This famous rock formation eight kilometres south of Coffee Bay is one of two natural marine arches in South Africa. The rolling green hills of the Wild Coast drop off into a warm and deep blue Indian ocean and the squat block of “wall” (a detached cliff) stands out prominently at the mouth of the Mpako River.
It was the constant flow of the river that carved out an opening over many millennia. At high tide, the clap of the waves being hurled through the hole echoes across the valley, prompting the Xhosa people to name it iziKhaleni, meaning “place of thunder”.
According to legend, the cliff screened the locals from the Sea People until one of them spotted and wooed a beautiful girl to the shore. The Sea People got a giant sea creature to bash a hole through the cliff, through which they streamed and whisked away the girl. Supposedly, the rush of the Sea People can still be heard in the hole at certain times.
There is accommodation nearby at the Hole in the Wall Hotel and Holiday Village two kilometres from the Mpako mouth: a campsite, backpackers, 26 thatched en-suite rooms and 28 eight-sleeper self-catering cottages. The “Entertainment Village” has a swimming pool, bars, volleyball court, children’s play area, a la carte restaurant, lounge with DSTV and pool tables.
The best road to Hole in the Wall is via Coffee Bay, one of the more accessible Wild Coast destinations that is reachable from the N2 via a 75-kilometre tarred road with the odd pothole. A 10-kilometre gravel road leads to Hole in the Wall… a worthwhile adventure to see this mesmerising work of nature.
Look out for
The lagoon is beautiful for peaceful swims.
The Hotel offers fishing and boating charters, swimming, sunbathing, surfing and fishing, beach sports, 4x4 adventures, horse-riding and guided cultural tours.
Coffee Shack Backpackers guides tours to Hlungunwane Waterfall to abseil a 45-metre cliff next to “Baby Hole”, as well as day trips to Mapuzi cliffs and caves, mangrove canoe trips, cultural tours and the “Easy” Falls adventure hike. Those not staying at Coffee Shack can join but call beforehand.
Hluleka Nature Reserve is a 772-hectare coastal reserve an hour’s drive north of Coffee Bay, encompassing the Congwane Mtombo and Ndabeni Hluleka forest reserves. Rocky seashores, lagoons and evergreen forests can be explored via winding paths with exceptional birdlife, including black-bellied starling and olive bush shrike. Hilltop clearings afford spectacular dolphin and whale sightings. Fishing is allowed (common catches are blacktail, shad and kob). Wooden chalets at the rest camp sleep six, with ocean and forest views.