I usually think that I am so lucky to be living in the most beautiful city in the world – Cape Town.  Then I travel again, and am reminded that I actually live in the most beautiful country in the world – South Africa.   Coming from the dry Cape summer it blows me away how lush Natal is.  It is so fresh flying in over the bright green sugar cane farms.  And yet it doesn’t stop there.  Warm sea breezes, mixed with a few rain showers, rolling mountains and hills, valleys, forests, farms, lush, tropical and green!

I enjoyed the Natal countryside for a couple of days after attending the annual Travel Indaba in Durban.   So while there I looked in on some of the properties in our portfolio and just generally caught up with the area.

My first stop was Duma Manzi.  This is an Eco Lodge located just under 2 hoursdrive away from Durban.  A small sanctuary offering a unique wilderness experience.  It is certainly a grand entrance!  After parking your car at the top of “hill” you are transferred to the lodge in a 4 x 4, which you really need.  A very steep road takes you the 530 meters down into the Umkomaas Valley.  It is a spectacular drive with amazing views!   Around sunset you are privy to that beautiful evening light which only encourages more photographs.

Heading into the Umkomaas Valley

Having enjoyed a 3 course meal and a couple of drinks it was time to “retire” as Simba put it.  A warm bed in this deep valley is the way to go.  The river is flowing strong, but rains apparently have not been as good this year.  Still the river helps lull me to sleep – it doesn’t intrude, but you know it is there.

With the sandstone cliffs shrouded in mist and towering above me, I enjoyed such a peaceful run in the Umkomaas Valley early the next morning.  Some wildebeest, zebra and the cheeky bandit mongoose were there to keep me company and the early morning birds welcomed in the day.  Breakfast was served on the deck overlooking the Umkomaas River as the sun started peeking through the clouds.

The deck overlooking the Umkomaas River

This is part 1 of a 2 part series.  Part 2 will be available on Wednesday.