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Visiting Hole in the Wall

After spending the night in Coffee Bay at Coffee Shack, and getting up the next day to head to Cintsa, there was only one stop in between that I was desperate for: Hole in the Wall.

After seeing so many images of this enigmatic place and feeling the envy of a thousand green-eyed monsters whenever somebody posted a photo of their visit to here on Facebook, it was about time I captured my own photos of the place!

It’s not that it’s hard to find really, just quite badly signposted. Driving through the cracked and rumpled roads of the Eastern Cape in its general direction can be pretty crazy. Cattle and goats in the road, hugging the curve of the single lane as another lone car passes, and using instinct to decide which fork to take, are all part of the adventure though.

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After chatting to some local teenagers and finally finding the right direction to this enormous hunk of rock with its gaping mouth, we parked the car and basically got accosted by the same group of boys wanting to walk us to the Hole in the Wall. While this would be fine if innocent, my internal radar went off immediately, these guys would be asking for cash at some point and it made me very uneasy.

The (accompanied) walk to the wall took only a few minutes and we were pretty much alone except for some locals and a small group of tourists who left as we arrived. There are a few small picnic sites and it really is a gorgeous spot to spend some time at if you have that luxury. I believe Coffee Shack also offers walks to the wall from their backpackers, finished off by a meal and a lift back to Coffee Bay, which seems to be an ideal option here.

The wall is big. Bigger than you’d expect really. You actually have to walk a fair way along the small stretch of rocky beach to find the ideal vantage point to see directly through the hole in it! There was little litter about and a few fishermen clambering around on the rocks, but it felt really special and desolate.

After spending about 15 minutes taking photos and walking around, it was time to head back to the car. Sure enough, with our new entourage in tow. As soon as we unlocked the doors, the teenagers started asking for R100 for their ‘guided tour’ of Hole in the Wall. Not only did it frustrate me as this was clearly them chancing their luck, but it also upset me that tourists are likely intimidated into handing the money over. We gave the guys R30 and got out of there.

Beautiful Hole in the Wall

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It really was a beautiful experience to see this part of the world and take the photos that I’ve seen so many times before, but sadly the con artists that are there purely to take advantage of tourists left a bad taste in my mouth. I understand that their situation is not its best and they’re just trying to make a living, but I can’t help but feel that there are more honest and innovative ways to make money out of tourists. I would’ve gladly handed over R100 if it had been for some local crafts or a local snack.

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Should you go?

Yes! Don’t let my experience put you off of visiting Hole in the Wall. It is incredible to see and begs for thousands of photos to be taken, just be aware of these local tricksters and be firm that you’re not taking part in their tour or giving them money, even if they insist on walking with you!

Hole in the Wall

Other IndiKate adventures...

Travel & food blogger helping adventurous South Africans find their next escape.

Comments (6)

  • I did the Coffee Shack hike / lunch option a couple years back and it was a highlight of my week on the Wild Coast – being summer we got to swim while the food was being prepared, and a number of braver souls (not me) jumped off the rock into the ‘hole’ which looked like fun if you’re not chicken shit (me).

    Being with the group and guide meant no-one accosted us at all, and the hike itself was simply incredible – what an amazing bit of coast. Quite steep in parts but just achingly beautiful.

    You should go back one day and try the hike, seriously :)

    Reply
    • I do want to go back and do the hike, so that’s definitely going to happen at some point. I want to spend a lot more time in this area too. One night was never going to be enough, but I’m glad to have seen it! Thanks for reading!

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      • Hi Kate, if you are ever back in that part of the world, we have a little piece of paradise there (just north of Coffee Bay and overlooking the mouth of the Mthata River), where you are most welcome to spend a night/s – have a lovely little wooden cottage with a view over the green hills and the endless Indian Ocean!

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        • Ah Janet, that would be absolutely awesome!

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  • My boyfriend and his friends insisted on surfing the hole! While I sat in the drizzle swearing under my breath and thinking they were going to die.

    Unfortunately we were accosted by a group of youngsters and because the people we were with are local backpacker owners they knew about the problem. We had to remove everything from our roof racks and keep going back to car at unexpected intervals to make sure it wasn’t being ransacked as apparently this is a big issue there. However despite this it was a brilliant and very entertaining afternoon.

    I go to the Transkei at least once a year now and if you skip the mainstream stuff (like most travelling tales) it really is the most extraordinary place. One night is never enough but the more you see the more you want to try everywhere along the stretch so we sometimes do end up jumping about one night to the next

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    • This is becoming such a problem sadly, I’ve heard so many stories like this recently. It’s a beautiful part of the world, and the tourism and accommodation operators there are struggling to keep it on their itineraries when they can’t guarantee that trips will be incident free.

      Reply

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