17 April 2014 by Cassidy Parker

Mdumbi beach showcases local living

South Africa’s Wild Coast offers ample opportunity to get off the beaten path – but for a taste of local living, there’s nowhere better than Mdumbi.

Sunrise from the outlook point at Mdumbi Backpackers. All images by Cassidy Parker

It’s everything they say it is, South Africa’s Wild Coast. Achingly beautiful, raw and untouched, historically and culturally rich. The beaches are pristine, more often populated by local cows than by sunbathers; the adventures to be had are endless, from kayaking to surfing, and hiking to horse riding; and the experience of South African life authentic.

Long and winding Wild Coast roads. Long and winding Wild Coast roads.

Bovine sunbathers Bovine sunbathers

While there are landmarks in this area that have received the attention they deserve – Coffee Bay, Hole in the Wall and Bulungula – there is another beach worth mentioning. Located just 45 minutes north of Coffee Bay, the crescent moon of Mdumbi, and the little backpackers that overlooks it, is worthy of the extra effort it takes to get there.

Mdumbi Backpackers is community-driven and is committed to sustainable eco-tourism. It is closely involved with the community and formed the non-profit organisation, TransCape, to respond to the educational, economic and health needs of the area. Local employees own 30% of Mdumbi Backpackers, with 10% of the profits going to the local community and 9% to TransCape.

Some local inhabitants Some local inhabitants

Exploring and entrenching yourself in local life is very much a part of the Mdumbi experience, though a slew of other activities are on offer too, all of which are owned and operated by community members.

To get there, take the Coffee Bay turn off from the N2 at Mthatha and travel 70km. Then turn left on to the Mdumbi gravel road and follow the Mdumbi Backpacker signs for 23km. Alternatively, Mdumbi Backpackers offers a shuttle service to and from the Coffee Shack in Coffee Bay, which can be reached on the Baz Bus.

Book three nights as a minimum, but be prepared to stay for a week – or, perhaps, for good.

Your room for the night Your room for the night
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