I think it’s 3rd today.. my feet are cold and numb and my body is tired but I feel so so rested. I am sitting in this quite corner at wild lubanzi backpackers, sipping a cup of hot water and thinking where should I start to share the last three days..
So on 1st we left southbroom and headed southwards on our journey. Beyond southbroom, the road goes inwards and even though we need to go along the coast, there is no road. The scenery completely changes from coastline to vast empty grasslands with villages scattered at distances.
I loved the way the sun and clouds played to put random shadows on the grassland. (I realised I haven’t got a great picture of that on my phone.. but once I am back home I will get all the amazing pictures from my camera and upload!)
Durban and the surrounding area is zulu territory and now slowly we were moving into xhosa territory. The difference was quite visible as the style of houses slowly changed to round homes with straw roofs.
But the most amazing thing of that drive for me was to see the moon and the sun together at the same time. It was around 3:30pm and I looked up and saw the moon. I pointed it to sikander “look the moon is up already. But it’s just 3:30.. and I looked out of the window on the other side and there was sun.” I can’t even explain the excitement. It was childlike… I had never ever before seen the sun and moon together! At first I couldn’t even understand how it is possible until sikander explained. It felt like going back to the revolution and rotation class :p
Around 5pm we reached wild lubanzi backpackers. We had to park the car around 5 km away and then they came in their jeep to pick us up. The wind that day was high and it was so so cold… nobody had prepared me for this.. I was thinking December, southern hemisphere! It would be summers 🙂 but no its cold and it’s raining.. I started complaining but as soon we entered our room, just the view outside was enough to forget everything.
Rightly as they say on their website, wild lubanzi is at the end of the world. The Indian ocean stretches as far as the eye can go… and the coastline is beautiful. Our home for the next 3 days, lubanzi, is a warm cozy place created by Rahel and Aidan. you can see the labour of love that went into creating this little corner they have. That evening we had warm dinner of veggie stew, rice and vatkoel cooked by Aidan with veggies right from their garden.
Next day morning after breakfast we did a short trek to a hidden beach two mountains beyond… we were back by 11 am and then we volunteered a little in their vegetable garden. Then we picked some veggies from their garden, made ourselves a lunch sandwich and slept off the afternoon. Evening we went to another beach which was just one mountain away 🙂 (I love the distances in mountains) one of Rahel’s dog was our guide and protector on this one.. While sikander went for a dip in the cold water, me and the dog slept on the beach. Today Rahel cooked beautiful fish (for non vegetarians) and eggplant for vegetarians… For the next day we volunteered to cook some Indian dinner 🙂
That night I kept waking up in the middle and look out my glass door to see if it’s sunrise yet.. and suddenly at one time I saw the golden glow coming up in the sky. I jumped out of the bed, woke up sikander and went out.. It was just 4:30.. way too early but it was worth it.. The most beautiful sunrise I have see till now..
After the sunrise, we slept again :p. After breakfast we left for a little longer trek to the hole in the wall. Sarah and Luka who were also staying at wild lubanzi joined us. When we started it looked like it would rain and rain it did. The route was beautiful and the rain added to it. The bright green of the mountains, the slight drizzle and the rocky coastline. For a moment you would think you are in Scotland and not South Africa!
Hole in the wall was about 5 or 6 mountains away. After about 3 mountains, two little boys joined us.. “we will direct you to it” 🙂 I wish we could have taken more pictures long the way but it started raining pretty good so we couldn’t get our camera out too often. When we reached there, for the best views of the wall, one needed to cross the river. Me and Sarah were fine with a little less than best views but sikander and Luka swam across. There were some more scholarships kids there who came across and told us “we can swim and take you across on top, if you want” 🙂
Soon we started our trek back. At one of the mountain top we took a break and while we were looking out in the sea suddenly one of us shouted “there are dolphins out there!” There was a group of 5 dolphins so close to the shore! It seemed like we were walking on the edge of the earth.. There was only Indian ocean as far as the eye would go.. I believe the landmass due East would only be australia, so in a way yes we were walking on one the edges 🙂
The way back, rain made it pretty difficult. At one point I my shoes started pulling me down and I saw that they were about an inch above the ground due to the mud sticking to them… For sometime I tried cleaning them on the grass and walking again but it was just crazy. I was walking 4 steps and stopping to clean them so finally I decided to walk barefoot. And it was so much easier. It’s amazing how initially I was trying to step clear of dung and slowly it stopped to matter where I stepped. 🙂
In many ways the trek and wild lubanzi reminded me of the month I spent volunteering in uttarakhand. Lubanzi was so much like shyamavan. Everything was handmade, everything was done together.. There is not really a difference between staff, volunteer and guest.. everyone is pitching in, in their own ways to keep the place running.
We got back cold, wet and with sore muscles. There was nothing like a hot shower at that point but the sun didn’t shine the whole day and so cold shower it was! 🙂 again a reminder of uttarakhand and my 5 min cold baths everyday :).
After the shower I fixed a lunch from dinner leftovers and veggies from the garden. Lubanzi runs a ‘free lunch’ project. You can pick up any veggies from their garden and use it along with dinner/ beakfast leftovers and fix yourself a lunch. We had a well deserved afternoon siesta and at 4 we started preparations for our bollywood night :). The first thing I made for everyone was the Indian masala chai with cloves and ginger and cardamoms. Nothing kills cold better than that!
And then sikander became the DJ for the night and put on some peppy bollywood music. I love their kitchen.. its open, it overlooks the ocean and you are part of everything going around if you are in the kitchen.. It was the kind of kitchen that would make you want to cook 🙂
We made a simple dinner of potato curry, mix veg, rice and hot chapatis. The chapatis were the hero of the meal :). Imagine warm chapatis coming from the kitcheb as you eat! After dinner we all staff around the table, talking everyone with their drinks or smoke. After some time I came in this corner, tucked myself in a blanket and started writing this post :).
Tomorrow we leave from here !and continue our journey southwards.
PS: I will put up pictures of the warm cozy wild lubanzi and the hole in the wall when we are back home after December 15th