The anticipation of a new destination punctuated the air with laughter. None of us had been to the Wild Coast before and our minds conjured images stolen from budget travel guides and well-thumbed backpacker manuals. Still in Hogsback, in the midst of a bitterly cold winter, we shared stories gleaned from others, of the abundance of oysters and warm waters for night swimming, sun-kissed bodies, perfect surf and endless summers. We exhausted the cocktail menu that night, already preparing for the next chapter of our already poetic getaway.
Morning finally broke and we bundled ourselves into our cars and headed towards Cintsa, in the Transkei. Leaving everything we knew behind, the landscape began to change rapidly, giving way to rolling green and golden hills and cows roaming freely in the roads. Completely un-littered with ugly buildings and structures, the open plains were only peppered with clay huts and rural scenes. My eyes drank in the wild landscapes, like I’d discovered a new land …
We arrived at the ocean in the evening and ran down to the beach like excited, giggling children. The moon was hanging lazily in the sky, lighting up the dark waters lapping quietly onto the sand. We dived in. Soft, warm water swirled around our bodies, our faces. Holding my breath underwater, I finally broke the surface, met only by a blanket of stars above me. I could still make out everyone’s faces in the dusk, with their glistening smiles and expressions of awe. I knew we’d all fallen in love simultaneously.
We spent the night experiencing the warmth of other travellers, to the sound of cool beers glasses clinking and the beats of a summer soundtrack. I awoke to the beauty of a new day and ran down to the ocean again. The more time I spent in the water, the more I felt my normal worries wash off me. We packed up and headed for Coffee Bay, where we planned to book into Bomvu Backpackers.
True to their tagline, Bomvu was ‘more than a backpackers.’ Surrounded by so much natural beauty, with 3 man hammocks hanging from the trees and a fully equipped rustic restaurant and cocktail bar, we succumbed to our whims and relaxed more than we thought we could! I went on two outrides and had the pleasure of experiencing Coffee Bay on horseback. We went on day trips to ‘Hole in the Wall’ and Mdumbi, one of the best surf spots along the wild coast. The first day we visited Mdumbi, I braved the strong current and the killer whales breeching further out and dived in the hopes of finding some crayfish for lunch. Thanks to an experienced diver friend of mine, we managed to feed everyone.
Our favourite lunchtime expedition was to local resident ‘Spud’s’ restaurant, which was located inside his home, in the middle of nowhere with uninterrupted views of the rolling hills down towards the sea. A husband and wife team, Spud and his wife entertained us, while Spud served ice cold draught from his fully equipped bar, leaving his wife to serve the best fish and chips I’d ever had. We spent most of our evenings swimming in the warm waters of the bay and sipping on cocktails at the bar back at Bomvu.
Our experience of the Wild Coast was as heady and intoxicating as the place itself. We headed into the sunset with our backs towards the ocean, promising we’d be back again to this undisturbed slice of paradise.