Simplicity. This is what I’m chasing these days when it comes to going somewhere. I want space, nature and a kettle for my coffee! A place to light a fire, a comfy bed and ‘a good deal!’
Some of our Zimbabwean friends were coming down to South Africa and we’d decided to meet in the Drakensberg. When I phoned Ezemvelo, KwaZulu-Natal’s Nature Conservation Board, I was delighted to hear that they were running a special at Injisuthi – a 30% discount on all chalets. We booked 2 chalets for our group of 8 for 3 nights, amounting to a cracking deal of only R2700 for everything! What a way to start a long weekend in the Drakensberg and to be surrounded by all this!
Let’s ignore the fact that it poured with rain for the first two days. Though it certainly didn’t stop us from ‘getting out!’ We hiked in the rain, protected by some cheap bin liner/plastic ponchos, and our slightly insane Zimbabwean friends braved the ice-cold baby Tugela River in full flood, with a bottle of sherry to warm things up afterwards! I was quite relieved that we’d chosen to stay in a chalet and not to camp this weekend. As we passed the campers in mid storm, heading to the river for a dunk in freezing conditions – they looked at us with concern. Their thoughts were easy to read! ‘Oh look darling, there go the crazy people!’ As they huddled in a corner of a cold wet tent, playing with a set of damp cards, they reminded me of our Drakensberg camping trip to Highmoor when we camped in torrential rain and hail for 2 nights. But this time, we knew we had a dry chalet to come home to, with running hot water and a blazing fire. Taking a dip in the ice-cold water makes a whole lot more sense when you’ve booked a chalet!
“It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.” – Dave Barry
“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Finally, on our last day, the sun came out. We decided to do a 6 kilometer hike to Grindstone Caves, which was really closer to a 10 kilometer hike in total. We packed a picnic of cheese, biscuits and enough chocolate to bribe the children to ‘keep on going’ if they got tired….though really, it was the adults who needed it! The Grindstone Trail is great for kids. It took us a good few hours with plenty of stops a long the way. Most notably the enchanting Yellowood forest, complete with a cave, monkey ropes, moss and the most incredible forest stream scene I have experienced since our days in Malawi. I could have spent all day here, if we had the time.
Spectacular views on the Grindstone Caves Hiking Trail
The reason for the name of the cave – a grindstone (!) used by the original inhabitants hundreds of years ago, the San people.
“I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all encumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run. ”
― Henry David Thoreau
“Though we travel the world to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
For reservations and information about Injisuthi, contact the Central Bookings Office.
Telephone +27 (0) 33 845 1000 or see there website for Email contact : Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.