Roads to nowhere – Mabibi to Bhanganek

Nestled between Lake Sibaya and the incomparable coast of Northen-KwaZulu Natal lies Mabibi, and its community owned campsite that sits on a stretch of beach that wouldn’t look out-of-place in a beyond my pay grade brochure offering paradise.

Runnign sands - Mabibi

Running sands – Mabibi

Some folks will tell you the road down to the campsite is bad, i’ll tell you if you pick the right route (there appear to be several) that its pretty good, sure its rutted in places and beach in others but for the most it’s pretty decent.

The evening from Campsite Nine

The evening from Campsite Nine

The campsite is hidden in what must be one of the last and best coastal forests on the East Coast, shaded by Milk Berries, Common Resin Tree’s and Milkwoods with a soft sandy beach feel to the rest, it ranks right up there with epic campsites that i have crashed in.

Daytime isn't much worse.

Daytime isn’t much worse.

The facilities are good, the showers hot, the water is not potable and you can hire fishing guides, guides for the lake etc at reception.

To be honest, we ( Krusto Haussmann was still on the journey ) did the place no justice, we sat under the marvelous trees and waxed lyrical about aliens, pyramids, travel destinations and marveled at what at the time we felt was mans greatest achievement – the travel fridge that was churning out cold beers like a mechanized factory.

Truly epic forests

Truly epic forests

The beach is expansive and a short one hundred step walk from the campsite (They are numbered, there may be more, it was hazy.) It runs to the horizon in both directions, sheltered by huge dunes covered with dense forest.

Lake Sibaya - South Africa's hungriest fresh-water lake.

Lake Sibaya – South Africa’s hungriest fresh-water lake.

After two days of sitting under the tree’s we figured with the weather getting iffy, we should check out Lake Sibaya, It was underwhelming. Getting there was fun, the area is a maze of tracks and “roads” and to get somewhere around these parts you kind of point in that direction and set off. Maybe we should have organized the guide. But we got there and it was a lake. Being unprepared was not paying off as expected, its on the revisit list.

It started as one and ended as many ...

It started as one and ended as many …

So we decided to pack it in and head north up a little track which winds its way up the coast, through the southern most part of the iSimagaliso Wetland Park, you need a permit which can be bought at the gate, get there early, they only let 5 vehicles in per day.

There are a few day stops that are pretty run down, but enough to visit the john and have a braai – but this is all about the deserted beaches you encounter, except for a few remnants of humans – we saw no-one. There were a few lodges ( We didn’t bother to visit ) along the routes, but i suspect they are for fish killing people. (I am strictly don’t catch anything or if by some miracle i do, i release.)

Beach access ...

Beach access …

As the day wore on, the single track soon became a lottery, literally road junctions every 100 metres – where you just randomly choose left or right and as long as you are vaguely pointing north you’re making progress. It’s a fun drive, challenging in places, bumpy in others and just random everywhere.



Eventually you will arrive at the Southern end of the Kozi Bay Lakes at a little lalies – Bhanganek, there are a couple of camps to stay at – we only checked out the one on the beach and ended up staying a couple of nights at 300 per person for a tent – there was a nice central kitchen area which got owned by the cliche of cliche fishkillers – from the mustaches, the rugby shorts and the bad taste in music they insisted on playing in the evenings despite being in paradise.

Bhanganek - Campsite on the beach

Bhanganek – Campsite on the beach

But despite our neighbors, it was hard not be cowered by the beauty of the spot, walking on to a deserted pristine beach, watching the sunrise, with nothing but the sounds of the sea lazily rolling on to the beach.

Bridge 19 - The road out ...

Bridge 19 – The road out …

Visit. Be quiet. Avoid the visitors, support the locals. Its paradise.

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4 Responses

  1. clvw says:

    Mabibi, one of my favourite places on the planet.

  2. G says:

    Is it still safe though.

    • stu says:

      At no stage did i feel in any danger. But plenty has been written about this, and after my experience felt it most of it was rubbish, but that was my experience.

  3. I’ve always wanted to take a road trip something like this, it looks beautiful!

What say you?