Very impressive at first, but after a while you realise that the exact same words that you heard on arrival are recited by rote to every new group of guests, they play the same bar games to get you drunk every evening, push you to book the same tours every day etc etc etc.
In other words, it's a sausage factory, and you're the sausage. I guessed that if the staff stopped smiling and being your long-lost friend for even a second, they'd be in serious trouble with the management, hence the fixed, manic grins. It's not natural.
A word about drugs in Coffee Bay: I have never seen such flagrant criminality anywhere in the world. You will be mobbed (literally) by hordes of drug dealers trying to sell you marijuana, magic mushrooms, and who knows what else. This happens in broad daylight, in the middle of the street. They will even shout at you over the hostel's fence. The management at Coffee Shack say all sorts of things to make it seem ok, and say that it's not their responsibility, but I don't buy it. This only happens here (nowhere else in SA, or the world), and the reason that it happens is that it's tolerated. It is APPALLINGLY IRRESPONSIBLE. If I was a parent of one of their guests (who are mainly teenagers), I'd be horrified. Coffee Shack needs to clean up it's act double quick time, in my opinion.
Not my cup of tea, thank you very much. I'd say Coffee shack's good for a few days if you're 18, want to get very drunk and stoned, or are in desperate pathological need of friends. Otherwise, give it a miss - there are far more relaxed, beautiful, GENUINE places on the coast, and without the sleaze.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Explore, discover and enjoy a unique taste of rural Africa! Coffee Shack is a backpackers' tropical paradise, located on the beach at the Bomvu River mouth on the Wild Coast of South Africa, where you will experience a way of life far removed from Western culture. We have a reputation of being a fun, good-value hostel with excellent facilities and the most amazing, friendly staff. We offer accommodation in traditional, thatched-roof huts, ranging from private rooms to dorms, as well as camping facilities in the garden next to the beach. Choose between self-catering options or try our delicious meals with a free 'potjie' meal every Sunday night. Weather and ocean permitting, join us for daily sundowners with magnificent views or taste freshly caught oysters and mussels at the bar before dinner. Stay for five nights and get your 5th night free! Our 'Babalaza Bar' is fully licensed and rocks in the evenings with its free pool table and range of drinks and cocktails. Join in the Killer Pool game or enjoy the chilled-out atmosphere around the firepit. Our variety of day trips include cultural walks exploring the local Xhosa culture, a traditional evening of dance and song at the home of a local family where you can try traditional Xhosa food and beers, beach days on the beautiful Coffee Bay, surf lessons, exploring Mapuzi cliffs and caves, hiking to the legendary "Hole in the Wall" or just walking in the local countryside with one of the local guides. We are accredited by Fair Trade Tourism South Africa and are committed to the improvement and upliftment of the greater community through various education and support projects. We are dedicated to making a difference to the local community and are thus 30% owned by the local Tshezi Community, who receive direct financial benefits from being involved in the business. We aim to encourage growth and empowerment opportunities for the local community through the development of meaningful partnerships. Coffee Shack runs a daily shuttle to Mthatha to meet the Baz Bus and other mainline buses at the Shell Ultra City in Mthatha (Umtata). We have free WIFI, safe parking and a laundry service. For self-drive, we are located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, in the former Transkei area. Turn onto the Coffee Bay road approximately 20km south of Mthatha, continue 80km down to the coast. ... more less