MAPUTALAND TO PONDOLAND

MAPUTALAND TO PONDOLAND

After living it up at the awesome Rocktail Beach Camp for a few days, we moved fairly quickly down the coastline. Kerryn and I have both spent many childhood holidays along KwaZulu Natal’s North and South Coasts, so we decided to breeze through that part of the journey quite smartly, giving us more time to explore the Wild Coast. Besides, it was almost Easter, and with half of Gauteng migrating to the beaches of KZN, most accommodation was fully booked. There were still a few highlights along the way though.

On our drive to Lake Sibaya, Mbongeni pointed out a road that ran down the coast all the way to Sodwana. He couldn’t recommend it highly enough, so after leaving Rocktail we ignored the signs pointing to the tar road, and took the road less traveled instead. Mbongeni’s little sand track was in pretty good nick, and it gave us some great views of Lake Sibaya. But we’ll remember it for something else: getting well and truly stuck. After pulling a little too far over to let another car past, we tried to ease back onto the road, but ended up sliding down a little slope instead. Fortunately the guys in the other car realised what had happened, and after a bit of a push, we managed to get Andy out. Less fortunately for us, they were driving a Toyota, and there was no shortage of friendly suggestions about the vehicle we ought to have been driving. Sigh.

We eventually re-joined the N2 near Hluhluwe and continued on to the town of St. Lucia. After all the rough sand tracks and deserted beaches further north, St. Lucia felt a bit like The Big Smoke, but it did give us a chance to stock up on a few supplies and get some internetting done. We also spent a very chilled out afternoon near the river mouth at the local ski-boat club, which reminded us a bit of the Zoo Lake Bowls Club (RIP), but with a slightly better view. The next morning we took a drive to Cape Vidal through the Eastern Shores section of IsiMangaliso Wetlands Park. It was one of those mornings when the light was incredible, but we couldn’t find anything to photograph. We were super impressed with the park though, which has received a lot of love since I was last there on a varsity fishing trip.

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Before we hit Durban, we got very spoilt with a couple of days at an amazing beach house on Prince’s Grant Golf Estate. Even better, we spent those days in the company of some really good friends. Buddymoon! Thanks so much Brandon, Iona and Dennis for the invite, and thanks for coming through, Rich, Jen and Lucy – it was one of the real highlights of the trip so far.

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We both have a real soft spot for Durban – there’s a unique energy and creative spirit to the place that a lot of people in Jozi and Cape Town don’t know about. But Durbs was never going to be one of the big stops on this journey. It did, however, give us a chance to catch up with family and friends, and just put our feet up for a bit. It sounds completely brattish to say that this kind of traveling can be tiring, but we’d been filling our days with so much up to that point, it was pretty awesome to just chill. Thanks for having us Si, Del and Olli – come stay with us in Gangsters’ Paradise some time.

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From Durban, we sailed down the N2 on a howling northeaster. We made another short family stop in Scotburrough, then swung into Margate to take in some of the historical landmarks, like Backline and the beachfront Wimpy.

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At Port Edward, we crossed the Umtamvuna River into the Eastern Cape, and the scenery changed almost instantly. Garish holiday resorts, speedos and ice-cream salesmen were replaced by rolling hills, cows in the road and little turquoise huts. After a short sabbatical in the land of first-world comforts, the adventure was up and running again.

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