Mkambati Nature Reserve

Waterfall meets ocean on Africa’s wild southern shoreline


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The Mkambati River flows through an indigenous forest in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, hidden along a stretch of the Indian Ocean known as the Wild Coast. Unlike South Africa’s famed safari parks, the Mkambati Nature Preserve offers only seven humble "rondavels" (round huts) and a single cabin as accommodation. The beach isn’t accessible by road. Visitors either canoe along the coast, past the 16th-century shipwreck of the Sao Bento, or hike along a trail that follows the river.

The Mkambati cuts through indigenous forest where plants bloom year-round in blossoms that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Herds of eland and wildebeest drink from its clear waters, until they near its mouth. There the river crashes over the Horseshoe Falls, spilling over rocky terraces into the blue ocean below. It’s one of the only places in the world where waterfalls pour directly into the sea, and hardly anyone knows about it.

Photos: Ariadne Van Zandbergen/Getty Images, / Alamy Stock Photo, Ariadne Van Zandbergen/Getty Images, / Alamy Stock Photo

Did you know?

The water in the rock pools above the waterfall is said to be drinkable, with no humans living in the river's catchment area.


South Africa
Rugged and beautiful


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