Started riding around the farm yard to test shoulder. As with all injuries it tacks time and pain. After a week of doing this I headed up the farm road for a 21 km test run. No fancy gear, just in my farm clothes and helmet as the sun was setting. Much to my joy it looks like it is time to start building up the shoulders and legs again. Righardt came back from New Zealand to settle down in South Africa. So he took a few rides with me. He has become bicycle fit now after his two trips to New Zealand. You may remember I posted they were going. Bicycle riding is such a fun way to get fit and see the world around you.
At this point my annual leave with the family was starting. The time it tacks to get an abridged birth certificate was too long. Resulting in having to cancel the two days I was planning in Mlilwane game sanctuary in Swaziland. It is a new law in South Africa that you must have an abridged birth certificate stating mother and fathers name before getting a child to cross the border. A passport and both parents is not enough. The law was to clamp down on child trafficking. I must not complain, it has a good reason why it was bought in. This law was enforced from the 1 June 2015.
I had also planned 5 nights camping at Kosi bay camp. This is in the Isimangaliso Wetland Park (Formely Greater St Lucia Wetland) which includes the sea and an extensive estuary systems on the Natal north coast, it boarders on Mozambique. Well known for deep sea fishing, diving, snorkeling ,beaches and leatherback turtle breeding area.
This far flung corner of South Africa requires some patience to get to. Lucky they have just compleated a nice paved road all the way to the border. However there are speed restrictions passing every village. Cattle,goats, donkeys, chickens, pedestrians and slow moving vehicles are very common and can be dangerous. In my mind the road from Pongola dam to boarder at Ponta de ouro will offer any cyclist a monster of a climb up Lebombo mountain range and then a nice flat open road with good shoulders. Offering lots of entertainment to watch along the road side. With a strong African cycling experience and some KFC and other restaurants and grocery stores at Kwangwanase.
To enjoy what this area has to offer it is recommended to have a 4 X 4 vehicle and a boat. Do not forget swimming cloths and snorkel. Can swim winter or summer but for the little older people water is a little cool in the winter. Remember it is a very popular holiday destination in the summer. So if you planning on going then book well in advance. To get entrance to beaches and other areas there are permits needed. This is the way the park restricts the impact on the ecology in the area. So if you planning on going to any beaches or see the turtles get your permit a few days before in the peak season. For us that was not needed as it is not very busy this time of the year. If you have your own boat become familiar with the rules. There are no go areas and no interfering with traditional fishermen.
We went down to Kosi mouth. We do not have a 4 X 4 so we parked our car at the gate and engaged the services of a guide to walk us to the mouth. He helped to carry bags and took the shortest route to the mouth. Then helped us wade through the shallower part of the river to get to the reef in the estuary. He showed use the best places to snorkel. It was amazing there were all sort of coloured fish. There was clown fish and stone fish. To many types of fish to name also I do not know all the names. On the sea side of the sand bank there is a nice rock shelf to give safe snorkeling for children and inexperienced snorkelers like myself. The colours of the fish is not so nice here but there are lots of fish to see. Then the rock pools at low tide will keep you busy for a long time.
We also did a three lake tour with a charter. This is a must to do. He explains how the lakes work and how the traditional fishermen work. The water is very clear so that you can see thousands of fish passing the boat. He also will tell you the different names of fish. Then he stops at a safe place to snorkel and look at the traditional fish traps. He has an agreement with the owner of the trap. There is documentation of early explorers that found these traps some 700 years back. The trap tradition is handed down in the families and they are repaired and maintained year round. They have a sustainable way of setting up the traps so that smaller fish can return to the see to spurn and then return to the estuary to grow.
Map of Kosi Bay We also spend lots of time on the jetty at the camp watching the small fish and watching the sunrise. To anybody planning on visiting south Africa this area would be a nice place to come to. However most travelers have limited time and do not visit.