Zulu Falls – remote, rural, rustic, restful, real Africa! What a gem of a place in deep rural KZN.  

Hike Leader: Margret Kirsten                                  Report: Penny Purchase
Photos: Margret, Libby, Julia ,Mark, Beth, Merle, Este, Penny

A cluster of quaint rustic cottages with a well equipped kitchen/dining area plus a large airy lapa – all facing the magnificent Mooi River falls. A clear blue swimming pool for the keen swimmers and lazy lounge chairs for the lazy loungers in the pack. 14 of us enjoyed the hiking and facilities for a relaxing 3 days and 2 nights in mid week.

Margret Kirsten, our Organiser Supreme, issued instructions in her crisp Dutch voice and everyone was well informed. In the group, there were 3 couples, 2 x charming mother and daughter combinations and 4 loose ladies. It was a jolly carefree bunch. Some strong hikers too, the newly weds, Este and Alan, and Morgan, who has recently returned from a successful summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. Congrats Morgan!

We fitted in 4 hikes and experienced every kind of weather, except snow. Most of the routes were quite level with small pimple hills.

The first hike was in the afternoon of our arrival. We were provided by a local guide who lacked the eagerness to talk. The hikers made up for him with their getting-to-know-you chatter. We encountered a delightful sighting of 4 towering giraffe, one being a very young juvenile. Close to the ground we were intrigued with watching Mr and Mrs Dung Beetle valiantly pushing their ball of dung to a site for their home. Later, in the far distance we saw a herd of wildebeest.

The cool overcast skies opened up with some rain. We were at the misty viewpoint at The Point and there was no point in hanging around. A hurried walk home through mud, mud, mud! We covered 9.6 kms. A companionable evening followed with plenty of relaxing medicinal hydration being a tipple of your choice.

The next day was cool to start, then cheerful Mr Sunshine embraced us. Margret led us on our hike to view the falls. We hovered around a deserted, broken down stone walled house. Good for picturesque photographs.


 Then on to the view points where we enjoyed stunning views of the falls from above. Here the river cascades to a wide pool and slowly winds through a deep gorge. Its a spectacular spectacle. Some wandered on the flat rocks on the river above the falls with Adventure Man Mark getting rather close to the edge. Libby slipped, not over the edge, but down a rock catching a graze. We then did a bit of bush whacking and leopard crawling under fences – all part of hiking – to get to a shady spot upstream for an early lunch. Refreshed we sauntered home encountering Nguni goats and cattle. We heard the elusive Piet My Vrou. Este cleverly captured an image of him on camera. Pretty spring flowers abounded. Creation at its best.A memorable 5.5 kms slow hike.

Relaxation – a swim – a cold drink at the pool – tea with Libby’s delicious brownies – a rest in the cool thatched huts …. Then some drama … Mark emerged with some wild life in a basin – a live scorpion found in his shower room. A fascinating dangerous home sighting!

That afternoon, those who had the energy, followed our Little Dutch Lady Leader for our 3rd walk to the dam and beyond along sandy roads. Weavers’ nests hung low on pendulous branches at the cool dam. Mr Sunshine beat down hard on us as we hiked further to see the valley beyond. A short hike of about 4 kms.

The braai fire was lit early. Mark was our expert Braai Master. We enjoyed a beautifully vivid orange sunset as only Africa can produce. We had our meal together all seated at the big lapa table and of course accompanied by drinks for medicinal hydration. Some lingered longer, revved up with the exotic blue gin which Merle and Morgan enticed us to try. And much later some wound their merry noisy way, trying to find their way to correct bed in the correct cottage.

Our last day we had our 4th walk in overcast conditions but the heat was there. The Point was our destination. We covered  6-7 kms along a narrow path, no bundu bashing. From the rocky outcrop at The Point we were treated to expansive views of the grassy fields, the roads, the cottages and settlements and the winding river.

Back at the cottages, we enjoyed some refreshments, said our thanks to the cheerful Zulu cleaning ladies and bade farewell of each other …. till our return to the inexpressively gorgeous Zulu Falls. Our thanks to Beth for the delightful video she compiled of the fun time we had.