Leg 8 of Peter van Kets and Jacques Marais’ Beyond Lockdown, Beyond Expedition, took them to iSimangaliso. Located on KwaZulu-Natal’s far north coast this massive park stretches from St Lucia in the south to the Mozambique border. Lake St. Lucia is its centre piece, but the adventures the region offers don’t end on the lake shores.

“The corona virus has been very tough for us at Utshwayelo Lodge. For five months, we have cried many tears in our hearts, but now that we see you here to help community tourism, it gives us the energy we need to survive the hard times and rebuild our future.” – Enoch Tembe

“We’ve slowed down time ever so slightly – as one does in Thongaland – by bumping our stay by an extra night” explained Jacques Marais. “This was to fit in the many eco-adventures on offer in this north-easternmost corner of South Africa. Our camp is languishing beneath the spreading branches of a coastal milkwood tree, with a hammock high up in the canopy, where you could leisurely sip on a cold Dois M (if you can sniff out a shebeen with an ample supply in these dark times)”.

The Isuzu mu-X proving equal to even the most adventurous terrain. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The host for this leg of the Beyond Expeditions is Enoch Tembe. And his stories of suffering during the pandemic in KZN and Mozambique have touched the team deeply. But once again, the joy and optimism with which people have responded to our Isuzu South Africa Beyond Lockdown Expedition all across South Africa has made the long roads (and days) utterly worthwhile. Following the reopening of inter-provincial travel Enoch and the Utshwayelo staff are hopeful that local travellers will flock to this beautiful corner of the country.

“Our first mission was an early beach run, where we (inadvertently) crossed the border en route to Ponta do Ouro” Marais confessed. “The rest of the day was spent exploring Utshwayelo, Kosi Bay Mouth Lodge and Camp, as well as the scenic Kosibay Nature Reserve next door. Tomorrow, Tuesday, superb adventures with Rick and Elise Stadler await. We’ve heard nothing but great things about their Safari and Surf – Wilderness Adventures, so we’re looking forward to immersing ourselves in iSimangaliso, both above and below the water; with snorkelling, surfing, game drives and a walking safari all on the cards.”

Wild camping in luxury, under a sprawling Thongaland milkwood. Photo by Jacques Marais.

With an action-packed day scheduled for tomorrow, in iSimangaliso, be sure to keep following the Beyond Lockdown adventures on social media on the following channels to stay updated on their Beyond Expedition:

Facebook: OutdoorZone.Africa

Instagram: @ozone.africa

Twitter: @OZone_africa

YouTube: Ozone Africa

Podcast: oZONE Podcast

Website: www.ozone.africa

Flamingos filter feeding for shrimp in the Kosi Bay fish traps. Photo by Jacques Marais.