Tuesday, 22 September 2015

From Bushbaby Lodge to Sodwana Bay

We were booked in at Sodwana Bay Lodge for a week and we were looking forward to the luxury of having your own bathroom within a few yard's distance.  We love the vegetation and climate in this area, since it is normally quite warm when the rest of the country is in winter conditions.We also liked to be able to work on our Bushdrifters website and our other back office stuff.We can recommend this Lodge.  It has quite a high standard and we loved their restaurant and also the tame Nyalas and Bushbuck that roam freely there.We decided to stay another week, but the lodge was fully booked or the weekend, so we went camping at Sodwana's huge camping area in the forest for the weekend, before returning to the lodge.We can recommend Sodwana for the laid-back atmosphere, the diving, the camping and also for the places where you can eat and drink, swim and other activities normally associated with a very popular beach area.  There are also a few Lodges that caters for non-campers and between camps campers .

Low tide at Jesser Point at Sodwana Bay

Camping in the campsites at Sodwana Bay

The Bushies Shop at Sodwana

Restaurant on the beach at Sodwana

Information signs at Sodwana Beach

One of the diving operations at the beach.

A lone angler at the beach

From Saint Lucia to Bushbaby Lodge

From St Lucia, we had a day to spare before we could clock in at Sodwana Bay Lodge, so we searched for a camping spot on our Tracks4Africa electronic map and Voila!  There it was.  Some distance from a town on a farm with a pool and accommodation, including camping.  Just what we needed here:  S28.08202° E32.29193°

We reached the place and was further surprised.  It has a number of cottages and two camping areas.  One near a dam where a few Nyalas came to drink,  The other on the other side of the complex.  Both spots are good, but we chose the one near the dam so we could see the animals as well as the birds from this area. 

The people were very friendly and accommodating,  they told us to be there when the Bushbabys are being fed.  We later on came to watch them and were pleased to them being so near to us.  

We recommend this place for an overnight and also a place to rest and relax for a day or two.

The Bushies camping again after St Lucia's stay in brick and mortar.

The pool area in the garden

The campsite at the "other side".

The ablutions and was-up at night.

Bushbabys feasting.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

From Richards Bay Caravan Park to Saint Lucia

From Richards Bay, we traveled on the the Isimangaleso Wetland Park.  A large area stretching right up to Sodwana Bay.  We stayed in St Lucia's campsites and did a day visit to Cape Vidal.  This area is a foresty, green leafy and wetland area where one should strictly stick to the roads or get stuck in the mud.The campsites and accommodation in both St Lucia and Cape Vidal are usually full during school holidays and one should book early or visit out of season when it is normally rather empty and place to overnight or longer is easy to get.The campsites we visited have many rather tame antelopes like the Natal Steenbok and Bushbuck.  Banded Mongoose travel in waves through the campsites hunting for food.  Birds are everywhere and this is a real pleasure to have all this wildlife around you.The trip to Cape Vidal was great and we saw many a wonderful vista as well as mammals like Buffalo, Hippos, Kudus, Rhino and smaller animals.This area is one of South Africa's most beautiful and is a must-see on any longer trip through the country.

Natal Steenbok

Hippos in the wetland area

Buffalo drinking water in the wetland park between St Lucia and Cape Vidal

More wetlands between St Lucia and Cape Vidal

Towards the Cape Vidal beach

Playing in the rock pools at Cape Vidal

Lanching fishing boats at Cape Vidal

Some of the wetter areas between St Lucia and Cape Vidal

Milking a goat on the Cheese Farm

Inside the shop at The Cheese Farm

The shop and restaurant at The Cheese Farm

From Umlalazi to Richards Bay Caravan Park

From Mtunzini to Richards bay was a short trek and we were surprised with the camping sites at Richards Bay Caravan Park.  We recommend it for an overnight stay and also if you have to stock up near good shops.

The swimming pool at Richards Bay Caravan Park.

Part of the camping areas

Part of the camping areas

Thursday, 10 September 2015

From Zinkwazi to Umlalazi Nature Reserve near Mtunzini

Umlalazi Nature Reserve again proved to us the fact that the coastal areas of Kwazulu-Natal has some of the most beautiful nature areas and also some of the best natural camping and holiday places. There are two camping areas in Umlalazi and we camped in the smaller one.  This was a good spot and there were quite a lot of campers enjoying the weekend.  They were all well-behaved and true nature lovers.We tackled the hiking route along the river towards the beach and passed through a mangrove forest with, strange to us, plant growth and also places that are inhabited by lots of crabs that we saw maybe only two of.Once we reached the beach, we realized that this walk should not be done without ample water, since it was quite hot and the trail somewhat longer than we expected.  Just as a caution to others who plan to do this very rewarding walk.  It was nothing serious and we reached the place where we must climb over the dunes back into the forest and to our campsite.We recommend this place for two nights so that the hike can be done at leisure during one full day.

The lagoon on the left and the forest on the right.

The hike through the forest

View over the lagoon

The blue sky over the mangrove forest

Crab Town

Crab House and outbuilding

The hiking trail next to the lagoon.

Salt-adapted tree

Sport on the lagoon

The wide beach at the river mouth

Dunes on the beach

From Leisure View Resort to Zinkwazi Lagoon Lodge

Zinkwazi Lagoon lodge on the Indian Ocean was a surprise to us with it green and leafy forest growth, its very nice camping sites, its pleasant restaurant, its lagoon and the small distance to the sea where a nice beach pub awaits you with cold drinks and fast food and an opportunity to connect with locals and to listen to their stories about the area.  We stayed a few days before moving on and really enjoyed the experience with friendly staff.  We recommend this place for a two or three night stayover.

Lush forest growth

Bush drifter turned forest drifter.

The Restaurant entrance.

Picnic and braai area for groups

Parking area near the beach.  From here walk to the Beach Bar

Secluded bungalows for non-campers

The Lagoon

Lush growth near the restaurant

The Beach Pub

A Deck at the restaurant

One of the ablution buildings

From Cremorne Estate near Port St Johns to Lesure View near Port Edward

Roads through the Eastern Cape are not of a high standard.  Watch out for potholses, people, taxis, cars, cattle, donkeys and do not attempt to drive at night or in thick fog.When we reached the beautiful roads of Kwazulu-Natal, I breathed much easier and could return to my on-holiday way of driving.  Being part of the popular South Coast tourism belt, many a signpost advertise accommodation and camping.  One such place was Leisure View a little distance past Port Edward and when we moved in there, we were the only campers there.  That is another advantage of traveling outside of the high tourist season.  We chose a site on a green lawn with a view on the ocean and outspanned for two nights.  The ablutions were clean and well cared for, as was the gardens and the rest of the campgrounds.  We recommend this as a good stay over site.

Green lawns on top of a hill.

The ocean in the distance

Offices and ablutions.

A very leafy park with massive shady trees.