Even though it is relatively isolated, Bulungula's one lodge is, in spirit, just an extension of the village. The fair-trade lodging is partly owned by the local community, which is not an uncommon thing on the Wild Coast. What makes it different, though, is that in contrast to what you'll find at smarter hotels, the local people are fully integrated in the running of the lodge. Accommodations are in traditional rondavels (round thatched huts) overlooking the lagoon
and ocean. Furnishings are simple: a bed, a table, and a stick suspended from the roof on which to hang clothes. The eco-friendly, odor-free composting toilets and paraffin-fired hot showers are communal and situated in beautifully decorated colorful thatched buildings. Meals are served in a large lounge-cum-bar, where you can engage in a long discussion with one of the villagers or the other guests. You can use the cooking facilities, but it's far nicer to take advantage of the generous, simple, but well-cooked meals on offer ($). Lunches are usually a traditional dish or toasted sandwiches; breakfast and dinner are also available and all meals include a good vegetarian option. Bed linen is supplied, but you need to bring a towel and toiletries (including soap and shampoo). Babysitting is available. The lodge is inaccessible to all but 4x4s, but a shuttle is available from Mthatha and from closer destinations (where there is safe parking). If you are self-driving, the lodge will e-mail you a detailed map with distances when you book. Guided trips (R30–R140) include canoeing, cultural tours, and horseback riding. You can also have a massage (R50–R100). A 37-km (23-mi) guided walk to Coffee Bay via Hole-in-the-Wall costs R70 one way, and you can arrange to have your luggage transported; keep in mind that it's only for the relatively fit. You can also do the trip in reverse, from Coffee Bay to Bulungula.
Bulungula River Mouth, Nqileni Village, South Africa