Hole-in-the-Wall, or known by the local Xhosas as “izi Khaleni,” the place of sound or thunder, is situated about 10km South of Coffee Bay. Captain Vidal first named it when he was surveying the Eastern Coast between Keiskamma River and Maputo during 1823 for the British Admiralty while on the vessel, Barracouta.
The Hole in the Wall “island” as you see today was originally joined to the land and made up of dark-blue shale stone, mudstone and sandstones, dating back some 260 million years. Many years ago a dolerite sheet intruded its way into the cliff and with the constant force of the waves crashing down into the cliff face, it eroded away all the softer rocks underneath the dolerite, which ended up forming an arch and the Hole in the Wall. The same happened to the connection it once had to the land. Our picture shows you what it looks like today, sitting in the mouth of the Mpako River, ever so proudly, on a warm day in May 2014.
The Xhosa once believed that it may be the gateway to their ancestors, but they found out the hard way that this was not so as they struggled to get the British off their land. They thought their ancestors were going to come through to help them. They killed off all their cattle and destroyed all their crops, only to have no ancestors returning but finding themselves in a long time of famine.
There are other tales of the Hole in the Wall. It does feel like it’s a magical place and I’d encourage you to see it for yourself if you’re ever in the vicinity of the Wild Coast on the Eastern Cape of South Africa.