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)