A road too short
Situated between the Msikaba River and the Mtentu Rivers is a wild paradise that only the brave, mad and romantic will ever visit.
Here’s a tip right off the bat, don’t arrive after dark! You need all the vision you can get to navigate the roads within the park unless you are driving a tank or at the very least a decent 4×4. My little, and now much-loved 2×4 Hilux, took a summary beating on the way in, almost sunk once, nearly got stuck a few times and the undercarriage, judging by the sounds, must have looked like Bill Gates would if he were ever to get into a fight with Mike Tyson.
I arrived blind to the beauty that would greet me the next morning. I could hear surf crashing against rock and see lightning in the distance that occasionally lit up the sea but not much else.
There are a couple of accommodation options within the park, I chose to stay at the rondavels down at the Ngwegwe river mouth, which are damn reasonable at R300 / night / unit, equipped with a gas fridge freezer, a decent enough shower and a kitchen that is more a sink and a gas hob. It was near perfect. Most importantly there was no cellphone reception unless you’re willing to undertake a small hike. Can I get a hallelujah from any traveller worth their salt.
The huts are literally on the rocks and are all sea facing, the view from my bed was of an angry grey sea smashing into the cliff like coastlines. The beach is as you would imagine paradise with a slightly stormier personality.
The coast is endless in both directions and offers fantastic walks and a myriad of rock pools that make you feel like you’re five and exploring it all for the first time in your life. Pristine, beautiful, wild and more importantly untouched by humankind.
If you cross the Ngwegwe river and head towards the Mkaybati River you will be privileged to experience possibly the most beautiful river I have ever encountered.
After a shortish hike you come up over a rise and are slapped, almost literally in the face, by the Strandloper falls which are indescribable, they fall not more than 50 metres straight into the ocean. Truly astonishing.
When you have picked your jaw off the rocks and head further up to Horse Shoe Falls you will encounter at least another five falls, some big, some small and all awesome. Honestly I could just write gooey fanboy tales about how beautiful it is, instead the pics can tell you the story.
I was there for five days and it rained most of the time, no biggie though, I would have stood with a metal rod in a lightening storm just to be there, and i didn’t get to see 90% of the park which is made up of marauding grasslands filled with gullies and river tributaries that each hold their own magic.
There are numerous buck specs in the park. I only managed to spot Kudu, who were kind enough to come and graze behind my rondavel. Some “Velvet” monkeys, as the reserve guide referred to them, were always close by.
The rain of course filled me with trepidation about trying to take my van out on the roads. In the end on the way out i made it three-quarters of the way back to the main gate, again submerging the front of my cab in a river, driving through some soft ass mud and ‘canyons’ while fish-tailing like a student during orientation before Headman, one of the rangers, gave me a tow.
Mkhambathi, honestly, comes close to being one of best places on earth, wild, uninhabited and untouched. Amazing rivers literally falling with the landscape as they barrel towards the ocean and like I said i perhaps saw 10% of the 7000 odd hectares, i can only imagine what other beauty this magical place holds.