Wild Coast Sojourn – Lower Lotheni Road and Underberg

Wild Coast Sojourn – Lower Lotheni Road and Underberg

Images: Ian Georgeson, Jacqui Ikin & Supplied.

This newsletter comes to you whilst we are still on the road on our Wild Coast Trip, with incredibly limited comms. As such, today’s format is more visual than verbal…

The entrance to the Blueberry Café.

The roads less travelled… that’s where the true appeal lies!  Our plan, in a nutshell, was “The Wild Coast”. So many routes to choose from! The rumours of a spectacularly beautiful little road along the base of the mighty Drakensberg abounded. It was too inviting to miss, and so the remainder of the route to the Eastern Cape  was planned around that. Leaving Joburg early on Sunday, we cruised merrily along until we reached the turn off that would take us to the Nottingham Road area. Ian had previously discovered a delightful little spot known as the “Blueberry Café”. 

Brunch was absolutely delicious!

From the direction we approached, there was no signage for the café  – you need to look out for the sign for Netherwood Farm. This delightful café is a relatively large establishment with a fair amount of seating. That said, we were asked if we had a booking when we arrived, so it obviously gets very busy, especially on a Sundaymorning. It may be worth booking a spot if you’re planning a visit and have an ETA. Luckily, they were able to accommodate us.

The view from the counter where we had our breakfast…

The views from this café are lovely, and if you want to take full advantage – sit at the counter. The food is exceptional and the service is good. They also have an array of interesting items available for purchase, such as honey, chutney, boutique blueberry gin and even some rum. A somewhat surprising mention in a ‘’restaurant review” is the bathrooms. They are quite lovely, with beautiful copper taps, glass frontage and views that go on forever. We had a delightful brunch and I believe that their blueberry cheesecake is something to write home about! 

The loo with the view.

A short drive down the road and we were on the famed “Lower Lotheni Road”. A friend of mine had assured me that this was a road not to be missed, and that I would love every minute. He was absolutely spot on. This road has got to be one of the most scenic in the area. Initially the road is tar, with farms every couple of kilometres. Further along it becomes dirt, with pristine grasslands and small waterfalls on the left and on your right you have the steep escarpment and the border of Lesotho.

So much water everywhere…

The Zulu name for the Drakensberg is uKhahlamba, meaning “barrier of spears”.  When travelling along this road, it is clear to see how the sheer cliffs and sharp pinnacles give rise to this name, creating an almost impenetrable barrier.

“Barrier of Spears” clearly visible…

The origins of the Afrikaans word “Drakenberg””(Dragon’s Mountain) are less clear, but one could easily imagine dragons residing in this area (Lord of the Rings Style), or the fierce storms of the area to be an angry dragon breathing smoke and mayhem down onto anyone daring to enter the realm.

The ladies were wearing the Sunday best…

This road is a gravel road for the most part, and I imagine that conditions change regularly due to the weather in the area. There are some rougher sections, washaways and loose gravel in places. Be very careful on blind corners as there can be vehicles approaching from the opposite direction – sometimes on the wrong side of the road. This is not a road you would want to drive at night – from a danger perspective, as well as the fact that the reason you’re doing it in the first place is for the views ;-).

Even the small rivers were running strongly.

After some time we eventually went through Himeville and on to Underberg… But that is next week’s story!

Jacqui Ikin & The Cross Country Team

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