Friday, December 8, 2017

One day on the Wild Coast

On November 18th, the second to last weekend of our South Africa stay, our friend James Le Roux and his buddy Teddy took us for a drive down the wild coast which is one of their favourite places. It's about a two hour drive to Port Shepstone from where you soon hit a dirt road that requires excellent driving skills. Luckily Teddy has a proper Land Rover with excellent shocks so the challenging terrain was no problem. This area used to be called the Transkei during the days of apartheid and it was one of the "homelands". Now it is part of the Eastern Cape province and continues to be the traditional home of the Xhosa people and the birthplace of Nelson Mandela.

Our first stop after entering the region was at this river. 

According to James, the plants growing in the river filter the water but are also a sign that the river water is clean as they don't seem to survive for long in polluted waters. 

My love. 

Something that has fascinated me since arriving in South Africa are the different textures in the landscape. There are something like 900 different plant species on the wild coast that can be used for commercial and medicinal uses. 

We drove by a few homes that had brand logos painted on them. This is the Nike house... 

Next stop was at this beautiful gorge with several waterfalls. 

James and Scott enjoying the view.

Love these small plants growing on the rocks everywhere. 

It is always convenient when there is a rock that I can stand on to bring me to Scott's height. ;)

Finally we arrived at Mtentu Lodge. I wish we could have stayed the night there it was really lovely. We parked the car and had some refreshments at the bar. There was a 7 week old kitten to play with.  Super cute! 

There is a lagoon below Mtentu lodge that normally you can walk around in but due to recent rainfalls the river had flooded the area so we went down to the ocean front instead. The lagoon is full of sharks anyways and swimming is NOT recommended. 

James and Scott went to try their luck fishing, while Teddy went off to look at the plentiful flora.

Where the river meets the ocean. 

Both James and Scott got soaked in this endeavour. 
Scott unintentionally caught a crab during his first try.

I stayed back on the boulders and added to my watercolour travel journal. 

Time to head back to the lodge. 

According to James this type of palm tree only grows here naturally. 

Time to head back, slow and steady...

It's quite the road... and no, we did not get stuck.. Teddy is an expert driver, though the car was on a rather unnatural angle at one point. 

Teddy got excited about this plant. 

And this bird. 

The Puma house. 

Little homestead. 

There are lots of dogs here, kept by people to protect and herd their livestock and their home. We also saw a hunter relaxing on the side of the road with his 10 hunting dogs and an antelope on the back of his truck. 

Another stop at the gorge this time with the evening light. 

That waterfall has carved quite the narrow gorge. 

My love enjoying the view again. 

Though it was a very long day in the car for a short visit we did enjoy it very much and are grateful to both James and Teddy for taking the time and showing us the area. The wild coast definitely had a very different feel to anywhere we had been in KwaZulu-Natal.

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