Be still my Heart – Boston Bulwer Beat

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A lesser-known part of the Kwazulu Natal Midlands (KZN) is the Boston Bulwer Beat, perfectly positioned at the feet of the mighty Drakensberg mountains. I live in the farming village of Bulwer and +-40kms east is her twin-sister town of Boston.

In my typical Durban winter attire (socks & slops) or my usual leopard print gumboots, it takes me 2.5 hrs to get from Durban North to Bulwer because I stop for photos. Dad took 3 hrs to get from King Shaka Airport on his first self-drive trip. Remove stopping & traffic and you’re in for about 1.5 hrs to Bulwer and just over 1 hour to the start of the Boston Bulwer Beat.

Just a note: Boston currently has the most pleasant fuel stop and place to stretch your legs en route to the Southern Drakensberg. The owners are fifth generation farmers, and a few years ago they, like myself, kicked corporate to the curb. I smile when I pass at the far more generous offering that is now Boston Garage. Image Stewardship and Health, Safety, Environment recon trips where part of my corporate days in the fuel industry, so take my word for it.

The Boston Bulwer Beat is the ultimate and most splendid outdoor playground – hiking, biking, river rafting, paragliding, motocross, birding, wildlife & landscape photography, and pure off-road satisfaction.

Being my first winter in the area, I was dreading the ambiguous loss of eloquent summer vibrancy. But winter has stolen my heart with her rich earthy shades and is just as enrapturing in her stark beauty.

Every path calls you ’round the bend to complete serenity, with many an added thrill of high verges, cliff faces and powerful rivers. You can’t help but be endlessly 🚜atractored to the Boston Bulwer Beat, and surrender your heart to the Southern Kwazulu Natal Midlands.

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Timeless KZN Travels: Bulwer – Ard Lui BnB

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I’m writing a feature article on my new hometown of Bulwer for Travel Chat SA. So while I dash around the KwazuluNatal (KZN) countryside compiling content, I will share what I find with you.

In my last post via Tourism Guide Africa I shared top things to do in Bulwer‘s area, now I will share a series of posts specifically focused on the town itself, where to sleep, eat and play. So when you head this this way, be sure to keep your eyes open for this magical place to stay.

Bulwer is at the end of the KwazuluNatal Midlands, and the start of the Southern Drakensberg region, also called the Southern Midlands (yes, it confuses me a little too).

On the west side of the village is Ard Lui B&B, a haven of tranquility, tinged by a personal touch that puts it in a class of its own. The designer, owner & operator is Loretta, who having come to Bulwer in 1959 returned to retire 13 years ago. But retire is far from what she has been doing!

‘Ard Lui is just my hobby’ Loretta humbly describes the historic Victorian stone farmhouse that has clearly had years of attention, making it the inviting Bed & Breakfast that is today.

The gardens are breathtaking in beauty, a seamless blend of  experience and a natural eye for flow & functionality. Twice Loretta has allowed her arm to be twisted into hosting  ‘I Do’ ceremonies on the lawns nestled below Bulwer Mountain.

The dining room and lounge area is decorated tastefully with old and new pieces. The overall feel is homely, welcoming and really just calls you to linger, perhaps take a look through the guestbook.

What struck me most about the bedrooms was the Nightcap tray on the dresser; so beautifully old-fashioned I felt like I was in an Audrey Hepburn movie. But yet the room’s decor is funky and fresh, the bathroom fitted with modern design.

After coffee and red velvet cupcakes we viewed yet another piece of history found at Ard Lui. The shell of an old vehicle, most likely from the ’40s, that was discovered on the property buried under years of underbrush.

What was barely a 2hr visit at Ard Lui B&B left me with a timeless feeling, I had traveled on a tarred road through history’s dusty byways. I saw through another’s minds eye; and like all trips in KwazuluNatal, the scenery was exquisite!

 

George The Chicken

For the last year and a bit, George the chicken has been living on this corner.

I have passed him on a bi-daily basis since he arrived there, and affectionately call him George.

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The corner of Umhlanga Rocks Drive and Westridge Road is where he makes his home, the kind man in that corner residence feeds him.

Around Christmas 2013, George vanished from his traffic light.

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After a few weeks, the story came out.

The kindly man of the corner house, had taken George and relocated him to a residential complex, where he is well looked after.

It was sad, but better for George.

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Then, yesterday, I spotted him. He has obviously broken free of the secure complex, and made him way back to the traffic light.

Mt Moreland KZN – Barn Swallows & Legavaan Sighting

The weekend before my Cape Town Christmas trip, my friend and I went up to Mount Moreland, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

Mount Moreland is about 15 kms from Umhlanga, and is best known for its Barn Swallows.

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The public can view this awesome sight of the up to 3 million Barn Swallows descending on their roost.

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This initiative is courtesy of Mount Moreland Conservancy

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Visitors bring their own chairs, food, drinks, binoculars, and mosquito repellent.

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The roosting time is about half an hour before sunset, but we went on the trip for the serenity and quite of the landscape.

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A pathway leads from the top of the view point, down towards the marshlands

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I begin descending, the only sound the wind whistling and rustling through the cane fields

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The path rounds a bend, and a tunnel of foliage leads down to the marsh, igniting the imagination

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The sparse clouds provide little relief from the midday sun, I head back up the path.

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En route out of Mount Moreland, we crossed a bridge

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Stopped to take photos, my friend noticed a Legavaan (or Rock Monitor) in the road behind us in the road

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The Legavaan vanished as quickly as he had appeared, scampering back to the safety of the brush.

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Further along our route back to Umhlanga, we came across the Dust Pit Tavern.

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It is housed in a picturesque building, Cape Dutch style almost.

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The road home

Typhoon-like storm in Durban, South Africa

Taken from the Caltex KZN South Branded Marketer – All Fuels headquarters in Umhlanga Ridge, Durban this afternoon.

The whole day, there has been a strange pressure in the atmosphere, something was brewing.

And, thank you windguru for the early warning system

My colleague drew my attention to the approaching storm at 14:10.

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The rain hasnt hit us yet, it is the light cloud that brings the cleansing rain down in sheets

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The power of the storm dwarfs the giant companies in the new town centre

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We flocked to the windows, and watched in awe as the storm moved towards our office block at an alarming rate.

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Local radio station, Gagasi Fm seems small in the magnitude of the onslaught

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Notice, the hill in the distance has disappeared

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The white cloud is upon us, and the rain begins

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The rain is upon us

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The rain beats down, a true celestial orchestra

Just reminds me of how small we are

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The rain continues to pout for around 50 minutes

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And by 15:00, its all over

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This taken at 15:55, all is quiet again

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About a 20 minutes drive from here, In Stamfordhill Road in Durban, the after effects are severe.

Funfair Rides, Durban Beachfront, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

If you haven’t been to Funworld or Waterworld, then you haven’t been to Durban, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. You will experience exhilaration and excitement as never before. Share the excitement with family and friends. The Beachfront Amusement Park is a wonderland of fun and fantasy for both adults and kids.

Go to site to book.

I went there a couple weeks ago. The below is from the cable car ride. I also went on the Breakdance ride.

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Situated on Marine Parade opposite the Holiday Inn, the Amusement Park provides secure entertainment for the whole family in a world of carnival lights, music and entertainment. Spend time enjoying all the fun of the fair. The Cablecar provides a scenic and majestic view of the beach-front from the air, while the bigger kids have the fun and the exhilaration of the Breakdance and experience the thrill of the Swingboat. The little ones can experience the Elephant Ride or Carousel. All this in the safety of controlled facilities.

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Breakdance ride above at the bottom

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Beautiful Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

As part of my job I visit various sites in Kwa-zulu Natal, South Africa.

I usually take 2 or 3 day trip, and go as far as Bergville (plus minus 4 hours from home in Durban), stopping in Ladysmith, Estcourt, BostonPietermaritzburg, Richmond, and Eston.

I also go down the KZN South Coast (Hibiscus Coast), as far as Port Edward, and inland, to Harding.

I prefer taking the back roads, and avoiding major highways.

Here are some pics from my last two trips.

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Inland – en route Boston, a tiny farming town in rural KZN

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Climbing the hill on the N2 to Harding

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N2 to Harding under re-vamp

From the top of the hill en route to Harding

From the top of the hill en route to Harding

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Nearing Harding, I spotted this Crowned Eagle

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Back route from Harding to Port Edward, Izingolweni Road 

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Terrain contrast of the Hibiscus Coast

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Rolling sugar cane fields bordered by thick forests

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Route: Richmond to Eston – April 2013

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Richmond to Eston – October 2013

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Bougainvillea in full bloom – October 2013

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R624 – nearing destination Eston

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Rolling hills on the R624

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The in-coming summer rains will see the hills transformed into God’s pallets of fabulous greens

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Majestic evergreen forests

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Finally, returning home to Umhlanga Ridge area

 

Sunset – Glenashley Beach, Durban, South Africa

Yesterday evening, after another perfect Sunday in Durban, South Africa, sunset at Glenashley Beach was a playground for the imagination.

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There were 18 vessels  to be seen on still waters, some full of cargo, others empty.

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As the sun sank below the horizon, the shadows of each ship seemed to be haunting the calm evening, like lost souls waiting to be ferried to another world.

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The windswept clouds mirrored mysterious shapes of unicorn, dragons and unearthly sea creatures.

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Another beautiful day in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa