Mdumbi: the Transkei's lesser known sister and one which shouldn't be missed. Perched on the edge of a beautiful rugged coastline, there are many things to do at this eco-friendly backpackers, which is owned by 50% of the local community.
A home from home hostel with friendly staff, it was easy to settle in with mounds of free popcorn and a film when it begun to pour down with rain. There is more to Mdumbi than meets the eye with a local pre-school on site and its own vegetable garden (watered by recycled shower water). Chickens, rabbits and horses all live together in this place... it even has solar powered showers!
One of their lovely guides Lusanda gave us a cultural tour of the nearby village of Tshani. We learnt more about xhosa tradition and I dressed up as a married woman - we even did a bit of weaving! To top it off we visited the local shebeen for some ciders, followed by some tasty pancakes at the Ziyaduma restaurant, overlooking the Mdumbi river.
The afternoon brought a walk which helped us to forge a spanking new forest walk with signs made by the cheery Naomi. The trail includes a great view of the coast which is a hotspot for seeing whales and dolphin if you're that way inclined! Our day ended with a delicious seafood braai around a roaring fire, with freshly grilled crayfish and homemade xhosa bread... you cannot go wrong with this gem.
If you're after some more Mdumbi fun, there are plenty of local-led activities from deep sea fishing to surfing, all of which are run by the community and are cheap as chips.
Get off the beaten track and do something a bit different with this fair trade accredited hostel. You won't know until you try!
By Charlotte, a visiting backpacker
Fairtrade,Mdumbi backpackers, Wildcoast backpackers