Umzumbe Beach

The sun is just lightening the morning sky in the east. I've been up for a while after falling asleep to the sounds of the surf breaking on one of my favorite beaches - Umzumbe. There is absolutely nothing like this anywhere else in the world, at least that I have seen. What a stress reliever this place is.

We left Ashburton yesterday morning early. Debbie's sister Karen was on her way back to Zimbabwe and they were dropping her at the airport in Durban so they dropped me first at Zoze and Bryan's. We loaded the car and headed out. The trip was about an hour and half, down the hill (we are at about 2000 feet) and on to the coast road heading south. Once we were out of the industrial area that surrounds Durban, just like any major city, the countryside opened up to the rolling hills of Kwa Zulu Natal. Miles and miles of sugarcane, interrupted by the primitive (by most standards) housing, some the traditional rondavels (round buildings) but most the newer rather ugly low cost concrete block tiny square structures. Many don't have toilets, just outside longdrops. But some of the newer ones have what look like prefab, ready-to-go (no pun intended) composting toilets, provided by the government.

There are a couple of small towns along the way, but no major developments. A few new houses have gone up in the past year, according to Z&B. The road winds through the hills, with tantalizing views of the water and amazing coastline. We zipped by Clanstal where Rosemary and John's cottage is and where I will go in the next couple of weeks. The Cottage!!!! we are staying at sleeps about 16 I think and is set up on the hill directly above the beach. The native bush shields it from a lot of the breeze, and a path makes its way down to the gate, through the indigenous plants that crowd it. The house itself is wonderful, open on the front with 180 degree views north to south. Absolutely breathtaking.

We went for a nice walk out to the rocks called Stabel, but it was very high tide, and the beach was too steep so we paddled but didn't swim. The water is about 75 and I really wanted to get in but it was just too rough. The beach was beautifully clean though and there were maybe three other people out. Bryan went back before Zoze and I and managed to trigger the alarm system on the house! Frantic calls and everything was ok! That is something I am getting used to again - setting and unsetting alarms around the place.

My favorite place to sleep is upstairs in the bunk room - four beds along the walls with windows directly above, looking out on the same view as the main living room. The house is three stories high, and downstairs are three more bedrooms and the game room, which saw a lot of ping pong action last night. Zoze and I had quite a battle going. Wore us out so it was an early to bed.

No one else is up yet; the surf is calmer than yesterday too. We will probably go for a drive south to Port Shepstone and the coffee plantation there. And maybe to the casino (I'll spend my big R10 allotment ($1.25) on the slots.