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The Amazing Oribi Gorge

Oribi Gorge

KZN South Coast

My extended family (about 35 of us), took a 120km road trip to the Natal South Coast, in search of adventure, beautiful scenery and the legendary Oribi Gorge. Our journey from Durban to Port Shepstone began not so early one Sunday morning last month, with many stops and wrong turns along the way. This was not a good day to forget your Garmin or your sunscreen, as it was a scorching 29 degrees. The one and half hour drive was extended by another 20km on dusty dirt roads to the Lake Eland Game Reserve. 

The Game Reserve offers many fun-filled activities, such as horse-riding, fresh water fishing, mountain biking, swimming, paintball, canoeing and hiking. If we had left a little earlier (and not, say 11am), we may have been able to take part in some of these. Along the drive through the nature reserve, we were lucky enough to spot some game - an assortment of buck and zebra. The next stop was the ancient caves where the San clan once dwelled, deep within the rocky mountainside. We trod down 383 stairs to the caves, which led to stunning views of lush green hills, San rock art and 365 million-year-old sandstone cliffs. Dozens of photos later, we had to make the excruciating 383-step trip back up. If there's ever a time to find out how unfit really you are, this was it.

A few kilometers further, we were greeted by the amazing Oribi Gorge. The photos I took above does not do justice to the beauty of this natural phenomenon. The panoramic views from the high cliffs down to the glorious valleys, indigenous forests and meandering river was spectacular. To fully experience the majestic scenery, we had to walk along the rickety and unsteady 80-meter-long Suspension Bridge, which towers over the gorge. Even if you're afraid of heights and all things wooden and shaky, this is something that must be tried out. I almost never made it across, but after seeing my entire family doing it - from the elders to my fearless 2-year-old cousin, I figured it was safe ;)

With only a few hours of sunlight left, we didn't have time to visit the world's highest abseil and mountain swing, which plummets 33-storeys into the gorge. Our compasses then led us to the calm seaside town of Shelley Beach, where we witnessed a magnificent sunset on the beach. The English poet, John Keats once said, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." I now know what he meant by this.

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