One part of South Africa that I became most attached to during my most recent visit was the Wild Coast and in particular the small village of Coffee Bay.
Coffee Bay is unlike anywhere I had been to previously. Beautifully located right next to a beach and at the mouth of the River Mthatha it offers you so much for such a small place. The drive from Mthatha to the village is a stunning one, as you motor on dirt tracks across rolling green hills passing colourful mud huts along the way.
Coffee Bay became well known partly due to its party hostel the Coffee Shack which has thrived due to its great location. You can walk out from the back of the hostel straight onto the beach, before climbing the nearest hill to get amazing views over the bay. There is nothing better than taking a few cold beers up to the top and watching the sun set in the distance.
The surf here at Coffee Bay is likewise very good, especially for beginners as the waves aren’t quite as ferocious as those that can be found further up the coast towards Durban. If you prefer dry land then there are plenty of lovely walks around which can captivate you for hours.
One thing you can’t miss is the walk to the Hole in the Wall. Or do what I did and cheat by getting a lift on a clapped out motorbike that one of the locals owned. Luckily he passed me right at the start of my walk and offered to take me there and back in exchange for a beer later that night at the hostel bar. Due to the heat that day it was an offer that was too good to refuse. The views as you head over to the Hole in the Wall are again very picturesque and give you a real insight into Africa which is refreshing having just come from the more touristy Garden Route further south down the coast.
The Hole in the Wall is as it suggests, a hole in a wall, so don’t expect any surprises. The hole was formed from waves crashing into an isolated strand of rock and eroding a hole through the centre of it, which makes for an impressive sight. Despite it being a memorable feature, it is more the walk to it that stood out for me.
The trap I fell into whilst I was there was the same as many a traveller before me. The few days you spend there can soon turn into weeks as people get caught up in this great part of South Africa. Coffee bay is a little pocket of paradise where you can get attached to its idyllic location and the locals laid back approach to life. So beware!