Images: Jacqui Ikin & Supplied.
Day one of the Wild Coast Trip – Jozi to Underberg via the Lower Lotheni Road.
Underberg lies in the foothills of the majestic uKhahlamba-Drakensberg (which is a World Heritage Site). Picture dusty roads, pristine mountain streams and beautiful mountains in the background. It is an administrative town for the dairy and cattle farming community in the Mzimkulu River valley. In 1886 a local farmer set up a trading post, which was the beginning of this quaint little village. In 1917, the railway from Pietermaritzburg reached the area. Today, beyond being an important commercial centre for the farmers, it is also a trading centre for people who come down Sani Pass from Lesotho.
Perfect trout fishing countryside at Umzimkulu River Lodge.
When we travelled through Himeville to reach Underberg, I wondered why there were two separate towns right next door to each other. Research revealed that, at the time, those in power felt that Underberg lacked adequate natural defences. Himeville was thus established right next door (6 km from Underberg) around a fort built in 1896 by the Border Mounted Rifles. Underberg is also famous for trout. In fact, it is one of this sport’s most popular and rewarding destinations. People come from all over South Africa to enjoy flyfishing in the pristine rivers, lakes and dams.
The lodge is built right on the banks of the Mzimkulu River.
Our destinations was the beautiful Umzimkulu River Lodge. This establishment, situated on a picturesque bend of the river, offers seven, fully equipped self-catering cottages.
Beautiful self-catering cottages right on the river.
The venue offers hiking, tubing, fishing and more. For us, the appeal was the peace, and the sound of the running river. We unpacked, lit a fire and relaxed whilst the boerewors and a spatchcock chicken cooked to perfection.
Different cottages have different layouts…
Mid cooking process we had a cloudburst – which fortunately didn’t impact on dinner as the braai is under cover on the veranda. After dinner, it wasn’t long before we called it a day.
Just a man and his dog, taking a peaceful moment…
Umzimkulu River Lodge is the perfect place to relax, rejuvenate, and simply unwind, leaving the stress of the big city behind. Should you wish to take your pooch along, there is even a pet-friendly cottage. You are surrounded by nature and the birdlife is prolific.
Bright and early the next morning, we headed back to Underberg to find breakfast, as we had a long day ahead of us. We came across the Lemon Tree Bistro – a wonderful little restaurant that warrants a visit if you’re in the area.
The food is delicious, and the coffee is good! The menu is small but creative and comprehensive, and the ingredients are fresh and tasty.
The interior of this delightful spot is cosy and bright – and the service is efficient – with a smile!
Whilst you’re waiting for your food, you can browse a selection of art, and well as some local books, coffees and other local bits and bobs.
The food is thoroughly delicious – I had a poached egg, served with avo and pesto ciabatta toast. Sublime!!
After this wonderful little break, we hit the road – excited to finally be heading towards the Eastern Cape and the Wild Coast…