It doesn’t get wilder than the dramatic stretch of Wild Coast along South Africa’s south-east coastline. Running approximately 250km from East London in the south to Port Edward up north, the Wild Coast is home to a most unusual and legendary coastal wonder.
Hole in the Wall, or izi Khaleni in isiXhosa (meaning “place of thunder”) is found 10km from Coffee Bay, the “tourist hub” of the Wild Coast. This place of thunder is a huge natural marine arch in the warm Indian Ocean, just slightly detached from the coast. Most visitors choose to base themselves in Coffee Bay – a hike or a rather bumpy 40-minute drive from Hole in the Wall.
Coffee Bay and surrounds were previously known as the Transkei and traditional isiXhosa culture still informs the simple and secluded way of life. Cows roam on the beaches and colourful thatched rondavels dot the hills. Coffee Bay is a year-round destination. With average winter low temperatures of eightºC and a summer maximum of 28ºC, the weather is pleasant and the water is warm.
Perhaps nowhere else in South Africa is it easier to understand and appreciate the richness of isiXhosa culture than in this traditional setting largely untouched by time. Immersing yourself in the culture during a village experience is a must-do. Here you’ll meet locals who, despite their humble surroundings, are warm and welcoming and have proudly maintained their traditional way of life.
After turning off the N2, the road to Coffee Bay winds its way through the veld and past high cliffs, sheer drops and traditional villages, before the ocean starts to peek out in front of you as you edge closer to the coast.
Your first view of the famous Hole in the Wall will be from the top of the hill. From this vantage point, you can fully appreciate this unique natural treasure. The green hills slope down to the beach and, more often than not, expect a handful of grazing cows to photobomb that perfect Insta shot. On the beach, you can relax and swim and, when the tide is right, brave the 70m cliff jump. At high tide, the waves crash into the rock so loudly that the thunderous sound echoes through the valley – hence its local name, izi Khaleni.
What to do in Coffee Bay
Coffee Bay is indeed an adventure seekers’ paradise. Quad biking, fishing, cliff jumping, abseiling, diving, surfing, kayaking and more await.
Where to stay in Coffee Bay
Where to eat in Coffee Bay