The Coffee Shack first welcomed guests on the 8th February 2000, after partners Dave Malherbe, Andre Malherbe and Dan Cornick, were given a lease to rent the main property. In April 2000, they also took over the ‘Beach Side’ property, across the stream. In 2003 the proprietor, Deryk Lang ceded his rights to the property to David, Andre & Dan. The partners also own Sugar Shack Backpackers in East London and Away with the Fairies Backpackers in Hogsback. Coffee Shack is managed by husband-and-wife, Dave and Belinda.We were fortunate to have guidance and example of our former proprietor, the late Deryk Lang, who was instrumental in getting many of the schools and clinics built in the area, and contributed greatly to the improvement of the area and community at large. Following on from Deryk’s example, we have invested significant amounts into the local schools; built and manage a Montessori nursery school for 60 children, provide scholarships for high school and secondary education; support the local soccer and netball leagues among other initiatives that you can read about on our responsible tourism page.

Thanks to European Union (EU) involvement by way of a loan, in 2005 the local Tshezi Community Trust, which represents the Tshezi Community under Chief Gwenyati Pali, bought 30% shares in Coffee Shack, and an arrangement was formulated to lease the land from Tshezi Community Trust. The community trust is represented by two community members on the Coffee Shack board of directors, with whose patience, assistance and guidance has grown our partnership with the community to even more significant levels.

We have come to believe that by investing in our community in a sustainable, meaningful manner, we are making our wonderful part of the world a better, healthier environment for everyone including our guests and other visitors to the area.

Amongst all the fun, there has been constant effort, work and a high degree of organization put into making Coffee Shack one of the most successful and popular backpackers in the country. The logistics of running a business at the ‘end of a long road from anywhere’, in an area, that has always been remote, due to the terrain and intentionally sideline by the former governments, is usually overlooked by most people.


The first buildings to be built on the current Coffee Shack ‘Main Side’ were built in around 1976. The buildings where Coffee Shack is now located were all built for many very different purposes, to what they are being used for today. The bar, and kitchens were originally stables and milking sheds, hence the low roof amongst many other things. The office and lounge area used to be a spaza shop initially. The new bathrooms are located over the old chicken run. Regulations with regards to building on the Wild Coast are particularly strict when it comes to building within 100m of the high tide mark, which is one of the reasons that it is such an eclectic layout.Many years after the stables and shops, but before Coffee Shack, there used to be a backpackers called Coffee Bay Backpackers, operating in the location. It was fun and very festive establishment, run by 5 young guys from all around the world; Zimbabwe, Ireland, Kenya and South Africa. These fellows had a huge amount of fun, and Coffee Bay Backpackers was quite well known in its time. In 1999 the owner of Coffee Bay Backpackers passed away, and eventually the location became available and after some renovations, upgrading, painting and cleaning Coffee Shack started. For the first year or two, there was a local hairdresser operating out of the current location of the Coffee Shack kitchen.


As the Coffee Shack Crew, we enjoy nothing more than putting a smile on your face, and we invite you to sample our local brand of hospitality and make our home, your home. We are here to do everything possible to ensure you have a great stay and are known for always being able to “make a plan” for our guests!Coffee Shack is proud of its employees as it is they who make things happen day and night, 364 and a half days a year (the Crew like to take a well-earned rest after breakfast on New Year’s Day!). As a responsible employer, we take an interest in our staff members’ careers and not only provide in-service training, promotion opportunities and an open door policy for personal problems, but also offer the chance to study for formal hospitality qualifications. We also encourage travel within South Africa to visit other backpackers and try new adventure experiences.

Coffee Shack has seen many changes within the crew; initially it was run by a rag tag bunch of travelers and surfers. Now over 90% of our crew are from the immediate area and we take pride in the training and development that we are able to give our employees. Some staff members have started out as room attendants and ended up as managers. You will find ex-Coffee Shackers in high-level tourism jobs, government departments, lecturing at tourism facilities and running their own businesses.
We have been the breeding ground for many relationships (and families!!) and there are many Coffee Shack children running around the world, and loads of guests and staff who met their loved ones here in Coffee Bay.
Coffee Shack is very thankful to all the staff and guests who have helped us become what we are today, and left a part of themselves behind, to making Coffee Shack a better place.



To exceed all guest expectation and to create an unforgettable travel experience, enhanced by the surrounding natural and hostel environment.


Coffee Shack strives to create and maintain a unique social environment, with a special ambience and feel which allows all people to feel at ease immediately and is reflective of the hospitality that Africa is renowned for. The medium for this is a beautiful setting and environment, and most importantly energetic and friendly staff. The ambience must be conducive to social interaction, where people from around the world can learn and enjoy each other’s ideas, energy and cultures. At the same time, respecting the privacy of guests to be alone to explore themselves and the stunning tranquil area in which we are situated.Coffee Shack has a social obligation to the community, which it esteems to be part of. Encouraging growth and empowerment opportunities for the local community, through the development of meaningful partnerships. Emphasising the importance of education, skills development and appreciation for the local natural heritage of the region and the preservation there of.

Coffee Shack is committed to environmentally friendly practises, and the promotion there of. Encouraging the preservation and protection of the natural environment. By developing a beautiful environment, we make space for creativity at every level – in the ways we do drum making, host our craft centre, have local entertainers, welcome guests, treat each other, prepare food, serve drinks and take Guests out to explore the splendour of the magnificent Transkei.

Coffee Shack staff are handpicked because we believe that they will be able to “add value” to Coffee Shack and it’s ethos. We (Staff) all have 2 characteristics in common; namely “friendliness and energy”. We strive to welcome and “touch” all new Guests, to ensure they feel comfortable and at home immediately.

We strive to know our guests by name, showing an interest in all our guests, thus allowing us to help them make the most of their stay. We encourage Guests to participate in all available activities thus allowing them to discover and experience more of the Wild Coast’s natural and cultural attractions. Through the activities available we hope guests meet other guests and staff, making new friendships and lasting bonds. Ultimately encouraging Guests not to leave after one day, having therefore missed the beauty of the Wild Coast and having not had the “Coffee Shack experience”!



Coffee Bay can be found on the Wild Coast, in the former Transkei, 200km north of East London along the N2, 80km down the coastal road to the Wild Coast. The Wild Coast got its name from the sailors of the 1700s and 1800s, who considered it as one of the most treacherous bits of coastlines in the world, and the long list of ship wrecks makes intriguing reading. To this day it is still one of the most beautiful and untouched sections of coastline in the world, due to its remote and difficult assess.

The former Transkei was a “homeland” of the apartheid government, and comprised of the area between the Mtamvuna River, as the Northern boundary with Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Kei River being the Southern boundary with the then Cape Province. This area was populated by mainly Xhosa speaking peoples, and has proud heritage of producing some of South Africa’s most distinguished leaders, like Tata Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Govan Mbeki, King Sabata Dalindyebo and many more, who were instrumental in the bringing about change to a democratic government.

Now Coffee Bay is in King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) Municipality, in the Eastern Cape Province, and even though the current government has made enormous strides in building critical and life change infrastructure developments, like providing running potable water, electricity, more and better access roads, more clinics and schools, the area is still one of the poorest in South Africa.