I can’t recall having as much fun as I did during my stay at the Coffee Shack in Coffee Bay – with an epic crowd of travelers, unbelievably friendly staff, great facilities, a beautiful location and and and… My only complaint about my time there would be that I had to leave. Reluctantly.
So if you’re keen on a visit and planning to stay less than a week, expect to change your departure date. Probably more than once.
Accommodation at The Coffee Shack comes in dorms, doubles or you can opt for the more chilled accommodation across the river. There are also a bunch of in-house activities on offer. At sixty bucks a person, you get their legendary toasties, killer local knowledge by the hiking guides, Jerry and Jon and the surf instructors, Neil and Dan.
Beach Day is a laid back way to get your chillax on – and a good place to start. Essentially it’s a group surf lesson. Kind conditions, in-depth lessons and individual attention have you up and riding waves in no time. Of all the lessons I witnessed, the success rate of non-surfers to beginner was pretty much 100%. The rest of the afternoon is given over to free surf time to fine tune your skills.
You can also rent wetsuits and boards if you just want to take the plunge by yourself. If you want to learn how to surf I am fairly certain Coffee Shack’s Surf school is the place to do it, it’s also by far the most affordable I have encountered and probably the most successful I have witnessed.
The Hole in the Wall hike, which pretty much took the whole day is another activity you really should do. Along the way guides, Jerry and Jon, give you the skinny on the history, culture and flora at the various stops which inevitably have incredible views over the coastline, I encountered undoubtably some of the most picturesque scenery I have ever seen.
The hike itself isn’t too strenuous and regular breaks with aforementioned views make it manageable and well worth it. Hole in the Wall is a pretty cool place, and most of our group plunged into the warm waters after the usual toasties for lunch, before relaxing under the trees and just appreciating the stunning landscape.
I did the Mapuzi Cliffs hike with a little nervousness in my stomach as I’m not good with heights, especially when I have to jump off them. Again the hike is relatively chilled and considerably shorter than the Hole in the Wall. After visiting the Cave, the natural jacuzzi and being blown away by the coast – it really is hard to get over how beautiful and untouched it is. It was then on to the jumps, where everyone did the 5 metre cliff jump into the ocean. Myself included. Conquer fear.. check! After that we made our way back to the river for another jump and onto a lazy lunch by the Mapuzi river.
The village walk is a great introduction to the local tribes, villages and culture. A visit to the sacred pools and a local lunch of pap and stew with one of the families in the village followed by a visit to the local shebeen for some beer rounded off a very cruisy day. It’s the easiest of the hikes and well worth it. There are also some epic photo opportunities.
Having done all the activities, I settled in for some relaxation and it didn’t take long until I was struggling to leave as this place tends gets you in a way that is hard to explain. I met so many cool people, many of whom I would now consider friends and this, I think is the crux of Coffee Bay and the Coffee Shack . It creates an environment to not only enjoy and experience the beauty of the area but to get to know people beyond the usual “where’re you from?”and “where’re you going?”.
Pay this place a visit if you can and expect to stay a lot longer than you intend. I am already planning my next visit.
Thanks to Dave and Bel for the incredible stay at the Coffee Shack, Cindy for all her help, knowledge and laughs and to the folks I met – it was great to meet you, I hope we do again soon. Thanks also to Hi South Africa for organizing.
Just an aside, the Coffee Shack are running an excellent project, a non-profit association, Sustainable Coffee Bay, to promote sustainable development within the greater Coffee Bay area.
Read more about the good work the Coffee Shack are doing here.