The Hole in the Wall is a rocky archway set just off the Wild Coast, south of Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape. The little holiday village close by shares the same name. This landmark was created millions of years ago through the restless action of waves against sandstone and shale.

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The Wild Coast is one of the few places you'll see cattle chewing the cud on the beach.

Hole in the Wall – what a weirdly Zen name for a small town in the Eastern Cape. Set along the shoreline overlooking the rocky formation that gave the tiny holiday village its name, this Wild Coast settlement south of Coffee Bay attracts beach lovers and anglers in equal numbers.

The instantly recognisable rock formation is made up of Ecca shale and sandstone, capped with hard volcanic dolerite.

It stands before the mouth of the Mpako River and is the source of many legends. In the Xhosa language, this area is called esiKhaleni, which means ‘the place of sound’. Some say it’s because, under certain conditions, the waves slap the rocks with a resounding cracking sound, while it roars during storms.

Others say it refers to a Xhosa legend involving a young maiden who fell in love with one of the mythical ‘sea people’. Such was the love of this sea person for the maiden that he and his people rammed a hole in the side of a lagoon wall with the help of a huge fish so they could reach her; she was never heard from again. In this version, it’s the voices and singing of the sea people that give the name esiKhaleni.

Either way, Hole in the Wall is one of the landmarks of the Wild Coast.

Geologists say that the cliff walls were once joined to the land. Continuous wave action against the softer sandstone rocks wore them away. The same happened to the more vulnerable shale and sandstone under the hard dolerite, creating the archway.

Locals also believe this is a gateway to the world of their ancestors.

Although some foolhardy people have gone through the hole in boats and by swimming, and others have managed to climb to the top of it, there have been many injuries and fatalities.

The Xhosa people from this region, quite rightly, advise against doing anything so dangerous.

It’s enough to admire this splendid rocky icon from the quiet beach.

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