This forgotten beach is an escape from urban monotony


Fumbatha May’s heart was dancing inside his body. That’s how he recalls feeling when he visited Cintsa for the first time. May’s extended family had reunited there to celebrate his uncle’s wedding, the nearby forests and ocean providing the perfect backdrop to a weekend of bliss. But over the years, he almost forgot about the village. May settled in East London, his life a pattern of the same routes, routines and people. It soon started to feel mundane. That was until a failed yoga session took him back to Cintsa almost 20 years later, and reignited his love for the Eastern Cape.

May, who works as a writer and data analyst, had been looking for a place to practice yoga. When friends who worked at a Cintsa backpackers invited him to a 7:30am yoga class, he didn’t hesitate. “Bright and early, I drove all the way there. I walked around looking for the yoga class. I couldn’t find any sign of it and ended up on the beach,” he says. May stayed for two hours, contemplating the serenity of his surroundings. “The following weekend, the same thing happened again,” he says. “Eventually it became my own place. Every Thursday morning I come here to meditate.” The beach is just 15 minutes away from the East London Coast Nature Reserve, another of the Eastern Cape’s natural treasures.

Despite the grogginess and caffeine cravings, May starts the 45-kilometre drive early. “By the time I’m here I don’t feel the need for coffee anymore.” Recently, May’s family bought a farm in Cintsa, planting roots in the seaside village. “There’s no part of the country I don’t feel at home,” May says. “But a place this pretty, I can’t wait until we are a part of this community.” His love for South Africa extends across the country. “What makes South Africa special is our ability to have a good time in the face of adversity, to appreciate what we have,” May says. Cintsa Beach is a reminder of our country’s beauty that risks being forgotten if we don’t take the time to stop and notice.