Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The ride Coffee Bay to Bulungulu

Saturday Coffee Bay

We left the farm late morning arriving in Coffee Bay mid afternoon. The crew and guys from THE RIDE were already there after a short riding section that day.
Clint and I stayed at The Sugar Loaf backpackers, while Barry, Joe and the crew were at the Coffee Shack. It was kinda surreal meeting them, after lending them horses for the Dick King ride and then seeing them on TV and networking on Facebook and Twitter with them for the past few months if felt like seeing old friends again.
Dinner was relaxed and the guys great company, I think that I am going to have a great week!

Sunday at Bulungula

There is not much signal here, although there has been signal while we are out riding.
We left Coffee Bay this morning with a break in the rain, but it was wet for most of the day - it was still a good ride, would have been spectacular if the weather was good!
The river at Hole in the wall was unexpectedly deep- we only just got through without getting our seats wet!
Further along as we were crossing one of the many small streams, Barry on Cherokee marched into the what looked like shallow water and disappeared! Joe and I fortunately managed to stop but Barry had an unplanned dunking, cherokee lost his footing, went under and so did barry! Needless to say, Joe and I found a shallow crossing 20m up and paddled through dry. It was one of those moments when everything happens in slow motion and joe and I could not help giggling - sorry Barry, but your face was a picture!!!

The shore line is spectacular and we rode some stunning pathways along the 30km stretch, but it was raining too much to pull out the cameras....

After a 4 hour ride we arrived at Bulungula at 2pm, just making the river crossing before the tide started to push in. This is an authentic African hide away. Run by the local community, it is typically backpacker funky, very laid back and has a very chilled don't worry be happy vibe. If it does not happen now, it will happen just now :-). Lunch was traditional Umngqusho -pronounce nooshu with a click in the middle - or cooked whole maize with potato. This afternoon we are all chilling, catching up with FB and trying to get some clothes dry. The horses are safe in a little paddock between the huts and grazing on knee deep grass. We are in the heart of Xhosa country side, this is real Africa....

We spent the evening sitting on pillows around the fire place, chatting to fellow travellers, wet boots and jods drapped over the fire place, enjoying our wine and a simple supper of chicken curry and rice and apple crumble and cream for pudding.

Bulungulua is a unique place, community run, solar power, rocker showers and compost loos! And cows mow the lawn! Definitely a place worth escaping to.

Monday - Bulungulu to The Haven.

For some silly reason I woke up ridiculously early and saw a sunrise trying very hard to push holes into the rain clouds. By 8am we had several down pours, but miraculously by 10 am it was blue Sky. We headed out in time to cross the Xora river at low tide. Its another stunning river with Mangroves, huge lagoon, vast sand banks and an easy crossing! We got our boots wet but our seats were dry, so that was cool.
From here we had several long stretches of beach and a gorgeous detour through the forests before arriving at the Haven Hotel.

Well, this old beach hotel has apparently changed ownership, had a coat of paint, and provides simple rondavel accommodation (very good bed - I slept like a log) and good food! It is sort of caught in a time warp and stuck in the 60's era and the decor made us smile - but it is lovely, remote and peaceful. Set in the Cwebe nature reserve the surrounding bush is pristine. There is lots of game about, although we did not see any. The Oceananous cruise ship sank just off shore from here in the early 90's.

After dinner we checked our route for tomorrow and we had an early night. Clint and the guys had been down to the Mbashe earlier and it looks good for a safe crossing in the morning. We have a 40km ride through to Kob Inn tomorrow.
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