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South Africa

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Coffee Bay, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape

Hole in the Wall, Coffee BayIt was perhaps slightly unfortunate for 16th century sailors that they were unaware that this most scenically spectacular part of South Africa’s coastline would later become known as the ‘Wild Coast’. For, if this was the case, they may not have chosen to sail to this part of the world and face a tragic end to their journeys. However, the shipwrecks scattered along the Wild Coast form an integral part of its history, and Coffee Bay is no exception.

At the sight of the rugged sea-cliffs stretching for several kilometres on either side, and the sea battering into the shallow and exposed bay, Coffee Bay will almost certainly come to epitomise the ‘Wild Coast’ in your mind. Had the sailors of the ship that lost its cargo of coffee beans in a wreck in the bay – owing to Coffee Bay’s name – known of the phenomenon of the ‘Wild Coast’, they probably would have thought the same.

The Wild Coast is also known for its magnificent coastal rock formations and could easily be said to be a geological wonder of the world’s coastlines. Hole in the Wall, just 8km south of Coffee Bay on the coast, is perhaps the most famous of these geological attractions. A literal hole in an isolated piece of offshore rock, carved by the path of the Mpako river flowing into the sea, makes for an astoundingly beautiful natural phenomenon. The Xhosa people have named it ‘esiKhaleni’, which means ‘place of sound’.

En route to the beautiful coastline, the rolling-green hills dotted with traditional Xhosa huts that characterise this region, make for a humbling entrance into a humbling part of the world. And the spirit of being humbled by nature and the traditional people will surely become significant during your time here.

There is quite literally something for everyone here. Adventure and outdoor fundis will find plenty to do, with surfing, abseiling, quadbiking, spearfishing, hiking and horse riding being popular activities. Culture fundis will also enjoy a tour of the local community run by the local Xhosa people. And, for those simply wishing to relax their souls and take in the inspiring breath of nature, well, there’s probably no better part of South Africa.

Getting there: From East London, take the N2 going towards Umtata. Approximately 10km from Umtata you will see a sign going to ‘Coffee Bay’. Take this road and exercise caution along this route. The road is tarred but is known for some quite dangerous potholes. Stick to 60km/h maximum.

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