Ahhh Coffee Bay, everybody stops by there and everybody loves it. A recommendation to all who might be travelling that way, stop there it is a cool little place. Not that it is the easiest place to get to but that is part of its appeal! Coffee Bay is so named because in the 1800s apparently a shipwrecked nearby and as a result coffee beans (large amounts of ) were washed up on the shore.
So you get dropped off in Umtata at a shell service station and you think surely it is not too much further from here, well it is another hour off the main road to the hostel it is crazy. A minibus picks you up and takes you on a bumpy ride through the townships of this area. Yes admittedly when you first set off you might think where on earth are you taking me and be a little uneasy about your surroundings but soon the bumpy roads and run down townships turn into the most amazing green hills I have ever seen. Imagine postman pat introduction and magnify those hills by about one thousand and you will soon begin to get an idea of the size of these hills. Add some turquoise xhosa huts and some cattle and there you have it. These hills continue for miles right up until they meet the ocean and I have to say hands down that although it was a long journey it was probably one of my favourites so far.
So we arrive at the hostel the Coffee Shack and the staff are so friendly and again this hostel is not only in one of my favourite places but it is also one of the best set up hostels I have visited. Because yes it is in the back of beyond they have to keep everyone entertained so they put on activites everyday and they serve up brilliant gnosh at a nothing price. Now if from that little speil i havent convinced you you should stay there then there is something wrong.
During my stay there I saw some old faces from previous stops including Matt and Ali and Dan and Ben but I also made some really cool new friends by the name of Bonnie and Fiona two girls from Melbourne Australia.
During the few days I was there we tried our hand at surfing..... not very successful well I wasnt anyway, the current was so strong and with the constant droning of the instructor saying I had to concentrate I can tell you I was sort of relieved to get out of the water. I think it is a pretty tough place to learn I dont recall it being that hard in Newquay! Despite this it was lots of fun and we spent the rest of the afternoon playing volleyball on the beach. It was very hot and I got some gorgeeous sunburn and handprint marks on my back..... attractive!!! That was a very chilled day and Joseph one of the guys who works at the hostel makes a mean toastie. Also very bizarre cattle on the beach... why I ask myself but im sure there is some evolutionary explanation behind this probably something to so with the cooling ocean breeze.
Anyhow that evening after a long day on the beach we went to the local shebeen for sundowners. Now for those of you who do not know what a shebeen is it is an illegal township drinking establishment only this one is meant to be legak. I didnt actually get any pictures of this place which is a real shame because in terms of my portrait photography I could have got some real beauties here. It was a real experience lots of locals were there drinking their bottles of beer and trying to sell their wares too the tourists which we were informed that we should not encourage.
So you need to imagine a singular brick building with a fence inside with a singular person behind serving the thirsty community. The bottles of beer and smirnoff ice or whatever your tipple are massive like two pints I reckon all for 12 rand which is like 80 pence that is quite ridiculous and no it wasnt metholated spirits that we were drinking. After sundowners t was back to the hostel for dinner and killer pool which i have to say I was rubbih at.
It was a manic night but a good laugh a fewof the guys thought about doing a skinny dip in the river but I think they changed their minds after they stucktheir toe in the water. I got an offer to stay in a traditional xhosa hut with one of the guys that work there but I politley declined ... I wonder how many people get that offer quite a few im sure.
S after a late night we all fell into our beds I had to be up te following dayto make my way to mpande my next stop on the coast of south africa.