My husband and I were on holiday at his parents’ place in Durban, South Africa for our Summer vacation and we decided to venture out and explore some of the local, untouched beauty that the country has to offer. A friend recommended Qunu Falls Lodge near the central town of Ixopo. The rates were reasonable and the pictures I saw were amazing.
It was a 2 and a half hour drive from Durban. The roads were pretty good and the hotel staff at Qunu Falls Lodge provided good directions and the location for the trip. The drive was really scenic, especially the last 15 minutes. The Lodge is set at the top of the valley of Qunu Falls, an amazing but rarely visited attraction. On the way there we drove through a lush mix of grazing land for livestock and forests. The air felt pure and the weather was great: sunny with a cool breeze.
Everyone at the lodge seemed extremely friendly and happy to receive us. The Lodge was situated at the top of a large valley. The day time views were spectacular. The facility had a clubhouse and bar that was surrounded by individual cottages scattered across the property. Our cottage was really cosy and private while including all the necessary amenities: a fireplace, kitchen, bathtub and a private outdoor barbecue area or what the locals call a Braai area. Other recreational facilities at the lodge included Tennis courts, a fishing lake, a massive trampoline, a mini-golf course, a swimming pool and some farm animals. The main attractions, however, were the various hiking routes and viewing points of the waterfall. Knowing that The restaurants usually have limited options in places like this, I made sure to pack my own food and snacks for the weekend.
Peace and quiet
We arrived at around midday. My husband unpacked the car and got the fire going while I took a walk around taking pictures and looking at the farm animals. It seemed like the perfect place to do nothing. The lodge was almost empty since it was a weekday in September, which is the beginning of Spring in South Africa. As I lay in a hammock in front of the lake I lost all sense of reality. I felt a sense of peace in that moment that is rarely experienced in big city life. I could have spent all day watching the ducks in that lake, surrounded by the beautiful hills and trees of this landscape.
The next day I was up early, eager to see what Qunu Falls was all about. I had heard the sound of water faintly from the clubhouse but the waterfall was not visible from there. We checked in at the lodge reception and got some advice and directions for our hike. It is also advised for guests to inform the reception when intending to go on a hike, as a safety precaution. I opted for the shortest available hike as I was recovering from a back injury. The hike took us on a mild down-hill path through the valley of forest and thick bush. It was well marked will no major obstacles.
As we walked closer and closer we began to hear the rush of water get louder. After an hour of walking we arrived at the top of Qunu Falls. It was an enchanting site. It was not the most beautiful place in the world. However, it was a special place that I could share with a special person, my husband. There was no one else in sight. It was just the two of us. We couldn’t hear anything else remotely human. This is what I loved about being here. On the way back I encountered a curious cow in the fields. I’m no cow whisperer and I’m pretty sure I suck as a shepherd but I went over to say HI.
We spent the remainder of the day walking around or sitting near the pool talking. We had a jump on the trampoline which was fun, even for me. It was a great weekend away, overall. It was everything we had expected. The trip was quality time well spent with my husband and it didn’t break the bank.