Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Dumbe Chalets

February is always a traumatic month of the year for me because I have to try and work out what to give Caron for her birthday and this is not a trivial task because anything that she really wants she just goes and buys of her own accord. This makes it tricky because I have to divine somehow what she really wants but doesn't know that she really wants - a conundrum that I am sure many significant others find themselves in. This year, the problem beat me and I resorted to a weekend away which was this weekend past.

We had previously discovered the cottages when we were at the barnhouse with Carons whole family and we were trying to escape for some peace and quiet. We drove down in the mini which handled the long distance absolutely fine and arrived to darkness. There had been a power failure, ESKOM load shedding we assumed but we assumed wrong - it was a plain old fashioned power failure.

The first evening, friday, we spent reading by the light of our Petzl headlamps and relaxing. The thing that strikes one the most on arriving is the isolation and silence that surrounds the cottage. As the crow flies the nearest farmhouse is only a kilometre or two away but by line of sight, the nearest lights were at least 10km away. The silence is so complete that it actually sounds loud which I know is a contradiction but it is the only way to describe it. The next morning we woke up early because the sunrise shines straight into the cottage as soon as it comes over the horizon so this probably isn't a good place to sleep in. We were greeted to the following sight of the mist rolling off the escarpment and down into the valley.

After a very leisurely breakfast and a phone call to inform the owners that there was no electricity we took a stroll along the top of the escarpment to the barnhouse where we had previously stayed. The intention was to invade the spa that was being built the last time that we were here but unfortunately it had not been completed yet so we'll just have to come back in a year or so's time. When we pitched up at the spa we found that there were no guests so the staff and owners were kicking around enjoying the break between a full house the last weekend and another full house the following weekend. We went past the barnhouse which looks very different to when we last saw it - they've added an entire new wing onto it complete with indoor swimming pool. We got back to our wonderfully isolated cottage at about 12:00, had lunch and relaxed for most of the afternoon.

Since Caron is a rugby addict we couldn't miss the Sharks game so we buggered off the the "Caterpillar and Catfish Inn" where we commandeered a portion of the bar and watched the game. They won so I had a happy Caron for the evening. After a very good meal of which I could only eat half, we retired to our place of solitude for a spa bath and an early night. One can sit in the spa bath and look out over the nightlights of the kwazulu-natal lowlands (it's relative) listening to the wind whistling over the roof. I had to take a run outside to check how cold it actually was which was not nearly as cold as I thought it was going to be. Nonetheless, it was nice to get back into the warmth of the spa bath.

The photo above show the layout of the cottage which is basically one big room and is strictly a two significant other establishment. For instance, it is totally impossible to split the bed since the base is concrete and it is a genuine one piece queen mattress. When we woke up the next morning there was this blanket of cloud in the valley below which the sun rose over. It was absolutely fantastic, it would be hard to have too much of this.

We spent the morning doing nothing but reading and drinking coffee and left after luch which consisted of left overs from last nights supper. Driving out of the gate we were confronted with the picture below and they weren't exactly keen on getting out of the way either.

The whole weekend turned out to be a fantastic break, principally because once you are down there, there is nothing to do which is great if only in small quantities. I'm not sure I would survive a week there but a few days is absolute bliss. Yet another sh!t day in africa. Tough to have to go home in order to work in order to pay for the luxury.

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