It is now widely appreciated internationally that rural communities make extensive use of wild resources, and that this use has significant direct use value. The number of case studies in South Africa that have valued the use of such resources are small, albeit growing. Yet none of them have been from coastal sites, which would include use of marine resources, nor have previous studies included the non-biological resources of sand and clay for building purposes. This paper addresses this gap, through examination of the role and value of wild resources in rural livelihoods of households in the Ntubeni and Cwebe areas of the Transkei Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape. Households used a wide range of resources collected from the surrounding communal lands and the Dwesa Cwebe Nature Reserve. Major differences between the sites were the widespread use of bushmeat, shellfish and building sand at Ntubeni compared with relatively small use of these three resources at Cwebe. These differences resulted in a markedly higher, gross, annual, direct-use value at Ntubeni than at Cwebe. The gross, annual, direct-use value averaged across all resources (excluding medicinal plants) and all households (user and non-users) was over R12 000 at Ntubeni, compared to R4 858 at Cwebe. At Ntubeni over half of the total annual direct-use value was contributed by fish and shellfish, indicating the need for more studies in coastal areas. A similar pattern was not evident at Cwebe, because residents did not have access to a rocky shoreline outside of the marine reserve. Local trade was highly variable, both between resources and between households. Averaging the value of trade across all households (i.e. traders and non-traders), gave a total gross, annual value of R1 660 and R600 at Ntubeni and Cwebe, respectively.