Another quirky coffee experience while in Durban started with us following the GPS into an industrial section of town. We stopped the car outside an old 1930’s factory building and walked the stairs up to the first floor and location of the Colombo Coffee Roastery. Inside, with all the working equipment is a large industrial space that doubles as a music venue and has even hosted a few weddings. We stopped for breakfast at their in-house coffee bar, the Factory Cafe.
Afterwards I read a bit more about the history of the place. It started with a man called James Brown Richardson, an Australian who moved to South Africa early in the 1910’s. He was employed by Thornton Tea and Coffee, but during his service in WW1, the company went under and on his return he opened his own shop in Johannesburg in 1917, providing tea and coffee to the miners. But during the Rand rebellion and the strikes by the miners, he was forced to pack up. He moved to Durban and established the Colombo Tea Agency with his son in 1923.
Now many, many years later, Colombo Coffee can still be tasted in many of Durban’s coffee shops.
After spending some quiet quality time together as a family in the Karkloof forest, it was time to liven things up a bit. We opted for Durban and added a couple of days of Durbs-by-the sea to our breakaway. Our first stop was for lunch at the very funky and fun Freedom Café, tucked away down a side street in the Greyville area. The café is inside a fire-engine red shipping container, with glass and mirror walls, funky chairs and overall quirky décor. You have to smile at the elongated sausage dog benches and salt & pepper holders, and of course the bright pink flamingos in the flower boxes. Deckchairs and tables outside are sheltered by big trees. My linguini with sweetcorn, leak and bacon was absolutely divine, and my husband’s pulled pork was served in a brioche bun (Can anything be a let-down if served with brioche?). If was a great lunch and fun afternoon.
You can visit their website here or like their Facebook page.
A few weeks ago we left the city for a couple of days to spend some time in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands. We rented a remote house deep inside the Karkloof Nature Reserve, the second largest indigenous forest in South Africa. As you drive upward from the farmlands below, the landscape changes from European looking pastoral charm into jungle within the space of a few meters, and just as suddenly you are transported into a different world of light and shadow, of stillness and forest sounds, of cold and warmth. This charming cabin in the woods clings for dear life to the banks of a small stream and stands in the shade of majestic black and yellow stinkwood trees. Early mornings we made coffee only to get back into bed (with electrical blankets!) to read while Emma took her morning nap. Our days were spent hiking through the forest all along the stream to the close-by waterfalls, sidestepping all the spider webs in the paths, clambering up and over fallen logs covered in moss. Daniel loved stepping on stones to cross the river while Emma watched the world go by from her elevated position on her daddy’s back. We saw monkeys roaming the trees high above our heads, bushbuck darting away as we approached and numerous butterflies searching out the sun spots beneath the canopy. High up in the kloof evening arrives early, and then it becomes time to curl up in front of the fireplace, play Scrabble and eat too much chocolate. It was, for too short a time, something we have forgotten how to do well a little bit: a truly restful holiday.