Jaw-dropping Oribi Gorge

When my husband decided to take me to the Oribi Gorge for a weekend away to celebrate our wedding anniversary, I had no idea just how spectacular this unspoilt area of the Natal south coast is going to be.

The Oribi Gorge, named after the little Oribi antelope found in the area (now an endangered species), is situated along the forest-cloaked ravine of the Mzimkulwana river west of Port Shepstone. The gorge is approximately 27km long, 4km wide at its widest point and 400m deep. I read that at the base of the cliffs there are rocks over 1000 million years old while the cliffs themselves are formed from sandstone deposited about 365 million years ago.

On our way to The Gorge Private Game Lodge & Spa, we took the scenic route through the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve. Driving under the trees with our windows down, we could picture the last National Geographic special with Richard Attenborough climbing through the undergrowth!! Millions of insects, birds, the wind through the tops of trees forming a canopy above, and even a monkey here and there. The area has 255 bird species including cape cultures and fish eagles (and at least one very loud Piet-my-vrou!)

Before I start raving about the lodge (and specifically the bath in our room!!), let me show you pictures I took on a 4km hike to the suspension bridge on the neighbouring Lake Eland Nature Reserve. It’s quite surreal, hiking in what looks a little like fynbos immediately above the dense jungle in the ravine below, with hundreds of different coloured butterflies hovering above proteas and about five other different colours of wildflower besides.

Now, about that bath…. The entire lodge consists of only five chalets, together with the dining room, pool deck and spa. This means that each chalet has been built right on the edge of the cliff, with enough space between them so that the one is not visible from the other. Inside, the entire chalet consists of one big glass-fronted room, with the bath having a better spot than the bed! The effect that the room creates is one of happy isolation – just you, the view, the eagles flying overhead and that bath… If you’re wondering why the word ‘bath’ has come up four times in the paragraph above, I’ll let a picture speak the next thousand words!

The Gorge Private Game Lodge & Spa

Image credits: All photography by me

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