I’ve been away from the ocean for too long, I thought to myself as I nursed a post-festival come-down. Nestled deep in the countryside of KwaZulu-Natal, I was hours away from the nearest ocean. A cold swim and a fresh breeze would be undeniably stellar. So instead of doing the sensible thing and moving north to Johannesburg, I decided to backtrack down to the ocean and further condense what had already felt like a rushed itinerary. To the Wild Coast we go.
I knew it was called the Wild Coast but I didn’t really know why it was called the Wild Coast. Come to think about it, I don’t really know why South Africa’s routes are named the way they are. The Garden Route didn’t really have too many Gardens. Surely the Wild Coast was just another undeserved nickname. Nope. Pretty wild.
I arrived in the bustling industrial city of Mthatha and parked myself in the Shell station that I would call home for the next few hours. I sat and waited for my shuttle to come pick me up and whisk me away to Coffee Bay. With a name like Coffee Bay, you don’t really expect something “wild.” Every “Bay” I had been to in South Africa so far had just been surfboards and Cali vibes. Mossel Bay, Betty’s Bay, Jeffrey’s Bay, etc. Surely Coffee Bay wouldn’t be too different.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. I hopped on the shuttle to Coffee Bay and we careened off of the N2 highway. Although the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have been omnipresent since I left Durban, staying on the highway kept things pretty tame. Hundreds of sharp turns, potholes, and cows in the road later, we pulled into my backpackers lodge. Passing by one overturned taxi made me feel lucky to be alive, albeit a bit nauseous. I quickly checked into my hostel before rushing to the beach in the backyard to take in that crisp ocean breeze to clear my head and exhale the nausea.
My short time in Coffee Bay was spent mostly in a Xhosa village called Rini. It was a refreshing change from being surrounded by the Western civilization that I sought to escape when I decided to come to Africa. The drastic change in scenery, immersion in a new culture, and unpolluted rural air was all I could have asked for.
From hiking along the violent and untouched coastline to having dinner and drinks at a Xhosa hut, my experiences were diverse and rich. It was a testament to the incredible variety of things you can accomplish in South Africa if you opt to step away from your comfort zones and the typical tourist fare. It truly felt like I had entered another world for the first time in a long time.
Dinner at a Xhosa hut calls for a welcome song and dance. Thankfully the dancing came before the meal otherwise we would have been far too full to pull off any dance moves.
The rural countryside, featuring our dinner stuffed inside those two pots.
Just a quick shoutout to my homie. I put a camera in his hands and homie was a natural.
Just cows by the beach. You’ll come to see that I took a lot of pictures of cows on this trip.
Like I said, a lot of cows.
Anyway, here comes the good stuff. The scenery, ya feel? If you don’t know why it’s called the Wild Coast, these pictures will explain it all.
And just for good measure, here’s a goat chillin’.