TOP LOW-BUDGET (SECRET) TRAVEL DESTINATIONS: MDUMBI, SOUTH AFRICA

Budget travel made easy. Tips for your next adventure to Mdumbi – South Africa’s hidden coastal gem

MDUMBI, SOUTH AFRICA. Once you venture away from the big cities and past the Garden Route in South Africa, you’ll most likely find yourself road tripping up or down the Wild Coast. The Wild Coast in itself is like nothing else. The route stretches from East London in the Eastern Cape province to Kwazulu-Natal in the north and it is divine.

 

 BUDGET TRAVEL MDUMBI SOUTH AFRICA - SUNSET IN MDUMBI, SOUTH AFRICA, WILD COAST - PEOPLE FISHING
WELCOME TO MDUMBI – MDUMBI BACKPACKERS

 

Go a bit further into the Transkei area and somewhere off the beaten track you’ll find Mdumbi. With dirt roads, beehive huts, cattle and goats walking freely, rolling hills and pristine beaches, you’ll feel like you’re in another world than that of Cape Town or Joburg. It has all of the activities one can dream of. Surfing, hiking, kayaking, fishing, dolphin watching, you name it. You can go from waves to hills in the same morning, and still have time for some afternoon magic.

 

 BUDGET TRAVEL MDUMBI SOUTH AFRICA - MDUMBI BEACH WILD COAST SOUTH AFRICA- MDUMBI BACKPACKERS
MDUMBI BACKPACKERS

 

Currency: South African Rand 1 usd = 13.48 ZAR
Visa: free for most countries for 90 days. Others for 30 days. Beauty. Check here to make sure you’re on the list.

 

Pro tips

First and foremost, I will recommend getting the Coast to Coast book, which you’ll find for free in 99% of backpackers. It has everything and anything you need to know about backpacking South Africa. It is extremely useful since not everything in SA is put onto the world wide web just yet and you won’t always have access to internet. You can also use the website beforehand, but it does not have nearly as much info as the book. I hate the Lonely Planet for personal reasons, and was reluctant to use this but it saved my ass countless times. Put your ego aside and use the damn thing.

Next, get a local sim card. This is so necessary in SA, especially if you’re travelling off the beaten track. Backpackers are oftentimes marked unavailable online but are actually completely free. Give them a call to book, they can also help you with directions if you’re stuck. You can get one of these once you hop off the plane at the airport, at most convenience stores and grocery stores. I used MTN.

 

Getting here

You can drive down here if you have a car but as mentioned in my previous post, I did not have that privilege. Mdumbi Backpackers, my hostel in Mdumbi, arranged a shuttle from point A to point B, which was awesome but can also get complicated depending on where you are starting from. On the Wild Coast, most backpackers offer some sort of pick up or can help you out with that. Make sure to ask them.

Taking shuttles can get long, costly and tiring, so I would recommend doing long stays if possible. My stay in Mdumbi was 3 days and I felt it was not enough!

As noted by Madeleine, manager at Mdumbi Backpackers, there is also the option of taking local minibus taxis – this can be tricky if you have a lot of luggage, but really convenient (and cheap) when travelling light.

 

Get around

Walk = free. It’s a village, unless you want to get pulled by a donkey you will be on your feet.

 

Looking for something else?

Check out our post on Kilifi, Kenya – Kenya’s magical oasis – right here 

 

 BUDGET TRAVEL MDUMBI SOUTH AFRICA - MDUMBI BEACH SOUTH AFRICA WILD COAST - MDUMBI BACKPACKERS
THIS IS ALL YOURS – MDUMBI BACKPACKERS

 

Accommodation

I stayed at Mdumbi Backpackers, easily one of my favourite hostels. Most rooms are small rondavels with stable styled doors, and I don’t know about you but that is a key selling point for me. Mine was a 3-bunker, which I had to myself, while they also have 4-bunkers and larger dorms all going for 150 R (the equivalent of $11.50), in addition to privates. Volunteering is popular at the hostel as well, so if you are looking for a free bed then that might be of interest to you.

 

 BUDGET TRAVEL MDUMBI SOUTH AFRICA - MORNINGS AT MDUMBI BACKPACKERS wild coast south africa - MDUMBI BACKPACKERS
MORNINGS AT MDUMBI BACKPACKERS – MDUMBI BACKPACKERS

 

The beauty of this spot is that its located on a peninsula on the top of a hill, so if you walk a hundred meters to the edge you’ll get a 180 degree view of endless blueness. Sur-real.

 

 BUDGET TRAVEL MDUMBI SOUTH AFRICA - MDUMBI Beach Wild Coast South Africa - MDUMBI BACKPACKERS
YOUR BACKPACKERS IS WHAT SEEMS LIKE A TINY VILLAGE OVER THERE AND YOU SHOULD BE STANDING WHERE THE TREES MEET THE OCEAN RIGHT OVER.. THERE

 

There is also this mysterious yet magical outdoor bathtub that my friend and I heard about but both never found?! Is this real life? Please, somebody pinch me. 

 

 BUDGET TRAVEL MDUMBI SOUTH AFRICA - OUTDOOR BATHTUB AT MDUMBI BACKPACKERS, SOUTH AFRICA, WILD COAST
IS THIS REAL LIFE? – MDUMBI BACKPACKERS

 

Food

Try out the family dinner at the backpackers, which offers both vegetarian and meateater options for about 70 R. I did vegetarian, and it was delicious and well worth it. They also have meals and food served all day. You can always pick up ingredients at one of the local shops to make your own meals. I will warn you that they are very small and don’t have much of a selection. That said, bread, eggs, veggies, fruits – they have, and will cost you a few dollars at most. Sometimes you gotta do with what you got.

 

 BUDGET TRAVEL MDUMBI SOUTH AFRICA - WOMAN SMILING AT MDUMBI BACKPACKERS, WILD COAST, SOUTH AFRICA
HEY MAMA! – MDUMBI BACKPACKERS

 

Calculations

Getting here 

My hostel Coffee Shack (also super dope) in Coffee Bay organized my lift with Mdumbi Backpackers to Mdumbi. If you are in Mthatha or heading to Mthatha (the nearest city to Mdumbi) you can take a shuttle to Coffee Bay to get picked up.

Shuttle to Coffee Bay from Mthatha: 90 R

Shuttle to Mdumbi from Coffee Bay: 60 R

Total: 150 R = $11.50

Per day

Dorm bed: $15 (all year long – booyah)

Food: let’s say $10 ($4 for family dinner + $6 for homemade meals)

Total: $25

With the essentials covered at $25 day, you’ll still have all kinds of money to splurge on surfboard rentals or classes, tours and any other goodies that come your way. The question now is: What are you waiting for?

Want to stay at Mdumbi Backpackers? Contact them here!

 

 BUDGET TRAVEL MDUMBI SOUTH AFRICA - WOMAN AND MAN KNITTING AT MDUMBI BACKPACKERS, WILD COAST, SOUTH AFRICA

WOMAN SITTING DOWN AT MDUMBI BACKPACKERS, WILD COAST, SOUTH AFRICA - BUDGET TRAVEL MDUMBI SOUTH AFRICA
MDUMBI BACKPACKERS

 

All photos from Mdumbi provided by Mdumbi Backpackers

Have questions or more tips to share? Let’s hear ’em! Post them below or email us at xx@rawtrvl.com

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11 Comments on "TOP LOW-BUDGET (SECRET) TRAVEL DESTINATIONS: MDUMBI, SOUTH AFRICA"

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Angelo Pires
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This place looks amazing. Road trip sounds perfect too.
Someone promised me once to take me there. Let’s see what happens.
Thanks for the tips !

Melissa
Guest

Such a beautiful place – I would love to visit the peninsula and watch the ocean roll onto the shore. x

Elizabeth Everywhere
Guest

This is so gorgeous! Loving your photos!

Emma @ theweekendabroad.com
Guest

I’ve never been to any of these places! Thank you for giving me new destinations to add on my list. Loved all the info you provided <3

Dana
Guest

Wow that looks awesome, and so cheap !! Super helpful post !

jin
Guest

I can’t believe all that gorgeousness is in South Africa! Even more of a reason for me to visit that country now! I really can’t get over how beautiful that coastline is – so refreshing and relaxing!

Anna Schlaht
Guest

I just want to say how absolutely GORGEOUS your photography is. That one picture of the coastline is striking. Wow. You have a natural knack for composition. — On a more related note, thank you for all this great information! I’ve never considered backpacking in South Africa, but with how affordable Mdumbi Backpackers is ($25 is really good) and how many things there are to do (especially surfing, that’d be fun!), I’m super intrigued. Putting this on my list of places to stay now, for sure. Thanks!

Caroline
Guest

Wow, that is such a breathtaking coastline! I had no idea about this part of South Africa. Your photos are gorgeous here!

Ketki
Guest

Secret destination definitely as i had never heard about it before. Your photos are gorgeous of the people and landscape.

Venessa
Guest

South Africa (and really all of Africa) looks so amazing and is just so beautiful!

Karlie
Guest

This would be such a glorious road trip!

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