The Hole in the Wall at Coffee Bay is a unique structure with a huge detached cliff that has a giant opening carved through its centre by the waves.
The local tribes people call the place esiKhaleni, the place of the sound, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Stormy weather drives waves through the opening with an almighty roar that is audible for quite some distance. The people regard the hole with deep suspicion.
From shellfish gatherers caught out by un-expected waves, to a Cape Mounted Rifles trooper attempting to win a bet by swimming through, it has tempted many to their deaths
The Xhosa legend of Hole in the Wall:
Xhosa legend tells of semi-deities, known as Sea People, who resemble ordinary people. They have supple wrists and ankles and flipper-like hands and feet. These Sea People, though kind, can occasionally be quite mischievous and draw much pleasure from teasing the poor land-dwellers.
A long time ago, there was a beautiful girl who lived in a village on the bank of a lagoon, which was cut off from the sea by a massive cliff. Such was her beauty that one of the Sea People fell in love with her.
When her father heard of this, he became enraged, and swore that she would never leave the village to see him again. Such was her lovers desire to be with her however, that one night, at high tide, he came with a great fish which rammed its head through the base of the mighty cliff.
Through the breach came Sea People, singing and shouting. The girl rushed down to meet her lover, while the rest of the villagers hid their heads in fear. The girl was never seen again.
In time, the cliff began to crumble to the power of the sea, but the hole remained. The voices of the Sea People can still be heard to this day, as the waves rush through the hole, giving it its traditional name, esiKhaleni, the place of the sound.
Hole in the Wall was given its English name by Captain Vidal of the Barracouta, who surveyed the coast in 1823.
Photo: Robbie Irlam