From one view to another …
After finally breaking the spell of Hogsback and it’s mesmerizing views, I made my getaway back down to the coast only to be bewitched by the beauty of Chintsa.
After the usual checking in and orientation from the super friendly staff at Buccaneers, I set about relaxing to the beautiful view from the bar over the lagoon and down on to the pristine beach, the very same view can be seen from just about anywhere at Buccaneers.
After sinking a few pots, including some great local brew from the Emerald Vale Brewing Company, they make some killer ales – a dark, amber and pale … and are only available in the bottle at Buccaneers or on tap at the Barefoot cafe across the lagoon. Making just 1600 litres per month – sink them when you can, they are delicious and it seems fitting to enjoy the view from Buccaneers with a beer from the hood.
The next day dawned with a view from my bungalow that was sublime and beckoned me to the water, after a quick stop at the breakfast room for a coffee and a chat with Sean, whilst dolphins and whales cavorted in front of us, He gave me the run down on Buccaneers and its history.
They have been around for close to 15 years and are a family run enterprise, they operate under fair trade, offer excellent accommodation in Dorms, Doubles, En Suites, and in my case an epic little self catering unit hidden at the top of the property with a view millionaires would part good money for.
I absolutely dig the fact that when you are on the beach or taking a free canoe up the lagoon its hard to spot the backpackers, blending in with the surrounds it adds to the beauty of the area … the same cannot be said for a lot of the holiday houses in the area.
They offer killer buffet breakfasts, lunches and themed dinners … i partook in the mexican which was epic, followed by a braai the next night which was killer – you get a massive plate of food and a chance to meet your fellow backpackers over tasty chow and some drinks from the bar.
They also offer the chance to get social with your fellow travelers with a free activity everyday – volleyball, a booze cruise or just a few glasses of free wine down by the lagoon, it makes your time at Buccaneers a little more social.
You can also catch a surf lesson from Rayno, get a massage at the beauty shack, do a horse ride down the beach, visit the local community, the list just goes on and on, book at Buccaneers … they will advise you about just how much fun you can get up to in Chintsa.
After my chat i headed down to the beach, its was a peach of a day. As i arrived a pool of dolphins were swimming up and down the beach about twenty metres offshore. Being from Cape Town where sea temperatures are in the single column numbers i jogged down that beach with the dolphins to get warm before crashing into the unexpectedly and ridiculously warm sea.
After nearly three hours of cavorting in the sun and in the water i was starving, after a quick chow and a cup of joe, i was back on the water for a canoe up the lagoon in one of the free canoes ( You can also grab a free bodyboard and hit the waves) and was absolutely stunned by the beauty of this place.
The next day was a little bit windy and the intermittent rain did not stop me from hitting the beach and enjoying the warm sea after a good hike around the bay. Even in miff conditions Chintsa is eerily beautiful.
The plan was always to sit down with Sean and Sally and get the low down on their community work and volunteering programs they offer to travelers passing through the area. We never got the chance as i was constantly being drawn to the beach or the bar.
The one we did manage to discuss, a portable solar computer lab that runs around in the guise of a Land-rover and offers computer literacy courses to surrounding communities should give you an idea of the time and effort Buccaneers spends making sure the area around the backpackers is uplifted.
The next day i geared up the van and left Buccaneers feeling i hadn’t got close to the full experience, i’ll certainly be heading back for a longer stay and some more time in probably my favourite coastal spot in the Eastern Cape. But there’s a lot to do and i had some places i had never visited lined up and i was amped to see them.
Be sure to visit Chintsa on your travels and definitely stay at Buccaneers, the two combined make for a near nirvana and an epic introduction to the beautiful coast in the Eastern Cape.
Check out the Buccaneers website for more on their community projects, also read the excellent www.volunteerafrica.co.za which offers volunteering opportunities in conservation, education and humanitarian projects on the Wild Coast.