A corner that only the most interested travelers have the pleasure of visiting, the Wild Coast is a treasure of untouchable nature in South Africa. Coffee Bay and Chintsa are the most popular destinations!
Located in the Eastern Cape Province, it is one of the poorest and least developed regions within the country, for several reasons, mainly because it was an area created by the government to separate the black population during the Apartheid regime, and even today it continues without many investments.
Little populated, it is inhabited mainly by the friendly Xhosa people (pronounced closa, with the click of a tongue), which maintains much of its traditional customs. It was in this region that Nelson Mandela was born, the most illustrious and adored of South African citizens. He, who is also of the Xhosa ethnicity, was born in the village of Mveso and grew up in Quno, the city where he was buried.
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The beautiful landscape of the Wild Coast region is a great contrast when compared to its history, which was formerly known as Transkei, a black ghetto created with the aim of separating blacks and whites.
More than 20 years later, the region remains neglected by the government, but its natural beauty and the culture of its people are gaining fame, which attracts an increasing number of tourists. Coffee Bay and Chintsa are the main destinations for visitors to the region.
Little Coffee Bay seems to have been forgotten in time. With difficult access, travelers who pass through it find a quiet village, with wonderful beaches and the right to a cultural immersion in the customs of the people of the Xhosa ethnic group, which Nelson Mandela was part of. The road that gives access to the village is not the best, with bad asphalt and many animals on the track, but each hole is worth it!
It is not for nothing that is in the script of Pangea Trails, a company that made the entire trip along the South African coast. The region is beautiful and, although isolated, there are several options of inns and hostels in the city.
In addition to the beaches, one of the main attractions in Coffee Bay is a three-hour trail that runs through the mountains (by the sea). The trail takes us to the so-called “Hole in the Wall”, A famous rock formation, very close to the continent, with a natural arch-shaped opening, giving the impression of being a portal to the immensity of the sea.
The landscape is breathtaking and at some higher points on the route it is possible to observe whales. It is not advisable to do the trail without a guide, but the service is offered in hostels and inns in the city.
Unfortunately it had rained a lot in the previous days and the forecast was not encouraging, so I ended up not having the chance to do the trail, and our guide Coffee Shack, a hostel / inn that mixes with the recent history of the region, took our group on a tour (don’t miss the full report Roberta, author of Territories, who told us in detail our experience).
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The small villages in the rural area of the “city” are also another great option for a walk. The most interesting thing about visiting these villages is that they seem to have stopped in time and are a great opportunity to get to know the friendly Xhosa people and their culture. When traveling through this region, it is possible to observe that along the roads there are several buildings that follow a different architectural pattern. They are huts in round shape and with thatched roofs, very typical of the Wild Coast.
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All ethnic families have a house like this, a cultural tradition of the Xhosa people, but they often live in a more modern house and next to it maintains a hut, according to their customs. This is because, for the Xhosa, the round houses signify a connection with the spiritual world. For them, these primitive constructions help the spirits of the ancestors, who recognize the old house and return to their family.
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Chintsa and the Bucanneers Backpackers
Another popular town on the Wild Coast is Chintsa, the one with more structure to cater to tourists. Its long beach is one of the most beautiful in the region, almost deserted, surrounded by mountains, dunes, rivers and a lagoon.
It is there that one of the most famous hostels in the country is located, the Buccaneers Lodge and Backpackers (book through Booking by clicking here). With sparse houses, it occupies a large piece of land between the mountains and with an incredible view of the beach and lagoon. There are accommodation options for all tastes, it has dorms, budget rooms and also “luxury” chalets.
Its structure also has a super lively bar, a restaurant, a yoga room and a huge swimming pool. They also offer free kayaks for guests, which is a great option, as very close to there, the river flows into the beach, a great place to paddle. Another tip is to take a horse tour covering the entire length of the beach.
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One of the coolest tours for anyone visiting Chintsa is the Quad Bike Safari (another excellent post from Roberta), which is nothing more than a type of safari driving an ATV. With an incredible landscape, it is possible to find on the route several animals typical of the local fauna, including elephants, cheetahs and giraffes!
Ahhhh, how amazing it was to interact with animals, in reserves that really preserve and care for animals, unlike other places that just explore animals for tourism. André, from Viagem Criativa, showed his experience in this post, including our unforgettable day with Abby, a giraffe that made everyone delight.
But the best program to do in the city, apart from meeting Abby :), is to dedicate time to contemplate the landscape and enjoy relaxing on the beach! Bora?
Tips on what to do in Chintsa and Coffee Bay?
The region of the wild coast is definitely among the most beautiful I have seen in South Africa, and because it is an area still in development, the experiences were very genuine and striking. Of course, traveling with the help of Pangea Trails it made it a lot easier, especially with all the knowledge that Alex, the guide and owner of the company, has about the country.
I would love to see your participation here on the blog, answering your questions or sharing something that can help other travelers. If you also have tips on what to do in Chintsa and Coffee Bay, or want to share an experience, leave your comment below.
Until + !!!
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