RETREATS When the pressures of life become overwhelming, take a trip to a sanctuary on the South Coast. Suzanne Ellis visits three retreats that offer the opportunity for reflection
TIME OUT! WE ALL NEED IT. Few of us get it. Real time out that is – time to be still in peaceful surroundings that are conducive to quiet contemplation. Those desperate to really get away from it all will be pleased to know there are three establishments on the South Coast that offer sublime sanctuary from the chaotic pace and hectic demands of daily life. All three are just a short hop from Durban and within a stone’s throw of each other in the Umzumbe/Southport area.
Each has an original energy and a “special attraction”. You can choose to meditate in a chapel, bliss out in a magical garden, navigate a labyrinth, take a silent stroll on a glorious beach or just contemplate your navel to your heart’s content. RAYBERT LODGE The rustic log cabins at Raybert Lodge nestle in a stunning garden in a quiet corner of Southport. A forest ambience is created by majestic trees towering over the three-hectare property.
Birdlife is abundant and occasionally a shy buck will stroll in for a visit. The natural wonder of the atmosphere is so electric that one almost expects a fairy to pop out of the undergrowth to say hello. Nature’s healing energy is palpable, making this a wonderful place to revitalise, re-energise and connect with nature.
Raybert Lodge has an interesting history. A labour of love, it was built by Pam Adams under the guidance of her husband in spirit. Shortly after Ray Adams was shot dead, Pam was guided to leave her home in Empangeni and move to the South Coast to establish a spiritual retreat. She faced enormous challenges, but with the information received from Ray via a medium, she was given all the advice she needed to make Raybert Lodge a reality.
The task required enormous courage and fortitude, but her strength and determination enabled her to realise the dream.
Today, the lodge is run by Adams and Wayne Hartogh. It consists of four one-bedroom self-catering cabins. All are fully equipped with cutlery, crockery, cooking utensils and linen. Each chalet has a fridge with freezer, microwave oven, twoplate stove with oven, toaster, kettle and TV with access to SABC channels and M-Net. A coin-operated washing machine and tumble drier are available on the premises.
The magic of the lodge is undoubtedly the garden, which also has a beautiful pool and braai facilities. The primary objective of Adams and Hartogh is to attract spiritually inclined people who will appreciate what the lodge has to offer and connect with its natural energy.
Adams describes the lodge as “a work in progress” as they have plans to make the property more userfriendly for workshops. A conference centre is planned for the near future.
“Our intention is to make the lodge available for workshops of a more esoteric nature,” explains Hartogh. “However, we will have to ensure that all potential workshop facilitators are ethical because we are the guardians of the lodge, and we must protect its energy and keep it pure.”
Raybert Lodge’s special attraction is the sensitive and compassionate Pam Adams herself – a popular and respected medium/ psychic and author of the book Letters from Raymond. Adams does readings from her special sanctuary on the property. COOLOCK HOUSE Simple, unpretentious and a haven of peace, Coolock House is a wellknown Catholic retreat centre near Umzumbe. Run by the Sisters of Mercy, it was built in 1965 as a getaway for Catholic nuns.
Today, the centre regularly hosts sisters, priests and parish groups from Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and other churches.
It is also often booked by groups conducting various workshops – such as yoga and reiki – as well as individuals who simply want to spend time in a spiritual sanctuary.
Run by three dedicated and devoted Sisters of Mercy – Emmanuel, Marie and Marilyn – Coolock House is right across the road from the beach and boasts stunning sea views.
The centre has 30 rooms (15 seafacing), four of which are double rooms. All share communal bathrooms. The kitchen staff provide three daily wholesome, home-cooked meals in the dining room. Specific dietary needs can be catered for.
Residents have access to the “tea and coffee room” at all times. In the lounge is a well-stocked library and TV for those who want some secular diversion. The chapel provides a quiet place for those who choose spiritual contemplation. The conference centre is in a separate building.
Apart from being responsible for the day-to-day running of Coolock House – which has constant bookings – the sisters have limited involvement in the parish and conduct specialty workshops.
Sister Emmanuel is invo centring prayer while Mari facilitates directed retreats for guidance on the spiritua for small groups or one-on-o
Trained nurse and reiki practitioner Sister Marilyn reiki workshops. All three r to the community in variou
The property is expansiv loads of space for meditativ to settle in a quiet corner to and be. A labyrinth designe plants is a special spot in w centre oneself and connect natural energies of tranqui
The peace generated by a spiritual activity that has ta at Coolock House over deca permeates the premises. “It bricks,” say the sisters.
A special attraction for t need of physical, mental, em or spiritual healing is an up reiki treatment from the extraordinary healing hand Marilyn, who works from a house on the property. HIGHCROFT Snuggled against the hil 8ha farm a little way inland Coolock House is the Highc retreat. A sense of serenity on entering the property. Lo earth-toned terra cotta chal by meandering paths throu indigenous greenery, blend seamlessly into the natural environment.
The owner of the farm, E Whitwam, was inspired to e the retreat three years ago.
“The purpose was to establish a teaching centre,” says Whitwam, a woman with boundless energy and drive. All her building