“The corona virus has been very tough for us at #Utshwayelo Lodge. For five months, we have cried many tears in our hearts, but now that we see you here to help community tourism, it gives us the energy we need to survive the hard times and rebuild our future”.
– Enoch Tembe
We’ve slowed down time ever so slightly – as one does in Thongaland – by bumping our stay by an extra night to fit in the many eco- adventures on offer in this north-easternmost corner of South Africa. Our camp is languishing beneath the spreading branches of a coastal milkwood tree, with a hammock high up in the canopy where you could leisurely sip on a cold #DosM (if you can sniff out a shebeen with an ample supply in these dark times).
Our host is @Enoch Tembe, and his stories of suffering during the pandemic in KZN and Mozambique have touched us deeply. Once again, the joy and optimism with which people have responded to our Isuzu South Africa #BeyondLockdown Expedition all across South Africa has made the long roads (and days) utterly worthwhile.
Our first mission was an early beach run, where we (inadvertently, sort of) crossed the border en route to #PontaDoOuro in Mozambique, with the rest of the day spent exploring our base at Utshwayelo, Kosi Bay Mouth Lodge & Camp, and the scenic #kosibay Nature Reserve next door. This lies at the heart of the Thonga community, and is partly owned and run by warm- hearted locals who trace their lineage back to their ancestors’ arrival from Mozambique nearly a thousand years ago.
Day 2 started off with a world-class culture/cuisine/adventure on the #kosibay estuary with @Rick and Elise Stadler-Padding: we kayaked amidst fish traps, with fish eagles, kingfishers and flamingos galore, keeping a sharp eye out for a young hippo bull which has been playing hide and seek in the tributary feeding the lake. This was followed by a top #palmwine tasting session, and trumped by a sustainably sourced meal of fresh fish, peanut sauce and mealie bread. Plus, I got to drift-snorkel the Aquarium again! Absolutely top day in nature, with Vusi easily rating as my best activity guide of the year so far 🙌🏻👌🏻🙏
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