cows on beach Wild Coast South Africa
Cows on the beach, Wild Coast, South Africa. All photos: Mike Geyer Nature's Whisperer

The first time I took a British friend to the Wild Coast she fell asleep in the back of our 4×4 and woke up where we had parked on the beach, near the shore. She opened the door… and got the fright of her life! A herd of cows was sitting around the vehicle. She had no idea cows could be beach bums like the rest of us, but as SA Tourism will tell you… being on Trennery’s beach in the “middle of a crazy Wild Coast cattle drive” is a truly authentic South African experience!

cows on beach South Africa
All photos by Eastern Cape photographer Mike Geyer (aka Nature’s Whisperer)

SA Tourism says: “Wild Coast cattle can look fierce when you come across them on the beach. But do not fear – they mostly come to relax and chew the cud in peace. They’re wonderful photographic subjects, with their long horns and the faraway look in their eyes.”

For those of us unable to travel at the moment, Eastern Cape photographer Mike Geyer (aka Nature’s Whisperer) has captured a mesmerising video of the world-famous Nguni cattle hanging out on the beach this week. Watch below.

Mike says: “Where do cows go to cool off in the Eastern Cape 🐮… The beach of course 🙂 On the Wild Coast in the Transkei of South Africa. It’s quite common in these parts of our beautiful province. And it’s wonderful to see them. In fact they go to the sea water for relief from parasites they pick up in the long grass. They go into the salty water and they drink it. Interesting fact for you 🐮 These cows are on the awesome beach at Trennerys 🐄🐃🐂🐮”

cow on beach

cattle on beach

One of Mike’s followers says: “This is what makes the Transkei so special, you learned to hop scotch the cow pats as a child!!😀”

According to South African Tourism the Xhosa people introduced cattle to the Wild Coast between 600 and 700 AD. Other sources say they were brought by the Nguni people, Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swazi people, during their migration to southern Africa between 600 and 1400 AD. Nowadays some look like pure-bred Nguni cows while others are more cross-bred and feral.

cattle on beach

As SA Tourism says: “There’s something soothing about the experience, surely one of the most bizarre things one can ever do on a beach.”

Interestingly though, South Africa’s cows aren’t the only ones who enjoy hanging out on the beach. In fact the cows in Goa, India, are known as “the happiest cows on earth” because they spend the day on the beach, and as holy animals, face no risk of being turned into a steak or burger. In Albania the cows also love to sleep on the beach.

A little less happy are the wild cows on the French island of Corsica who have been so harassed by tourists that one gored a woman (damaging her teeth and face) a few years ago when she got too close for a selfie!

cow on beach South Africa

The South African cows however are quite friendly. “Don’t be daunted by their “war paint” and their size. These beefy beachcombers are usually quite docile and will allow you to buzz around them and take photographs,” says SA Tourism.

WATCH: Mesmerising video of Nduni cows on a Wild Coast beach, South Africa