My family’s yearly trip to the coast is like deja vu in its best sense. The hidden gem of Chintsa Bay in East London never seems to change. We’ve been going there for 14 years. Each year I progress into a different but similar version of myself, but Chinsta? – it always stays the same.

There’s a beauty in it’s slow development. It acts as the preservative of my childhood summers. Like memories of catching jumbo crabs at the midnight hour, taking horse rides down the beach, making sand boats or fishing in the early mornings.

After my 20th birthday this year, I thought that doing my own thing would be a better use of my time. I had university deadlines to meet and found spending some much needed quality time with my friends more appealing. At the last minute I caved and found myself heading down to the coast and for that decision I am so grateful.

I ended up having the best time with my family and documented all the highlights of our trip. Some places we went we’ve been going to for years, but others were new discoveries.

“To escape and sit quietly on the beach – that’s my idea of paradise” – Emilia Wickstead.

Early on during our trip we went to Emerald Vale, a brewery and restaurant. I don’t have any great pictures to show but all I can say is that to visit them is a must when coming down to the East Cape. They have really good craft beers (or so I’ve been told by my family members) and the best chicken strips one can find. There’s a biking and hiking trail too and the view of the endless hills and valleys of the area is spectacular.

The vegan burger and quiche’s are also worth trying.

The Village Bistro is a little cafe around the corner from where we stayed. We would stop here for a morning snack after tennis or a mid afternoon cup of tea. It felt like you could have been sitting somewhere in Greece – the way it was decorated. It was the first time we visited the cafe and we liked it so much we came back a few times. A bonus was that it was like a pit stop for all dog owners in the area and so we got to play with the cutest pups.

Feels like taking a big step towards old age by starting to order tea at restaurants in my 20’s. I swear I do young adult things too (sometimes).

Ah, Nina Deli. Visiting them has been a hardcore tradition of ours for as long as we’ve visited Chintsa. When at Nina Deli you always order their fishcakes and buy their greek style cookies. Never leave without the cookies – you’ll thank me later. Their food is always good and their salad buffet – don’t even get me started. I’d have their salads shipped to me everyday if I had it my way. They have a great selection of desserts and delicious meals and never seem to disappoint.

Every year, we celebrate my little brother’s birthday in Chintsa. This year his wish was to visit the East London Museum. Besides being educational, they have the largest shell collection I’ve ever seen – which is really cool. There’s displays about various fishes that can be found in the Eastern Cape’s oceans as well as some of World War One’s history and the development of the Eastern Cape and how they lived after the settlers from England came.

In the spirit of embracing outdoor activities, for the sake of beautiful summer weather, we all took a shot at playing some tennis at the Chinsta Country Club. We went in high spirits and came back panting, needing numerous naps and an extra tennis ball – that sounds to me like a day well spent.

To treat my brother for his birthday we went to Lavender Blue for breakfast. They’re a combination between a curio shop and restaurant. They sell a selection of handcrafted gifts and clothing as well as fresh food products and baked goods. I ordered a Mango lassie and have never had anything better. It was a lovely start to a day filled

To be honest, I would never have willingly chosen a fish market as somewhere to stop with the many other more appealing alternatives one can visit when on holiday. Nonetheless, My dad wanted to cook some freshly caught fish and what better place to do so than a fish market? They have a restaurant there too and gutt your fish for you – which you can observe first hand. Its situated next to a river and so the view was a lovely addition to the typical car window scenery one experiences while driving long distances between small towns.

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