In the Wild Coast of Pondoland there is a wild delight of a place that not many people have heard of (Well, I hadn’t) Twelve kilometres of unspoilt coastline, waterfalls that tumble straight into the ocean with magnificent rock pools, rolling grassy hills dotted with African plains game, patches of indigenous forest (home to Narina Trogons and Samango Monkeys) and steep sandstone cliffs where a colony of about 100 Cape Griffon Vultures nest.
Mkambati Nature Reserve, between the Mtentu and Msikama rivers, owes much of its exquisite beauty to its interesting history. It was once set aside as a refuge for lepers, which prevented locals from settling there. This preserved the beautiful grasslands from the impact of agriculture and grazing livestock.
We stayed at Mtentu River Lodge, in lovely rustic luxury on the Mtentu river. The lodge is just across from Mkambati, which can be accessed easily by canoe.
A perfect day at Mkambati goes something like this…
Set out early (with swimming costumes, cameras and a picnic lunch) and canoe from the lodge across the Mtentu River into Mkambati Nature Reserve. Make sure you drag your canoe high enough up the bank so that it isn’t washed away by the incoming tide! (We learnt this the hard way!) Then spend the morning hiking to breath-taking waterfalls and swimming in welcoming crystal rock pools.
The reserve has an impressive 21 waterfalls in all, the most legendary being Mkambati Falls which plunges straight into the sea! It is one of three waterfalls in Pondoland that flow into the sea and there are only about twelve in the world! ) The falls are most impressive during summer when the rivers are full. Soak up the sun on warm rocks and admire magical dainty flowers. Take a little ‘bundu-bash-style’ walk through the forest, looking out for and listening to rare endangered birds. You can then hike back to your canoe along the beach.
We only had two days to spend in this little place of paradise but one could easily spend a week or more just hiking, exploring and frolicking about the awesome rock pools. I wanted to be there forever! As I jumped joyously along the rocky shore toward our canoe, I felt incredibly grateful for this little taste of a world unharmed by man.
An awesome place to stay: Mtentu River Lodge: www.mtenturiverlodge.co.za/ Bridgette +27 (0)83 234 0436/ Russel +27 (0)84 209 8543 /Email: firstname.lastname@example.org