Saturday , 21 April 2018

Monthly Archives: July 2017

Pigeon Valley Park

Pigeon Valley Park

In the heart of the balmy east coast city of Durban, South Africa, is a verdant retreat from the commotion of the city centre, the exquisite Pigeon Valley Park. This has been proclaimed a Natural Heritage Park and a municipal nature reserve, thanks to its natural diversity and its aesthetic loveliness, all within an otherwise urban setting.

Pigeon Valley Park was originally set up in an effort to provide a safe habitat for coastal forest trees, particularly (but not exclusively) the Natal elm and the Natal loquat. The slopes that benefit from their south-facing orientation are covered in canopy forest, while those facing the north are bedecked in thorny brush. This unique positioning, therefore, gives the park so much natural value and lends it an extraordinary biodiversity.

Because it is so diverse, the 11 hectare extent of Pigeon Valley Park is the home of choice to a number of bird species, including rather rare finds. Avid bird watchers love to visit the park and look out for some of the more than 150 recorded species in the area. These include the Narina trogon, spotted thrush, Cape white-eye, African paradise flycatcher, European nightjar, black-throated wattle-eye, buffspotted flufftail and the green twinspot. The spotted ground-thrush is an endangered species that can regularly be found here during the cooler winter months (June to August). Of course, birds are not the only wildlife to make this their home. Visitors should keep an eye out for the red and blue duikers, banded mongooses and water mongooses.

There is a walking or running trail called the Natal Elm Trail, which takes visitors around the reserve. The trail is only some 400 metres long, but promises gorgeous views and plenty of photo-perfect moments. The picnic area and public toilets make this the ideal spot at which to enjoy a day with friends and family during your time in KwaZulu-Natal.

Website Link: Pigeon Valley Nature Reserve
Contact: 031 205 1919
Overnight: See hundreds of options.

Delish – A Must Stop on the N2 to Garden Route

Delish – A Must Stop on the N2 to Garden Route

Along the N2, on the scenic route between the Garden Route and Cape Town, is the welcome pit stop and favourite diner, Delish. Perched in the gorgeous countryside of the Western Cape, this eatery is a great stop for the family and hungry travellers needing an invigorating cup of coffee, a tasty meal, and a chance to recharge.

The menu is filled with homemade delights that are as tasty as they are comforting. Wood-fired breads and hearty pies are par for the course, as are homemade preserves and sauces. These make for awesome take-aways and gifts for those back home.

The menu has a great selection of breakfasts, ranging from the traditional bacon and eggs to the creamed spinach and bacon with poached eggs, or the smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers on rye.

Lunch favourites include a range of wood-fired pizzas, a lamb burger with minted Greek yoghurt, chicken burger with brie and sweet chilli, peri-peri chicken liver salad, halloumi salad, and roast chicken sandwich. Dinners are heartier, and just as delicious.

Choose from the 500 gram T-bone steak, the springbok shank, pan-fried kob, or the chicken and basil pesto pasta. There are some Banting meals on offer too. Delish is open for breakfast and lunch every day, as well as for dinners from Wednesday to Saturday. The Sunday lunches are hearty and beautifully presented.

The wine shop’s stock is comprehensive, with a selection of local labels to impress the winos, as well as craft beers and some rather special spirits.

Heidelberg is just over 270 kilometres from Cape Town, and is known for its pretty landscapes. There are a number of hiking and cycling trails around it, and the area is great for bird watchers that want to combine their love for birds with the peace and tranquillity of this gorgeous part of the Western Cape.

Delish’s Details

Delish Restaurant, Kloof Street (N2), Heidelberg, Western Cape, 6665
Telephone: +27 (0) 28 722 185
Website: http://www.delishn2.co.za/

A Visit to La Mercy

A Visit to La Mercy

Say ‘La Mercy’ and the obvious connection will be ‘airport’. Anyone who lives in and around Durban knows that La Mercy Airport, known as King Shaka International Airport, lies just north of Umhlanga close to Tongaat. The airport is confusing for those of us who used to live in Durban and caught flights in and out of Durban International Airport, south of Durban. Now we have to remember that it has been replaced, by La Mercy. And it has a different name.

It makes absolute sense to have Durban’s airport so close to Umhlanga, given that this is the new hub of the city. Comparitively, it is rather like having an airport close to Sandton in Johannesburg – good for business.

Despite the airport and the ease it brings visitors to the seaside city, La Mercy is also a little seaside village with a strong Indian heritage. This is a rather obvious link, given its proximity to the large sugar town of Tongaat, the oldest Indian community in South Africa. During the 1860s indentured Indian labourers arrived on our shores to work in the sugar plantations. And stayed.

As its immediate neighbour, La Mercy has a very similar flavour. It is also close to a number of attractions. Surfers regard the beach. The waves break on sandbars and reefs and provide a pretty big swell and a long wave. It’s thus fairly popular as a surfing spot.

But when not on the beach, head a little further north up the coast to favourite seaside villages like Ballito, Salt Rock and Zinkwazi Beach. En route stop off at the Lithuli Museum in Groutville on the R102, dedicated to a man who fought for human rights in this country. Also include a visit to the market in Verulam for spices, fresh produce and a colourful atmosphere.