Wild Coast Wonder

Fish, surf and hike in unspoilt Coffee Bay


Named after hundreds of coffee trees which grew from beans either scattered by a shipwreck or by plunderers, Coffee Bay is one of the most beautiful and exciting destinations for travellers in Africa. Off the beaten track and in a remote rural community, it offers some of the most awe-inspiring attractions for South African and international travellers alike.

Coffee Bay is a great beachcomber town. You can spend hours walking up and down finding exotic shells. It is full of rustic lodges and bars, sandy beaches and unforgettable hikes. It also has a tarred road from the N2, unlike the majority of rural Eastern Cape towns. This has given it an access point that other towns lack. This hasn’t spoilt Coffee Bay by turning it into a developed city, but it has allowed for a steady stream of tourism over the years.

Coffee Bay is found on the rugged Wild Cost between Port St. Johns and East London.The Wild Coast is so named due to the large amount of ships wrecked on its shores. When you stand on the coast overlooking kilometres of unspoilt beaches, the distant cliffs plunge straight down into crystal clear waters. It’s as if the continent ends at the shoreline. In a way it does. The continental shelf can be found a mere 3km from the shore, unlike the usual 30km or more.This allows for great shore angling. Large cob upwards of 8kg as well as steenbras and salmon are regularly pulled out. A few famous fishing spots around Coffee Bay are Kelly’s and Frank’s Rock’s, where bronze bream, galjoen and zebra fish can all be caught. Sugarloaf Point is amazing for gullyfish at low tide, while Du Toit’s point near Bomvu river is incredibly dangerous but very lucrative with massive cob, garrick, shad and kingfish.March sees the start of crayfish season where this succulent delicacy can be caught or bought from a local at low prices. Deep-sea fishing is a short trip from the shore, not a long journey on the boat. Hikers will never run out of walks or waterfalls. Some of the most famous hikes in South Africa start, end or go through Coffee Bay, while surfers will find a paradise with great spots all the way up and down the coast.Coffee Bay beach is considered one of the best surf spots to learn with consistent and easy surf. Breezy Point, The Haven, Mpame and Sharpley’s Reef are but some of the world-famous surf spots found near Coffee Bay.Coffee Bay is a great area to go horseback riding, cliff jumping, abseiling or snorkelling. There is so much to see and do in Coffee Bay, many travellers have never left.There are many accommodation options in Coffee Bay from 3 or 4 star hotels like Ocean View or Hole in the Wall to backpackers, campsites and rural homestays.

Connecting the community

Coffee Bay is part of the Tshezi Xhosa community in what was once an independent homeland called the Transkei during apartheid. As such, the people in this community still lag years behind the rest of South Africa in terms of development and basic service delivery. There is also a lack of schools and a de-emphasis on education which helps perpetuate this cycle of poverty.Tourism, however, directly benefits locals by bringing money into the area.

The Coffee Bay website, www.coffeebay.co.za, was created by an American tourist who fell in love with the people, the area, and its beauty. Intended as a portal for travellers to find all the information they need to enhance their stay in Coffee Bay, the website also connects them with the locals they are supporting.It will show them how needed and appreciated their business is and showcase the important work being done by so many charities and NGOs throughout the area and its surrounds.Coffee Bay is a town whose residents are worlds away from the international and national travellers that regularly flood its shores.The understanding and appreciation between these two groups is key to the sustainability of tourism in the Transkei.Coffee Bay can serve as an example for so many rural and beautiful Eastern Cape, towns or any coastal towns that are disconnected from the phone and computer screens of today’s traveller.

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This edition

Issue 64


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