Wild Coast Tour V4 - Day 3 & 4
The fourth day dawned with a spectacular Wild Coast sunrise into a pastel blue sky, promising good weather for the hike to Waterfall Bluff. The drive from Mbotyi to Lupathana to the start of the shorter version of the hike is a full on 4x4 route and takes about 2 hours each way. Our regular local guide Armstrong, was there to guide the guests to the falls. Whilst we were negotiating the badly deteriorating road and with Armstrong sitting wide eyed in the passenger seat in total wonderment of what the Land Cruiser could negotiate, he calmly said: "Eish - this one is the elephant. It goes over everything". So we have now added 'The Elephant' to the Land Cruiser's many nicknames.
Not all the guests were up to the walk and remained behind at the lodge to enjoy a relaxing day. Whilst the guests set off down the coastline with Armstrong, I retraced the route back to Lupathana to film the pass that drops down the coastal escarpment. Some research revealed that the road's name is 'Ghanja Road' and no surprises with that name, as this is the heart of cannabis country.
The height loss of the Ghanja Pass is 144m of just 1,6 km. It's not as steep as it sounds as the average gradient is 1:11, but it's the state of this road which raises eyebrows and one's heart rate. Close to the summit there is a pretty cascading waterfall which is only seen when ascending the pass. According to Armstrong, the locals have requested the authorities not to repair the road as it apparently keeps the rogue elements away from the area. That raised my eyebrows!
We are featuring this as our pass of the week lower down where you can get the full story. Once you have reached the southern end of the pass, the track levels off along a plateau for some time, before reaching the final section down to the coast. The Easter storms that wreaked such havoc in KZN, also affected the Wild Coast in a diminishing sequence from north to south, but the roads and bridges have certainly taken a hammering. The day before we arrived at Mbotyi there had been another two days of heavy rain in the area, leaving us with plenty of mud to contend with.
On at least one occasion on this tour we arrived at a washed away bridge, which meant turning the convoy around and finding an alternative route. This is all part of the Wild Coast adventure - never knowing what's coming next.
Later in the afternoon a tired, but contented MPSA hiking group arrived back at the holding point, ready for the bumpy ride back to Mbotyi, where the vibe was relaxed and social as we enjoyed a great meal in the dining area with a magnificent view over the lagoon and ocean. The swaying palm trees in the warm breeze and a full moon, completed an evening of perfection, somewhat enhanced by adequate quantities of Bacchus' beverages.
Next week: Msikaba - Bridges & Vultures
We chat about the history of SA's oldest towns. This week it's Tulbagh. Click to listen.
PASS OF THE WEEK
The newest pass added to our website is the Ghanja Pass. You can cyber drive it via the link below and see why it's so tricky.
Thought for the day: "The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly everyone will side with you when you're in the right" ~ Mark Twain.