Surfing in Coffee Bay with Coffee Shack

Coffee Shack is a 16 years old very popular backpackers in Coffee Bay, South Africa (Wild coast). It’s managed by (South African) Dave and his (Australian) wife Belinda. Recently Coffee Shack became the overall winner of two awards: the African Responsible Tourism Award and an award for being the best accommodation for social inclusion. They started offering surf packages for the last 2 years.

Rooms & facilities
The Coffee Shack backpackers consists of two areas: the main area with the reception, bar, an inside and an outside lounge area, (public) kitchen, clean (shared) bathrooms, dorm rooms and the camp side. When you walk through the camp side outside of the gate (see photo above), you will get to a shallow river that leads into the sea. When crossing the river over the rocks you get to the second part of the camp with few more private, double and dorm rooms. There is another large kitchen and a shared bathroom. The public bathrooms, kitchens and rooms are clean as they are serviced daily.

Social
The food served in Coffee Shack is really good. There is continental breakfast served in the morning. For dinner there’re meat and vegetarian meals. Sometimes they even serve desserts. Drinks at the bar are cheap ranging from approx. EUR 1 for a water or a beer and EUR 2 for a Gin & Tonic. There is Wi-Fi in the backpackers close to the reception area. The Wi-Fi is weak though. Uploading and streaming photo’s and video’s take long time, so maybe forget about Facebook for a few days. 😉

Staff
The staff is very friendly and most of them remember you by name which made me feel very welcome. Upon check-in they show you around and offer you a welcome drink at the bar. I believe 75% of the staff is local (Xhosa or South African) and their level of hospitality and service is very high. They will arrange anything for you and always have a smile on their face. I suppose it’s because they ensure the team are given opportunities for further training and promotion.

Responsible tourism
Coffee Shack supports the local community through local non-profit projects. From donating clothes up to empowering the locals in how to start their own small business. There is the chance to do some volunteering in Coffee Bay through Coffee Shack. They actively promote environmentally responsible business practices.

Surf class
If you book the surf package in Coffee Shack you will have 2 classes of 2 hours a day: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The bay where you would go for surfing is of approx. 10 min walking distance from the backpackers. Every instructor has maximum of 5 students in his class as they believe personal attention and safety is key. They are quite strict with this rule and do not really take any other drop-in students along with them once they met the number of 5, which I think is very good. If they have more students that booked ahead their class, they will send along another surf instructor.

Entertainment & tours
Almost every night there is local entertainment, from drum shows up to a dance show performed by local people and children. The backpackers offer a tour almost every day from a walking tour along the coast, the caves and cliff jumping tour. There’re also sunset or beach tours.

I went on the Hole in the Wall tour and the Caves & Cliff tour. The Hole in the Wall tour is very nice: walking along the coast for 3 hours through Xhosa land and get the best views and a little bit of exercise as you’re crossing the hills up and down. It’s a safe walk over small rocks and grassland, so fairly easy. The tour ends at the big rock with a hole in it shaped by the waves hitting the rock and erosion. This spot is where lunch is served. Usually two grilled sandwiches. Bring your own snacks.

During the cave and cliff tour you need to walk along the beach to find the caves. Afterwards you will walk inland through the green Xhosa land. It’s very peaceful in this area. You only hear the wind combined with the sound of tweeting birds and some cows. We ended up at a lake where you can jump off a 7-meter-high cliff.

Thank you Coffee Shack for the great experience. I sincerely had a great time with you because your staff is lovely and Coffee Bay is just so pretty. I hope I will be back soon!

Written for Coffee Shack Coffee Bay, South Africa

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