Mdumbi: tourists and the local Xhosa community intertwined

A wall full of surfboards stares at us, Danish Rasmus and I both pick one and walk to the beach. The waves hit the rocks hard. We run behind each other down to the beach, jump over the sharp rocks and land flat on our stomachs on the surfboards. We paddle out while we get hit by the first brakes. A moment later we’re sitting on our boards, waiting for the perfect wave.


When the wind increases (level full power in no time) and the thunderstorm starts, Helga and I decide to pack up the tent temporarily and hide out with the dogs in the kitchen.

Getting excited by the drummer’s first beats at a concert, that’s how I feel. The hail falls loudly on the steel roof and the noise is overwhelming. The wind also lets us know it’s here with the branches slashing agains the building.



After the hail stops we move to the “living room” where everyone else is and a couple of hours later, slightly intoxicated, after hearing a lot of travel stories, we pitch up the tent again.

February 27, 2016

We wake up from the sun heating up the green canvas and the inside of the tent rapidly. The sky is clear blue and all that is left of yesterday’s storm are the branches and leaves on the ground. Bare feet we walk on the wet grass towards the kitchen. A large cup of coffee washes away the light headache.

Johann, the owner and instigator of Mdumbi Backpackers takes me on a walk around the property. He grew up here. His father used to have a holiday home in the area and Johann spent a large part of his childhood in this area. He uses the money the backpackers generate to improve life in the community. For example, he oversees a project building a hospital. He also brings the community closer to the tourists who visit Mdumbi by having the church and pre-school on the property.

Johann also feels close to us. Together with an old Honda African Twin he travelled around Africa. He integrates sports (surfing), local community, travellers and tourists. He does it in a way I have never seen before, it is like a good cocktail where you don’t taste the alcohol.

For the last time I paddle out to catch a few waves before they all disappear and the ocean becomes quiet again. Afterwards we drive on to the next place on the map: The Wild Lubanzi.

Mdumbi Community Projects

Mdumbi Backpackers is situated on URC premises at Mdumbi Beach and was founded on January 2002. Thirty% of this backpackers is owned by 5 local employees, 10% of its profits are given to the local community representing body and 9% to TransCape NPO. It is closely involved with the community and formed Transcape NPO to respond to the educational, economic and health needs in the area. There vision is to active communities that address and improve their own health, education and economic development. There mission is to provide access to the support, knowledge, and resources necessary for communities to initiate the process of change towards a better quality of life. See

On the health side Transcape has started a HIV/Aids program which include the implementation and management of awareness days, support groups, an ARV clinic, training programs, wellness and home base care. Transcape is managing a malnutrition project at Canzibe hospital, does maintenance and upgrading of the hospital and surrounding clinics, support community members with transport for medical emergencies and maintain a project concerning multimedia communication between Canzibe Hospital and clinics.

On the education side Transcape has started an education project at Mdumbi Backpackers. This involves a library; extra English and life-skills classes for school goers; preparing matriculants for final exams; computer, business, secretarial, entrepreneurial and vocational training for young people ready to explore the labor market; a pre school and ABET. Transcape also sponsors a pre school at Canzibe Hospital.

For economical growth Transcape started an interest free micro-financing project through which multiple small businesses like shops, brick-making, gardening, chicken farming, ext. are formed. Transcape is also involved in tourism development and agricultural programs.


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