Deep inside the Karkloof forest

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.

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