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Hole In The Wall – An Extraordinary Geological Formation

Updated on May 16, 2017

A Very Fascinating Natural Formation

Hole in the Wall. What’s that about ? you may wonder. Well, Hole in the Wall is a very fascinating natural formation, set just off the Wild Coast in South Africa. It’s an enormous outcrop of rock that rises from the sea, about eight kilometers south of Coffee Bay, in the Eastern Cape. Made up of Ecca shale and sandstone, and capped with hard volcanic dolerite, the rock formation is one of the most awesome and wondrous landmarks of the Wild Coast.

The Turbulent Waves Slap Against The Rocks


The rock’s Xhosa name is esiKhaleni, which means “the place of sound,” because of the majestic waves that crash through the huge hole unceasingly. Under certain conditions, the Hole in the Wall roars, because of the turbulent waves that slap the rocks with a resounding crack, especially during storms. Some Xhosa people believe that these are the sounds of the sea people singing, and shouting, and some of them also believe that this rocky archway called the Hole in the Wall is a gateway to their ancestors world. The spectacular Hole in the Wall was given its name in 1823 by the crew of the British survey ship Barracouta. Seeing the hole that had been carved through the island rock had probably impressed and fascinated them greatly. The rock was called "Penido das Fontes” by the Portuguese, and it means “rock of fountains.” The big hole through the centre of the rock has been eroded over millions of years by the continuous smashing of the waves against sandstone and shale. It is so spacious that a fair-sized fishing boat can go through it with ease, but you should rather not try to go through it with a fishing boat because it can be quite dangerous. The area around the Hole in the Wall is perfect for fishing.

The Wild Coast Has Exquisite Views

Frightening Local Stories

The Hole in the Wall is before the mouth of the Mpako River. It is definitely not a good idea to try to swim through the Hole in the Wall, because there are frightening local stories of swimmers who have drowned, while trying to swim through it. Other swimmers have been bashed against the rocks. Also, if you’re not a good climber, do not attempt to climb the cliffs, because it is quite treacherous. Many people who have climbed the cliffs have had to be rescued from the top. Many ships have also been shipwrecked here, because of the treacherous cliffs, and the shallow reefs that lie off them.

A Fishing Boat On A Calm Ocean

Shrouded In Many Legends

The Hole in the Wall is shrouded in many legends. According to one of these legends, the creation of the incredibly stunning natural wonder of the Hole in the Wall has an explanation that is far more romantic. A Xhosa myth tells of the sea people. They were semideities who looked like human beings, but they had supple wrists and ankles, with flipperlike hands and feet. Although they were kind people, they could sometimes be a little mischievous, and they had such fun teasing mere mortals. A beautiful young Xhosa girl once lived on the Wild Coast, and her village was in the vicinity of the huge Mpako River. The river was abruptly and quite dramatically cut off from the sea by a great rock. One day, one of the sea people saw her, and fell head over heels in love with her, and he talked her into living with him in his watery element. Her father found out about it, and absolutely forbade her from going, and that’s when all mayhem broke loose. Her father didn’t know of the determination of the sea people. One night, when the tide was high, the sea people went down to the rock, and with them they had a very powerful fish. The fish was enormous, and with its head first, it battered its way through the wall of rock, and the sea people followed it, while shouting exultantly. They took the beautiful young Xhosa girl, and she was never again seen by the villagers. Over the passing years, the sea gradually and consistently ate away at the rock, and eventually it no longer formed a wall between the shore and the river, and the Hole in the Wall became overwhelming evidence of the sea people’s great triumph.

The Majestic Waves Of The Wild Coast

The Hole In The Wall Hotel And Holiday Village

The Hole in the Wall Hotel and Holiday Village is situated nearby, and it has such beautiful and delightful scenery. When you stand on the beach, and feast your eyes on the Hole in the Wall, you will feel totally spellbound, because it is truly magnificent, and absolutely exquisite, and it really is one of the most enthralling spots on the South African Coast. Viewing it for the first time is really such an uplifting and memorable experience, and it will make you feel so totally invigorated !


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