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Sadly, quality accommodations on the Wild Coast remain thin on the ground (or often take the form of sprawling resorts geared at families) -- but the breathtaking natural surroundings can be worth a dip in luxury levels. At Qhorha Mouth, a river carves its way through forested hills to the sea; here you will find Kob Inn (tel. 047/499-0011; www.kobinn.co.za), a child's paradise with trampolines, a pool, volleyball, and canoes -- plus mountain bikes and a 6km (3 3/4-mile) trail along the coast for older nature lovers. The 45 simple rooms are in thatched blocks; request the honeymoon suite or cottage for maximum comfort. Rates reach R730 for sea-facing rooms and R770 for the honeymoon suite in peak season but include all meals; ask about specials.

Another option worth highlighting, much farther up the coast (best approached from the KwaZulu-Natal side), is Mbotyi River Lodge (tel. 039/253-7200; www.mbotyi.co.za; high season sea-facing units R1,860 double, upgraded units R2,080 double, low season from R1,230 double; all meals included), which has basic thatch bungalows or timber cabins with balconies or patios (ask for a sea or lagoon view; "upgraded" rooms also have air-conditioning and TVs, and specify if you want a bathtub). Don't expect too much in terms of luxury or decor, but the surroundings are exquisite -- activities include walks, bird-watching, horseback-riding, fishing, mountain biking (bikes can be rented), and, of course, spending time lapping up sunshine on the pristine beaches and exploring the tidal estuary and surrounding waterfalls. Children are welcome and babysitting services are available. Those who really want to stretch their muscles can consider the Wild Coast Pondo Walk, which is run from Mbotyi, by the same people who run the Wild Coast Meander: You'll go on four different guided, 1-day trails ranging from 13 to 26km (8-16.1 miles) -- two along the coast and two inland -- over 4 days. You'll land back at Mbotyi every night, so no camping required. Visit www.wildcoastholidays.co.za for more information.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.