November 2, 2008 – Sunday – Drakensberg to Coffee Bay, Eastern Cape – the Wild Coast of South Africa
We drive through the Transkei Province on our way to Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast. Transkei is a former homeland area for blacks when apartheid was still in force in South Africa. Many black people continue to live in this region despite there being a chronic lack of water.
We travel through Mthatha aka Umtata, which is the provincial capital and home of South Africa’s most famous citizen, Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela no longer lives here, however some of his family continue to live in the region. He comes back to his hometown to celebrate his birthdays. He celebrated his 90th awhile ago, so he is getting to be quite old.
Update: Nelson Mandela died December 5, 2013 after suffering from a long illness, and was buried in his hometown of Qunu.
It takes almost an hour to drive from the main highway just south of Umtata to the Ocean View Hotel at Coffee Bay. It’s like traveling to another country, since the coastline along the Indian Ocean is warm, wet, and tropical. I have a room with a view of the ocean. This is a nice hotel, but well off the beaten track.
I join the wake-boarders, taking my first dip in the Indian Ocean surf before dinner, and body surf for awhile, which is great fun! Coffee Bay is spectacular, with dramatic headlands at either end of a beautiful curved one kilometre long sandy beach. There is also an estuary at one end of the beach where a stream enters the ocean.
After dinner this evening, an African dance troupe comes in and does a similar floor show of Zulu singing and dancing as we saw at the Drakensberg Gardens with one difference – the young women are topless. Some of the men in our group go crazy, taking pictures and generally acting goofy. As I leave the dining room after dinner, the dance troupe are in the lobby counting the money they collected from us after the show. I compliment them on their dancing and singing, but take no photos or video.
November 3, 2008 – Monday – Coffee Bay to East London
We have a late 10:30am departure from Coffee Bay, which gives everyone time to have a leisurely breakfast. There are some surfers and wake boarders out this morning, as well as some porpoises just past the surf line. I have plenty of time to walk the full length of the beach before we depart.