Forty kilometres inland from Port Shepstone is a scar on the earth – it is some of Mother Nature’s finest work.
There are two parts to Oribi Gorge, the national park, which you pass through via a winding road that takes you down to the bottom of the gorge and back out the other side. The second part are the various hotels and lodges that offer a variety of viewpoints and activities for those in need of a dose of adrenalin as a side order to the view.
The national park is tiny, with thick bush and whisping waterfalls often spotted only when the sun catches them.There are four hikes in the National Park, the shortest – the Samango Falls hike is a steepish but very easy hike to a secluded waterfall.
A slow motion cascade that mesmerizes, surrounded by trees, ferns and a private beach all to the sound track of tumbling water and bird life. Intrinsic eye candy indeed.
The Nkonka Point hike runs along the eastern side of the gorge before falling into a parallel with the river. The view is bottom up of the gorge and the buttresses of sandstone guard over you from above, which makes for spectacular viewing.
The third hike, which I did not do, goes to another waterfall, Hoopoe Falls. Around 9km long, laziness and a suggestion that the river might not be crossable after the rains, dictated as much.
The rest camp at the top of the gorge on the N2 side is an excellent place to stay, 300 bucks a night for an en-suite double, with a pretty kitted out self catering kitchen. It is also the start of the Mziki trail – the fourth hike, which walks you down into the gorge and joins up with the Falls walk.
It also has a killer viewpoint about five minutes from the rondavels that gives a panoramic view of the gorge and surrounding landscapes.
One of the must visit places is Leopards Rock – it offers accommodation, a coffee shop and an unbelievable view of the “other side” of the landscape. It’s viewing point is leopards rock, that overhangs into the gorge and offers a view that is awe-inspiring.
Another is the Oribi Hotel, it provides the base for a series of viewpoints and adventure activities, including the worlds highest gorge swing.
Included are the Lehr Falls which are like ghosts diving from the sky. Falling about 100 metres, it is spectacular and can be ogled at from most of the various viewpoints.
Oribi Gorge was another place I had never heard of and a gem of a destination that I seriously recommend visiting.
Visually beautiful, activities for all kind of humans and included for free is that uncanny feeling mother nature so often inspires, awe.