We went to Mbotyi for a nostalgic family reunion. As kids, alas all too many years ago, we used to holiday most Julys at Drewe"s camp a few k further north up the coast. Each time we would trek to Mbotyi to visit my Dad's old Scots buddy, Jack Barber, who owned the trading store at Mbotyi - long since gone.
Given all the horror stories we had heard about the Wild Coast and Pondoland in particular, we wondered what would await us. Yes there were some dreadful things which happened in the wake of Chris Hani's assassination, but that was over twenty years ago! But what of the roads? We checked out with friends in Kokstad who assured us all would be fine and that most who complained were basing it on ancient history. So tar all the way to Lusikisiki, then a reasonable dirt road thereafter - the steep descent through the forests to Mbotyi are also tarred for easier access. But if you're worried, just check with the lodge - you don't need a 4x4 or high clearance vehicle. Just take your time and enjoy the trip.
Several of our party stayed at the Lodge and loved it. Don't expect a five star restaurant and gourmet food - this is not one of those fancy eco lodges reserved for those with hard currencies!! But you will have good food, a great pub, and super, comfortable rooms - with spectacular views of the beach.
There's lots to see and do - or just simply veg on the beach and chill!. The Magwa falls are spectacular and a must visit - what a paradise this could be for eco tourists!! Do wander north up the beach as far as you can go (about 4 k) - and, then, if you're energetic, continue on the path as it ascends sugar mountain. `Climb up to the top of the sugar mountain to see the rugged coastline to the north of you - to the south are the endless beaches of this glorious, and still unspoilt coast. And for those of you who love to fish, this has to be one of the best fishing spots in SA. Get a local guide - the lodge will help you - and go do your thing!
We must have stressed the lodge catering staff as we planned a banquet for nearly thirty people - it was a 70th birthday dinner and folks had come from around the country and as far away as Toronto, Canada. The staff pulled out all stops and really we could not have been happier.
So do go - the rates are reasonable. If self catering is your thing, they do have a cottage and an adjacent camping ground. Some of our party stayed in those and were very happy. So no excuses - just go do it!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- At Mbotyi River Lodge, the Wild Coast's leading seaside hotel we offer a range of accommodation options for couples, groups, families or corporate and conference bookings. Guests enjoy a comfortable 3 star hotel experience at this wonderfully remote Wild Coast resort. Our bedrooms all have a private balcony or patio to enjoy the wonderful views whether it is of the sea, the lagoon or valley. All rooms also offer tea and coffee making facilities, a ceiling fan and a safe for your valuables. We have 48 well appointed, en-suite rooms of which 36 are log cabins and 12 in thatched units that blend beautifully into the lush natural environment of Pondoland. 12 Rooms interconnect - perfect for families. We also cater for sporting, adventure and conference groups. ... more less