Coffee Bay and the Transkei changed me. They touched my soul, and I can’t really explain why or how. There’s something spiritual about the Transkei. It’s quiet, serene and raw. But, it’s also fun, vibrant and alluring. It’s everything and nothing all at once. It is perfect.
Where was I?
Righto, so, for my series on the smaller, less commonly visited places to see and love in South Africa, Coffee Bay just has to feature.
This is a surfing hotspot and one of the top destinations for travellers that enjoy the backpacker vibe. It is only a few kilometres from Hole in the Wall (which is just spectacular, especially for snorkelling). But, it’s undoubtedly rural. The campgrounds leave a lot to be desired (think a leguaan running past your tent, spiders the size of my hand, and showers with cold water and no doors). So, I’d like to state right at the beginning that you should absolutely book into a guest house, hotel or backpackers. Please.
Coffee Bay has the kind of beauty that takes your breath away. Black cliff faces tumble down to ivory sand, which is lapped by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. The cliffs are covered in jade-green grass that looks like the velvet inner of a jewellery box. The Xhosa huts dot the hills and mountain tops and are surrounded by the veggie gardens of the locals and the children that can make a toy out of just about anything.
The Chilled Coffee Bay Vibe
The Transkei is, largely, about surfing, sipping beers around the bonfire, chatting to other backpackers from around the world, hiking, swimming, and avoiding (probably…maybe…) those trying to sell you some of the local “crops”. If you’ve been there, you’ll know what I’m talking about. These all combine to create an atmosphere of peace, love and unity; no matter where you’re from or why you’ve chosen Coffee Bay as your escape from the real world.
Coffee Bay is dinkum rural. Like, rural huts, cattle, and traditional dancing rural. And it’s not put on for tourists, this is life. Many of the African locals weren’t even familiar with technology the last time I was there. They washed my paper plates and hung them on the line. There are just some elements of modern life that haven’t hit there yet. So, tourists wanting authentic Xhosa culture are definitely going to get it in Coffee Bay.
Coffee Bay Climate
Although it’s part of the Eastern Cape, the Transkei coast tends to feel a bit like KwaZulu-Natal. It is hot and humid, sunshiney and sometimes wet. But, always beautiful.
Here are a few more things that make Coffee Bay so special:
- The waters here are wild. There are sharks, jellyfish, rips, currents, and spectacular waves. Surfers come from all around to surf these sets, and you should too.
- It is close to Umtata, Richard’s Bay, Durban and East London.
- Papazela’s – this restaurant serves a-ma-zing pizzas with an even more delicious chilli sauce.