Coffee Bay
Close to the ground.

GPS: S 31 59.162 E 029 08.895 | pop. 1,000 | elevation 12 m/39 ft

Coffee Bay is hard to get to and harder to leave. This gorgeous coastal enclave has fantastic beaches, rustic resorts and friendly locals more than willing to kick it with you for a night or two. All that changes a couple of times a year when Bomvu Backpackers organizes huge music festivals for 1,000 partygoers or more. In recent years, the sale and consumption of mushrooms and cannabis has become more popular here – it’s difficult to walk anywhere in town without being offered a handful of either. But despite this, the area has remained quaint and rural, due mostly to Coffee Bay locals who have insisted that the road into town remain unrepaired. The thoroughfare is pocked with thousands of sizeable potholes and drivers in both directions make use of the entire road to aim for the smaller holes. Watch out for oncoming traffic in your lane -especially at night.

Don't come to Coffee Bay expecting to do a lot - this is a town where doing nothing is an art in itself. Chill out, splash around the beaches, crack open a few beers in the early afternoon, and walk around to sniff out the town if you feel so inclined.

Coffee Shack Backpackers

Coffee Shack Backpackers offers surfing lessons with a guide and gear rental, guided hikes to the Hole in the Wall and day-long hikes to waterfalls.

Hole In The Wall

Hole In The Wall is a large natural rock formation with a hole right in the middle, just off the beach directly across from the Mpako River mouth. Depending on the tide, you can walk right up to the rock or sit back and watch the waves crashing through the tunnel.

To get there from Coffee Bay, head south along the coast on the dirt road from Bomvu Backpackers/Coffee Shack Backpackers and continue 9 kilometers to the Hole in the Wall. If you're going to leave your vehicle and walk down to the beach, it is best to ask to park at the Hole In The Wall Hotel as vehicles left on the side of the road have been broken into on occasion.

Coffee Bay is light on shopping options for necessities. There are a couple of small general stores but you're better off bringing what you'll need. Numerous women ply the beach area around the backpackers selling beadwork and crafts.

Bomvu River Store

Bomvu River Store has basic food essentials but not much else.


Bomvu Backpackers

Bomvu Backpackers is generally the more chill and quiet of the backpackers in town. There is a restaurant and bar in the main house, a large fire pit in back and a sprawling yard with a number of campsites. Surfing, horseback riding and drum-making workshops can be organized.

Coffee Shack Backpackers

Coffee Shack Backpackers is much more of a scene than its neighbor, with a bar that fills up every night of the week. The main lodge has a restaurant and a handful of rooms; six-bed dorms in rondavels are spread across the yard. Camping is right on the edge of the river, 50 meters from the ocean, and quieter private rooms are located across the water.

Coffee Shack runs a daily shuttle to the Baz Bus stop at Ultra City Shell filling station (S 31 36.814 E 028 44.042, N2) just outside of Mthatha and also offers a host of area adventure activities.

Sugar Loaf Backpackers

Sugar Loaf Backpackers is the latest backpacker addition to Coffee Bay, located away from the two other backpackers. The common area is large and loungy but rooms are a tight squeeze and dorm beds are stacked three high.


Ocean View Hotel

Ocean View Hotel is the most upmarket accommodation in Coffee Bay with 3-star accreditation. A string of blue ocean-themed rooms with views of the sea flank the sides of the main lodge. There are also a handful of family rooms that open onto the garden. Enjoy a meal overlooking the ocean on the deck of the onsite pub and restaurant.

White Clay Resort

White Clay Resort is a popular camping spot for people with overland vehicles. Campsites offer beautiful views of the Eastern Coast with a private beach below. White Clay also has self-catering options as well as standard B&B accommodation. There is a good restaurant and pub in the main lodge that is open to the public as well.

Bulungula Lodge

Bulungula Lodge is a fascinating cultural immersion for the traveler who has a little time. The site is eco-friendly, solar powered and activities are geared towards economic empowerment and sustainability of the Nqileni community, who own 40 percent of the lodge. Ten colorfully decorated huts offer excellent views and a peaceful base for you to explore the surrounding forest and beach. Life here is slow - it is a purposeful step away from the harried tourist route that allows you to learn more about the community and spend some time experiencing Xhosa culture.

To get there, take the Coffee Bay turnoff from the N2. On your right you will see Sibulele Store where you can pick up a map to the lodge. The village is only accessibly by 4x4s or you can park at the local Bulungula Store and either get picked up by shuttle or walk 3 kilometers to the village. Maps and detailed public transport options from Mthatha and Coffee Bay are available on its website. Using local minibus transport is encouraged and those who do arrive via public
transport get their first night free.

Jah Drums Cafe

Jah Drums Cafe prepares one wholesome and delish dish per day. Meals selections include veg or chicken curry, veg wraps, and chicken braai. You can hang out with the rastas and take drum lessons here as well.

Papazela's Pizzeria

Papazela's Pizzeria is perched up on the hillside with an outdoor deck facing the ocean. It has the best pizza in town and like the rest of Coffee Bay, everything is relaxed.

White Clay

White Clay has some of the best meals around. Large servings of line fish, prawns, mussels and steak dominate the menu along with sizable sides and a decent wine and dessert selection. There is also a small pub attached to the restaurant.

Ocean View Hotel

Ocean View Hotel serves pub grub and light meals as well as a small dinner selection that includes a handful of seafood options. Enjoy your meal inside or on the deck overlooking the ocean.

All of the bars in town are attached to lodging or a restaurant.

Coffee Shack Backpackers

The liveliest drinking scene for the backpacker crowd is at Coffee Shack Backpackers and the bar across the road at Bomvu Backpackers.

Bomvu Backpackers

Bomvu Backpackers is generally more relaxed.