hours drive southwest from Durban. The Lodge is a decent place to stay, right by the beach, and it also has a campsite. Alternatively, this lovely self-catering cottage* near Magwa Falls is roughly 1 hour away, but close to a beautiful waterfall you should see anyway!


  • Wear shorts, a skirt or swimming trunks as you have to wade through a lagoon on this hike. If it’s high tide, the water may be more than waist deep, but your clothes will soon dry in the heat if it’s a nice day.
  • Take swimming stuff too as you can swim near the start or halfway through this hike.
  • Head to Magwa Falls on your way out for a spectacular waterfall (see below)!
  • Check out a hike at Coffee Bay, also on the Wild Coast, or find more hikes in our South Africa Hiking Guide.

Mbotyi Beach & Cliffs Hiking Route

Leaving Mbotyi Beach on a short easy walk
Leaving Mbotyi Beach
Walking along the cliffs near Mbotyi River Lodge Beach on the wild coast
Walking along the cliffs

From outside Mbotyi River Lodge, follow the track down to the beach. Cross the channel/lagoon to your left to reach the main beach at Mbotyi. Explore the beach a bit, then head right (when facing the ocean) to cross the neck of the channel. This can be quite shallow when the tide’s out.

On the other side, head across the beach and up the little trail near the end of the bushy trees. Turn left on the grass and walk in front of the house. On the other side, you should find a more well-defined trail.

This small path continues along the hillside with great views of the rocky beaches and cliffs below. Soon the trail rounds a corner and you’ll see a sandy beach. The path leads down to the shoreline, which is slightly rocky at first.

Mouth of the River Mzimpunzi
Mouth of the River Mzimpunzi
River Mzimpunzi Lagoon
River Mzimpunzi Lagoon
Walking back to Mbotyi along the track after a short hike
Walking back to Mbotyi along the track

Once you reach the sand, continue walking onwards and past the small grassy hill. If it’s high tide, you might have to leave the beach and walk around the right of the little hill. On the other side, you’ll see the mouth of the River Mzimpunzi, where there’s also a very pleasant lagoon.

Keep close around the little hill and find the path leading back up onto the grassy area. From here, continue onwards, fairly close to the lagoon, to find a proper track. Follow this track, and in just under 2 km it will lead you back to Mbotyi River Lodge.

Visiting Magwa Falls

Visiting Magwa Falls in Eastern Cape, South Africa

When you’re leaving Mboyti, about halfway to the main paved road there’s a turning to your left towards Magwa Falls. It’s 20 minutes drive each way from the turnoff to the waterfall. On the way, the road passes through Magwa Tea Plantation – you can do a tour and buy some tea at their factory on the way.

At the end of the road you’ll find a turning circle and place to park as well as a couple of picnic areas. From here, head right and towards a large stream. Magwa Falls are where this stream crashes over the cliffs to the left. To get to the best viewpoint, carefully cross over this stream – not too near the cliff edge and don’t cross if the river is too high.

On the other side, continue along the path through the trees and around the top of the canyon. From here you can see the waterfall. If you want to stay overnight nearby, check out this lovely self-catering cottage*. NOTE – this cottage is on the other side of the canyon to the parking just described. If you stay here, you need to take a completely different route in, don’t take the turnoff through the tea plantation.

Guidebooks to explore more of South Africa

Check out a hike at Coffee Bay, also on the Wild Coast, or find more hikes in our South Africa Hiking Guide.

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