The Cumberland Nature Reserve is run by John and Stella Behn assisted by their son Garry. It is a delightful area covering about 400 hectares which is close to Pietermaritzburg. The day entrance fee is R5 per person (fees are normally deposited in an honesty box but on this day John Behn was on hand to collect our money) and camping costs R20 per person which includes the entrance fee.
Campsite facilities consist of two toilets, two washbasins and two showers as well as braai facilities and a place for a fire circled by stones. Wood is provided nearby. A hut can also be reserved for R60 per person per night.
The reserve can be reached easily from PMB by taking the road towards Bishopstowe and then past Eastwood towards Table Mountain, later passing the Table Mountain turn-off before taking the left turn along the D408 for about 7km.
Graham Cullinan was our able leader for the day and he assembled us all at about 09h00 at a lovely picnic site inside the reserve (at which we would later enjoy our braai). Our total number of hikers, including several visitors was 33 – what a turn out – is this a record?
Graham first led us on this beautiful day around the top of the gorge for magnificent views towards the Umgeni River, then passing the top of the waterfall on the Rietspruit Stream before descending through indigenous bush for quite a way, all of us taking in the fresh air, but perspiring quite a lot. After a bit of rock hopping we eventually reached the bottom of another big waterfall at the foot of which was an inviting large pool. We had a break for refreshments at this great spot and many members of our party could not resist a lovely cooling swim (even if some were fully clothed).
After a rest we were soon on our way back hiking up hill towards the picnic spot, working up very healthy appetites. Unfortunately on the way back, Nita, one of our visitors, slipped and cut her leg on a steel spike which was sticking out above ground. However we had our medical kit and Brenda, Grethe & Co soon professionally treated and bandaged the wound. (I am pleased to report that Nita has fully recovered and has been on another exciting hike since then). On reaching our lovely picnic spot, cold drinks and beers were enjoyed whilst getting the fires going for a great social braai. What a nice way to end a hike!!
There are several lovely picnic sites in the reserve complete with braai facilities and even toilets. Quite a lot of game can be seen in the reserve as well as many birds.
Trails lead off in several directions (there are trail markings) and both small and large waterfalls can be visited.
Thanks Graham (& Grethe) for your able and caring leadership & a very enjoyable day.