Contrary to popular belief, Coffee Bay (or Koffie Bay) has little to do with coffee. In place of coffee plants is a hilly, rural seaside community. Traditional huts and free-roaming cattle dot the spectacular landscape. And the famous Hole-in-the-Wall rock arch acts as the ocean’s gatekeeper.

The sleepy coastal village has become a popular backpackers’ destination. And it’s arguably the best spot for backpacking in SA. Leaving behind the hustle of Joburg and overcrowded Cape Town, backpackers find a haven in the quiet, tropical paradise of Coffee Bay.

The Wild Coast is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts and seekers of deep-rooted local culture. Look out for cheap flights to a nearby airport (Durban Int Airport, Port Saint Johns Airport or Umtata Airport) or hire a car and take a scenic drive up to Coffee Bay.

Coffee Bay Accommodation

There are no garish hotels lining the sea and blocking ocean views. In fact, there are hardly any hotels at all. Dorm rooms, eco-lodges and rustic cabins are the names of the game in Coffee Bay. A backpacker’s holy grail, right?

But the backpackers are definitely the shining gems of accomodation in Coffee Bay. These have become a refuge for like-minded people from all over the world.

Coffee Bay Backpackers

Coffee bay wouldn’t be the best spot for backpacking in South Africa without some epic backpackers options. Listed below are the two best backpackers in Coffee Bay.

  • Coffee Shack Backpackers

The most popular backpackers which put Coffee Bay on the map as a backpacking destination. The accommodation is simple and rustic, offering private rooms, dorms and camping. But it’s all about the vibe at Coffee Shack.

It’s a tropical paradise close to the beach with a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Locals from the community and backpackers mingle at the bar over a game of pool. And the activities are endless. You can learn how to surf or take a guided day trip to amazing spots like Mpuzi cliffs and caves.

And then there are the freebies. Free Sunday night dinners, djembe drum sessions and the use of bodyboards. You can also forage for oysters and mussels and learn about Xhosa culture.

Committed to creating a unique and laidback social vibe, the Coffee Shack is a retreat for backpackers from all walks of life.

  • Sugarloaf Backpackers

This backpackers sits on the mouth of the river Mnenga with views of Coffee Bay Beach. It is the perfect location to revel in the scenic Coffee Bay landscape. Family holiday home turned backpackers, Sugarloaf has a homely atmosphere.

It is a secluded and tranquil backpackers focused on the small things in life. Like watching the sunset while crayfish cooks on the braai. Or waking up to the sunrise on the river as you step out of your safari tent.

Set yourself up in a dorm, an en suite bungalow or safari tent and relax.

Coffee Bay Camping

Sometimes the best way to experience the awesome offerings of nature is to get back to basics. Camping in Coffee Bay is safe and beautiful. You can choose to escape from everything and camp in secluded spots with only goats for company. Or you can choose a lively campsite buzzing with backpackers and the best of both worlds.

Coffee Shack and Sugar Loaf both offer camping but here are two more camping options, just in case.

  • Jah Drums

Situated just above Coffee Shack (so close enough for a beer and a game of pool) is Jah Drums Cafe. Unfortunately, you may not pitch your own tent. However, they provide a number of safari tents with awesome ocean views.

  • Coffee Bay Campsite

A quiet and secluded campsite for the lone wolf backpacker. Nestled in a hidden cove with a private beach, it is peaceful and serene.

During high season, a communal campfire and live music bring campers together under the night sky. The campsites are tucked away in an indigenous forest. Providing a lot of shade from the scorching African sun.

Things to do in Coffee Bay

The Wild Coast is for nature lovers. For communing with the natural world, some of the best swell in South Africa and exploring the countryside.

Are you looking for secret spots and hidden adventures? Are your days of backpacking through tourist traps spent?

These are some of the best activities to sate all of your outdoor desires.

  • Surf! Coffee Bay is one of the best surf spots in South Africa. If you’re a surfer, you know what to do – get out into the waves. If you’re a newbie, there are a couple of surf schools where you can rent boards and get lessons.

  • Do a coastal hike to Hole-in-the-Wall. This is the natural landmark of the wild coast and the 7km hike has amazing views.

  • Kayak the river if you’re looking for a more relaxing water sport.

  • Visit the Mapuzi caves and cliffs. The sunset views from the cliffs are especially awe-inspiring. If you’re brave, there are cliff diving spots. And for a more relaxed swim, beautiful rock pools.

  • Forage for mussels and oysters depending on the season and the ocean’s generosity. Not only is this fun, but you get to indulge in your delicious spoils.

  • Visit Mdumbi beach. Voted one of the most beautiful beaches in South Africa. You can fish, surf and kayak

Coffee Bay, Eastern Cape – A Backpacker’s Dream

Are you convinced that Coffee Bay is the best backpacking spot in South Africa? With endless outdoor activities, authentic experiences and like-minded travellers, you should be!

Coffee Bay certainly lives up to the Wild Coast’s name. A truly raw and exciting South African destination. There is so much more to South Africa than safaris. Explore the lesser-known gems of the country and find out for yourself why Coffee Bay is one of the best.