The Hole in the Wall
Last Updated: June 2017
Contact The Hole in the Wall
- Longitude: 29.1069889069
- Latitude: -32.0406765577
Tourist Attractions Offered
About The Hole in the Wall
The Hole in the Wall is one of the most interesting landmarks of the Wild Coast.
The cliff consists of dark-blue shales, mudstone and sandstones of the Ecca Group, dating back some 260 million years. These rocks were subsequently intruded by a dolerite sheet. The “hole” was created over millions of years by erosion of the buffeting waves and the flow of the river, which eroded the softer rocks underneath the dolerite to form an arch. The same processes also eventually separated the cliff from the mainland.
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.
The Portuguese ship, Santo Alberto ran aground on 24 March 1593 near the Hole-in-the-Wall.
Sixty three people (28 Portuguese and 35 slaves) lost their lives. 285 (125 Portuguese and 160 slaves) people survived and set off on foot towards Mozambique.
After 88 days they reached Lourenco Marques (now Maputo)
The Hole in the wall is located 8 kilometers due south of Coffee Bay at the mouth of the Mpako River on the Wild Coast of South Africa.
Nearby is a small holiday village with the same name offering accommodation.
The best route to Hole in the Wall is along the 75 km tarred road with the odd potholes exiting off the N2 just south of Mthatha. The 9km gravel road from Coffee Bay to Hole in the Wall is being worked on and although not the best, it's not too bad either. Take it easy and enjoy the scenery.