Coffee Bay offers a range of accommodation from camping to comfortable
hotels, but we opted for the best view and pitched camp in the
garden of Coffee Shack Backpackers. The Coffee Shack has changed
steadily over the past 5 years, but has lost none of it’s
charm and appeal. If anything, the facilities are cleaner, the
showers hotter and the staff friendlier than ever. Meals from
their tiny kitchen remain superbly delicious and the best value-for-money
anywhere in the E Cape.
Well fed, we spent Christmas day exploring some of the dirt roads
around Coffee Bay and made an obligatory stop at Hole-in-the-Wall.
This geological wonder is well worth a visit at low tide which
allows one to cross the river mouth and venture up into the hole.
Although somewhat precarious, this is also possible in the rain!
Stage 3 – Coffee Bay to Mkhambathi/Luphatana
via Mpande and Port St Johns
With no signs of the weather improving we opted to head off to
Mpande, some 40km before Port St John’s (PSJ) off the R61.
The rainy weather and 20km dirt track into Mpande prompted me
to lock hubs and engage 4H, a truly momentous occasion on our
otherwise tame trip thus far. A few bumps, puddles and kidney-belt
jokes later we arrived at Mpande beach feeling very satisfied
at our superior choice of vehicle in such tough conditions. And
we were able to park comfortably once the driver of the rental
VW Chico found his keys to move his car!
Mpande is an unspoilt gem. The combination of the beach, scenery,
hiking and horse riding make it easy to forget the relative close
proximity of ‘civilisation’ in Port St Johns. After
3 nights camping at ‘The Kraal’ (an eco-friendly place,
totally self sufficient and off the power/water grid) we headed
for Mkhambathi Nature Reserve via a fuel and lunch stop in PSJ.
Mpande Beach and The Kraal
At least you can fit more in a Hilux