MHC – Leisure Bay
KZN South Coast
25-28 January 2019

Report and photos by Dave Sclanders

[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]

Alistair and Cathy organized and led a very successful long week end at Leisure Bay on the South Coast of KZN. Planning for any large group (18 of us) , there is always the sweat and tears of hundreds of thoughts, and 100’s of questions , enough to drive anyone mad. Then there are the last minute – emergency cancellations that are enough to drive an organizer mad . Then there is the weather forecast , that really set the brain going, 3 days of rain ??!!@@## for a beach week end. So now pack cards, scrabble, musical instruments , warm clothes, rain coats etc. etc. etc.

Most arrived by lunch, after having drive through rain from Durban, after unpacking and a quick lunch, it was decided to head out in the drizzle and visit the nearby RED Sand dunes. Brian and Alistair being the leaders in chief. After some vehicle meandering around Port Edward, we eventually arrived at the dunes.

The dunes were red, flowers were out, and our leader had to get high up a dune to check where he was. Meanwhile some of the group decided that a “ ritual dance of where are we?” might enlighten the spirits to show us where to go.

Back at the houses, supper was had indoors as the rain came down again.

Next morning the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Port Edward was the call for the days outing. A delightful walk on the hills looking down the steep valley into the Umtamvuna River . At this point the huge valley serves as the border between the Eastern Cape and KZN. The walk was done in some sun and some showers. Nevertheless, the scenery was beautiful, the grass green, flowers and colour all over and very interesting rock formations. Densely packed Protea drakomentana (the small protea that grows in very selective areas were gearing up to start producing heads to flower later. What a sight it must be when they do flower – worth a trip back again ??.

An interesting sighting was that of a helicopter passing overhead carrying a long drag line that had a huge round net shaped object below ( now we are catching fish from the air??) Pic 14.

Lunch was had at a little eating place at the end of the trail, then it was back to the accommodation.

The EKZN Wildlife offices, and the paths for the walk were very clean and well maintained. Well done to Enock , OIC of this reserve.

A communal gathering was organized for a social evening meal , however the rain held off until the last piece of meat was done, then it came down. So to continue the social time, everyone assembled at one house, and Alistair and Andy kept the jovial atmosphere going by superb renditions on the guitars , Andy singing old favorites, and the rest of us humming, and sort of singing along. Words seem to escape us but the tune shad us all clapping along, and brought back many old memories. Thanks to Alistair and Andy.

The last day was planned to have a long walk down the beach to look for fossils in the flat rocks pools which would be exposed at low tide which would happen around mid- day. Our walk started from the car park at the Sun, South Coast , Casino

The weather wasn’t invigorating, cold, bit windy and the ever threat of a shower or 2. The group started off as a group, but as some stopped here and there to look for shells on the beach, some Sandstone sort of caves at the high water mark, so the group split, and all met up again at the next river crossing where a swim and lunch had been planned for. Present weather conditions were not conducive to either. So after a quick bite, Alistair led the party across the river, and ambled further down the beach until it was decided to turn round and head for the fossilized tree area, as the tide seemed to be getting to its lowest point. On reaching this point, only a few of us followed Alistair and Cathy into exploring the rock beds, the others had moved on back to the cars still some way off.

The large area of exposed flat bedrock – normally underwater – held many interesting “things of all shapes and sizes” The fossilized tree stumps were huge, and well defined, other smaller pieces of tree were scattered around. A pair of red beaked Oster Catchers followed us around, and the to top it all off, Cathy spotted a very unusual “thing” in the small rock pool. How she saw it I will never know, but those of us around were amazed at this living , moving sort of slug in this pool. Trying to get a picture was very difficult as it was under water, however it’s head did appear for a second , and the tail end was clear of foam, a picture was taken pic 30

Cathy sent the picture to her daughter at UCT, and established that it was a “Spotted Sea Hare” , well spotted Cathy.

It rained again all evening, but another get together to play cards, scrabble and a famous building block tower brought by Alistair kept everyone in a jovial mood till bed called.

After breakfast the group split for home, some tried a beach walk, but were cut short by the rain, others took the old South Coast Beach road and ambled home.

Over our 3 days at the beach a number of people took the opportunity of getting up early and heading for the beach for an invigorating early swim. Some took the chance to “lie in”. What a way to go. Serious happenings only started by 10h00 , well planned by Alistair and Cathy.

Thanks to Alistair and Cathy for all the work put in to make this a really fun and very interesting week end.

With such changeable weather at such short notice, even a short trip into nature may not be the wisest option. Go prepared, and come home happy and safe.