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Extraordinary Ordinary Eastern Cape: Haga Haga

Ahhh… Haga. There are many gorgeous spots along the Eastern Cape coast but this is the spot we have spent a few festive seasons at and it has a special place in my heart.

Taking a dirt road from the Kei Road/Morgan Bay tar road, after 13km of bone jarring bouncing, you round a corner, crest a hill, and Haga Haga lies before you – the first of which you see is an ocean that looks like you could leap right into it, framed by a cliff on the right, and Christmas trees on the left (Marshstrand).

"Haga Time" is as slow as treacle.. Mondays flow into Wednesdays, into Saturdays, into Mondays again. The lagoon is warm and sheltered, the rocks are good for fishing, the gullies good for rock-pooling or snorkelling, the sand good for lazing.

Running and cycling is popular and for good reason – a favourite run of mine is up Whale Walk, around the top of the hill overlooking Pullen’s Bay, then down, through the town, along the beach to the Marshstrand trees and back. It feels pretty long but a return trip clocks in at around 8km.

I was cycling this holiday and there were a few distance options: From Haga to the tar road and back was 30km. From Haga to Marshstrand and back, along the road, was R40km. From Haga to Marshstrand and then back via the beach/lagoon and hotel was just over 20km. For sure, riding on gravel is pretty hectic; I’d say the 50km ride I did (Haga to the tar road, then to Marshstrand and back on the gravel) was the equivalent of 70km on the road.

The Haga Haga Hotel is always cheerfully full but welcomes day visitors as well; an afternoon sipping cider and watching the sun go down is one of my holiday highlights, and off the menu you can’t go wrong.

With the hotel shop selling booze and other niceties, and the shop at the top of the hill to take care of basic necessities – including fresh bread and the Daily Dispatch if you’re early enough – a holiday at Haga is one of life’s pleasures. – Words and Pictures: Taralyn Mclean, December 2019

Extraordinary Ordinary Eastern Cape is a series published on The views are entirely my own. For more Extraordinary Ordinary Eastern Cape people and places, visit

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