Lately, I have been feeling drawn to travel to parts of South Africa that we seldom hear about. I have been to Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg countless times. Yes these cities have a lot to offer but why not step out onto a road less traveled and discover something new?
Coffee Bay is in Eastern Cape, South Africa. It is along what is known as the Wild Coast which gets its name from the rough waves that have been the cause of many shipwrecks.
How to get there
If you are traveling from outside of the Eastern Cape, you can fly to East London airport. From East London airport, Coffee Bay is a 4 hour drive (288km). It took us 6 hours though – we stopped a lot along the way and the dirt roads add some time to the trip.
One of the lessons learnt from this trip is that it is a shorter drive from Umthatha airport to Coffee Bay – could have saved so much! Flights to Umthatha may be more expensive so just make sure you weigh driving cost against flight cost.
Where to stay
I stayed at White Clay Resort, which is made up of neat log cabins on a hill facing the ocean. For more on White Clay Resort, read my previous post: https://gophari.com/2017/05/18/visit-white-clay-resort-coffee-bay/
What to do
If you fly to East London, you may want to spend a night there and travel nice and early the following day. If so, I suggest staying the night in Gonubie, East London. The Edge Boutique Bed & Breakfast is a luxurious option with an incredible view.
Wake up early and take a walk/jog to Gonubie beach to catch the sunrise.
Buy some snacks for the road trip at a grocery store in Gonubie and then travel to Coffee Bay. Make sure you buy enough water to keep you hydrated through the drive.
Arrive at Coffee Bay and settle in to your accommodation. Enjoy a seafood dinner overlooking the ocean at White Clay Resort restaurant.
Hike to Hole in the Wall. You can do this hike alone or join the guided hike offered by backpackers, Coffee Shack. Residents of Coffee Shack get first dibs so make sure to call the night before to add your name to the waiting list. It costs R20 and includes a guided hike as well as toasted sandwiches, fruit and juice upon arrival at Coffee Bay and a ride back to Coffee Shack. The guided hike begins at 10:30am. It takes approximately 3 hours to get to Hole in the wall. You then spend time at Hole in the Wall before being driven back to Coffee Bay at 3:30pm.
The hike to Hole in the Wall is a 9km hike from Coffee Bay over hills, along the beach, across streams and on the edge of cliffs through rural Eastern Cape. I found the hike quite physically challenging because of the uphills but it was worth it because of the incredible VIEWS.
The cows there are like none other – they sunbathe! I joined them 🙂
You will be hiking with cows, sheep, donkeys and goats. I found this fascinating because, to me, the beach was such an unsuspecting setting to find these animals.
When you arrive at Hole in the Wall, your jaw will drop at the beauty of the natural rock artwork. Once you pick your jaw back up, SWIM! The water is warm and clear. It is not like most popular beaches with hotels and restaurants all along it’s shore, it is almost completely undisturbed. It’s like having a giant wave pool all to yourself! Note: Wear your swimming costume underneath your hiking wear – this works well because there is no where to change once you arrive at Hole in the Wall.
Join the Coffee Shack guided hike to Mpuzi caves. This hike is shorter (5km) and less strenuous than the hike to Hole in the Wall so it’s manageable as a back to back hike. As with the hike to Hole in the Wall, the views on this hike are spectacular. The coastline is so undisturbed and peaceful and it’s natural beauty is well sustained.
I spent a moment sitting on the rocks on the shore, admiring the shells. They are scattered so perfectly over the rocks – they tell a story of how alive the ocean is.
Jump off cliffs into rock pools. You may have second thoughts while you are standing on the edge and looking down – do it anyway. The day ends off with toasted sandwiches and juice and a lift back to Coffee Shack at 3:00pm.
Coffee Bay captured my heart. I left there wanting to shout out to the world: GO TO COFFEE BAY!! It’s a great option for a refreshing long weekend away with friends, family or bae. I hope this blog post helps you plan your trip. Feel free to ask me any questions and I will advise as best as I can.
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