With unbelievably cheap surf lessons, organized daily activities, excellent dinners served up nightly, and a longstanding reputation for being a good place to party, Coffee Shack Backpackers is an excellent hostel. Its clean and well-maintained, and for those who want to sleep without the noise of partying, there are dorms and rooms across the river, well away from the bar. Free Wi-Fi is available but it's not reliable and is always slow. The staff at reception will help with onward bookings and transportation arrangements.
Coffee Shack is located at the end of a well signposted road in Coffee Bay with rooms spanning both sides of the rivermouth. A small shop selling basic foodstuffs is less than five minutes away on foot and a few restaurants are also within walking distance. A full-size supermarket is more than an hour away by car. Coffee Shack operates a shuttle from Mthata that coordinates with the Baz Bus, and for those driving, its easy to find off the main road to Coffee Bay. Minibuses link Coffee Bay to Lubanzi and other nearby villages, although routes are long and require many changes.
Rooms and Bathrooms
Some dorms are in rondavel huts while others are in block rooms next to reception. Rooms near reception and surrounding the main bar area are loud, as the party at Coffee Shack often goes well into the night. Across the river, accessible by a footpath or by car, are a few quieter rondavels with shared kitchen and bathrooms.
Beds in rondavel dorms have individual reading lights and electrical outlets. Rooms are cleaned daily and sheets are changed between guests. Rooms are locked either by key or a numerical combination.
The main bathroom block is divided by gender, with each having two showers and three toilets plus shared sink areas. Each shower has a dry area with hooks and a bench for towel or clothes and the shower windowsills provide space for toiletries while showering. Hairdryers are available in the womens restroom. Bathrooms are cleaned daily. Extra showers are located off the communal kitchen.
A small indoor common area sits near reception and is often used by those trying to use the slow Wi-Fi. People are more often found in the bar or at any of the outdoor common spaces. Meals are served outside near the bar, where many long tables invite guests to mingle and make new friends. The bar itself tends to fill only at night as most people grab drinks at the bar then find a spot outdoors. A few hammocks swing in shady spots.
The communal kitchen is reasonably stocked with cutlery and dishes but gets crowded at peak meal times. Tea and coffee are available all day. The kitchen is cleaned each morning.
Information about tours, activities, hikes, and transportation as well as the evenings dinner offering and following days organized activity lines the corridor between reception and the communal kitchen.
Coffee Shack is a well-run hostel with a lively atmosphere. Staff provide a thorough explanation of the hostels facilities and offerings at the time of check-in and are always on hand to answer questions. The hostel can be quiet during the day when most guests are out surfing, hiking to Hole in the Wall, cliff-jumping, lazing on the beach, or otherwise exploring the area. At night, however, a good party takes over. A few friendly dogs reside on the property, and guests can make arrangements to bring their own.