On Sunday came to Pass that we, for our sins, went to Hella. We packed a picnic lunch and set off for Settler Country – the Richmond area of KwaZulu Natal. The aim was to visit the Soada Forest Reserve, which the map showed as somewhere near Hella Hella Pass between Richmond and Donnybrook.   All this is not far from Ixopo, of Cry The Beloved Country fame.

We duly went to Hella Hella and back, but couldn’t find the forest. Nor did we see likely trees, other than those horrible plantations which have wrecked so much of the ecology.

We then visited The Oaks in Byrne, having decided that in the absence of a picnic a slap-up lunch would do. Alas, they were unable to enlighten us regarding the elusive forest; nor could they provide sustenance. An invasion of MGs had sapped their resources.  

We duly went down the drag a bit to the Blu Pumpkin Cafe – with a few misgivings. Little did we expect the very reasonable and superb gourmet lunch we encountered. Little R loved her pizza (the only concession to less larny food requirements that they offer) and we more than loved our choices. The roast pork was, I think, the best I have tasted, with the crackling superb. Younger Daughter pronounced her curry brimming with flavour. The soup and sweet courses were all most enjoyable adventures in taste. The fresh air was delightful, and it was only slightly into the afternoon before the wind came up and the air got a bit too fresh.

Our genial host obtained from visiting locals some info on the forest. Apparently one should go to the adjoining Highover, an adventure playground. Where one finds the signposts for it is a mystery to me, though. We intend to return and find out, and also to revisit the spectacular Qunu falls. Disturbing rumours were heard that it is intended to muck around with the whole area on some of the ‘redistribution’ nonsense.  I hope these are false. I gather the whole system is on the official ecological critical list, and Highover and Soada (home to the very rare Blue Swallows) represent a remaining 5% of what was once there.


Starting down the Hella Hella Pass gravel road.


Bridge over the Mkomasi River (which has its mouth at Umkomaas).


Looking upstream from the bridge.


Downstream from the bridge.


A view of the river from Hella Hella pass.


Near the top on the Donnybrook side.


The Blu Pumpkin board.


View from The Blu Pumpkin. 

© July 2012 Colonialist (WordPress/Letterdash)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Colonialist, verse, writing, music composition, fantasy, Africa, journal., Food, Nature, Personal Journal, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Gobetween says:

    I hope you find the elusive forest. I have never heard of it and now you have me interested in finding out more.


  2. Tokeloshe says:

    Great food just out of the Blu 😉
    Great post and photos.


  3. Patti says:

    Thanks for the photos of a very interesting-looking place!


  4. Looks a really nice place, Col: and a good restaurant always recommends a place to me. So: is it paved with good intentions?


  5. Nicola says:

    The photos are stunning. Hopefully the area can keep its remaining character and beauty. What a wonderful place


  6. 68ghia says:

    Glad lunch was good Col.
    Hope the forest stays as is – would be a shame to lose it to subsistence farmers and their cattle…


  7. At least you made the best of it.


  8. Marco says:

    The Blue Pumpkin Cafe (I like the name) sounds good! Are forests, though, allowed to pretend to be there and you have to sukkel before you find it? When you get there, I hope it’s worth it.
    PS. What’s good for hiking is great for trail running.


  9. optie says:

    An interesting day trip even if you did not find the forest, I love exploring just to see where a road will lead to but OH is more concerned about getting to our planned destination and how much fuel we will use up!


  10. adinparadise says:

    That meal sounds hellishly delicious, Col. Wonderful views. I hope those disturbing rumours are false. Something like this shouldn’t be messed with.


  11. footsy2 says:

    Thanks for the memories.


  12. melouisef says:

    Looks like a hellava nice spot


  13. Ruth2Day says:

    I’m impressed you kept going, I would have stomped my feet, yelled at my hubby and returned home 🙂


  14. Pussycat44 says:

    That was a Hellaf-a-day then 😉


  15. newsferret says:

    Looks like nice hiking country there.


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