Follow your heart
We were travelling in pouring rain on the dirt roads somewhere between Jozini and Mabibi in our Land Cruiser. Not one of those fancy new ones you see on magazine covers but a 1984 fj62 station wagon – no air con, no airbags, no rooftop tent, standard except for a winch and snorkel. We were roughing it like in the old days. The one piece of technology we thought we must have was the main reason for us being hopelessly lost. The GPS insisted on taking roads that did not exist. In short, it had more trust in our Cruiser than I had!
In the end the GPS identified a navigable route, the rain stopped and we found ourselves in the most beautiful forest. We drove in a tunnel of trees, with Lake Sibaya visible only here and there. The road wound through village after village until at last we saw the first sign pointing us to Mabibi Beach Camp. Relieved and happy, we booked ourselves in for the next five days.
It was the most beautiful and private campsite I’ve ever had the pleasure of pitching my tent. The sea was the only music, and changed with the tide. It’s a good idea to take such trips while one is still mobile enough to negotiate the 137 steps to the beach. There were no lifeguards and only a few people around; the beach belonged to us and the blue bottles. Here you could almost forget about a place called Civilisation.
Before this trip, we were just a normal family. Then we decided to take a gamble: we cashed in everything in order to do what we had always wanted to do – now, while we are still able. Sadly, even in that remote place, sea pollution was evident in the plastic that washes onto the once unspoilt Elephant Coast. That’s another reason not to wait for ‘one day’ before you travel – we don’t know how this will look in 20 years, as humans always seem to leave more than their footprints behind.
We left Mabibi with no definite idea of where we were going to sleep that night. But that’s what adventure means. If we had known what the next few months had in store, the friends we’d make, the places we’d see, we would not have been able to sleep from excitement. And now we have memories and photos to last a lifetime.