The plan for our one year wedding anniversary was to go to Ndaka which is situated inside Nambiti and probably one of the most amazing places you could go to! Unfortunately, this year went by in a blink of an eye and so before we knew it, our anniversary was two months away and we didn’t save any money for this luxurious holiday. So we headed over to plan B – Kosi Bay.
We came across Utshwayelo lodge in the September issue of Getaway Magazine where they had an article of the 24 most affordable places to go to in South Africa. This place has actually been featured a few times so we decided to give it a bash!
We booked our leave and again, stayed over at the brother in-law’s place the night before, where we enjoyed a very larney dinner at The Chef’s table.
We hit the road fairly early the next morning, as we had a 6 hour drive ahead of us (apparently we drive really slow, as this is supposedly only about a 4 hour drive).
The drive went quick as it’s such a beautiful drive to that side of the world. We didn’t realise how far Kosi Bay actually was and almost wished we had taken another day’s leave considering the far drive. In case you were wondering, Kosi Bay is right on the border of Mozambique. In fact, we had to switch our data off on our phones as it picks up the Mozambique network and you could potentially sit with a hefty phone bill due to roaming.
When we arrived we had a couple of hours of precious sun left for the day, so we quickly checked in, threw on our cozzies and headed down to the beach. You can only get to the beach with 4×4. This was the first time we took our toy onto the beach and got a little nervous at all the soft, thick sand, and unexpected huge puddles of water as well as rickity wooden bridges.
It was quite a drive, and we were certain we had gotten lost as the terrain went all over the place at one stage. You definitely want to venture down to the beach during low tide, otherwise you would be stranded. But once we arrived, we were blown away by the beautiful beach!
Unfortunately the sun didn’t last long, and we had quite gloomy weather over that weekend, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. That weekend was all about relaxing.
My favourite thing about the whole place was the ‘honesty bar’. The bar was completely unattended and you literally just helped yourself to whatever was there, and all you had to do was write it down in the little book provided. The local cats are super friendly too and a real joy to sit and watch. We had a massive storm on our first night there. We were having a yummy braai, and decided that with the first BIG drops, we would move. The words hadn’t even left our mouths yet when the heavens burst open and we had torrential rains pouring down on us (i see a pattern here with all our trips). Luckily there was plenty of shelter so we quickly moved our braai undercover. We spent the rest of the evening in the dining area, enjoying our dinner over a delicious bottle of red wine, playing some board games whilst the most spectacular storm was rumbling away above us.
The weekend went by quick so we decided on our drive home to stop over at Hluhluwe and drive through the park. I was extremely disappointed and mad when we arrived, only to find that their card machines didn’t work and with no cash on hand, they had no back up plan. This infuriated me. Hluhluwe is one of the most popular parks in South Africa, and to not have a back up plan to something as common as their card machines not working, was completely unacceptable to me. And so we got turned away. This was NOT how we wanted to end our anniversary weekend. So we drove back the way we came, in complete silence. Couple of km’s later, we got pulled over for speeding. R1200 fine which the husband managed to get out of. Now we had mixed feelings of joy of getting out of such a hefty speeding fine, but still disappointed that we had to drive straight home. So, we decided to go through Umfolozi, which was a bit out of the way. When we arrived at the gates, we told them about our ordeal at Hluhluwe and they were completely shocked and couldn’t believe we got turned away.
We spent the next couple of hours oohing and aahing at all the beautiful animals we spotted, and left the park at the Ulundi Gate. We were lucky enough to see a MASSIVE herd of elephants!
The trip back took a good 10 hours but we got to see a beautiful part of our country that we’ve never seen and probably never will again which made the trip totally worth it.
I’ve come to the conclusion that husband and I are great travelling partners and no matter what journey we take, it’s always an adventure.