Oh people know about Morgan Bay, South Africa but not many and when compared to the beaches of Thailand, the Caribbean or Mexico for example, this place is a ghost town.
I took the Shosholoza Meyl Tourist Class from Johannesburg to East London and took an Uber to the airport and picked up my rental car (since I was flying back, it made it simpler). The train was comfortable, safe and cheap enough that I could buy 2 fares and have the compartment to myself. The problem was that we were over 5 hours late for no good reason other than they don’t have a clue how to organize the rail traffic. Lordy I would still be on that freaking train if there had of been a derailment!
This is a multi-generation town, not uncommon to see 2 or 3 generations on holiday here. The vacation homes are passed down as is the town really. When people are ready to retire they comfortably slip into their new life; the one that they’ve been creating over the decades.
Most residents rent out a room/suite/cottage/house and there are two hotels: Morgan Bay Hotel (home of an amazing gin collection and the best pizza I have ever had) and the Mitford Hotel. The array of accommodation is extensive.
The beach is wide and flat and the dunes are huge and well back from the water and the waves are wild. It is just stunning! About ½ way to Kei Mouth is on the flat hard beach and then the rocks rise from the sand – gorgeous wild wicked rocks! And if the tide isn’t out, they will force you up the path that takes you above the sea and then along the edge of the East London Coast Nature Reserve. Eventually the road spits you out into Kei Mouth, a town slightly bigger than MB. I walked a little ways past the lighthouse, about ¾ of the way and turned back.
The walk to the lighthouse is about 3km one way and by the time I picked up my weight in sea shells (that I just couldn’t live without!) it was 3 hours so I went to the Deck Restaurant and hoovered a seafood salad… yummy! *Note to self and you – don’t go there at lunch because apparently EVERYONE in town with children do – the noise level was Harley without pipes level 😦
The Eastern Cape is just so wild and untamed they called it the Wild Coast and the Frontier Coast and it has a rich and violent history. It is the traditional home of the Xhosa people and the birthplace of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. It was stirring, you know? That feeling that nature can so often give you – where you may get to hang out here but she is firmly the one in charge and she is strutting her stuff with gay abandon. I just freaking love her, even when she breaks my heart.
One day I drove to Double Mouth which got its name because the Quko and Kumqotwane Rivers share a common mouth into the Indian Ocean. As I meandered west from the campgrounds on the beach I was gobsmacked by the untamed beauty of the place. No resorts, no hawkers… just rocks, stunning beach, ocean and forest. And few people! There were some but nowhere near what you would have to put up with in other places.
I am so glad I got to spend a couple of weeks there and would love to return to explore further. If you’re looking for something different, you could do worst than to spend time on the Wild Coast of South Africa… there’s even a country club in Kei Mouth not to mention all that delectable wines and gins this country is so famous for.
I am just sharing a few photos here and I’ll but you can see the whole album at Google Photos.