I am 64 years old and (supposed to be) retired. We moved to the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal in January this year. For health reasons, but mostly just because we love to do this, my daughter and I walk for two hours every single day. I also love blogland, therefore, I am quite happy to join in the Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k 2015 initiative.

We live in a little coastal town where the majority of the dwellings are occupied during school holidays or long weekends only. There are no shops or entertainment venues within a six kilometer radius, which means that in order to buy a bread, we can either walk or drive, and we prefer to walk.

Starting the daily walk from our backyard
Starting the daily walk from our backyard

The route which we decided to walk today, is my favorite, because we can combine walking with fishing and swimming or adding to our huge collection of seashells and driftwood.

We live on a steep hill and from the balcony at the back of our second storey apartment we have a beautiful view of a deep gully, the motor freeway bridge over the Mtwalume river and sugar cane fields on the hills opposite ours.

Early in the mornings we often see bushbucks, monkeys and hadedas on the lawn, but we missed them today.

Walking down the steep hill to the beach
Walking down the steep hill to the beach

Here I am walking down the driveway towards the beach. This picture was taken from our front balcony which has a view on the Mtwalume river lagoon in front, Elysium beach behind the sandy ridge and Mtwalume beach on the far right.

Sandy road leading to the beach
Sandy road leading to the beach

We follow this winding sand road, where we have to cross the railway tracks in order to access the pathway to the beach.

Train bridge over the Mtwalume river with the freeway bridge in the background
Train bridge over the Mtwalume river with the freeway bridge in the background

Here I am standing on the train bridge with the Mtwalume river and the motor freeway at my back.

Train bridge over the Mtwalume river with the beach in the background
Train bridge over the Mtwalume river with the beach in the background

Still on the train bridge, this time with the ocean behind me. The railway tracks lead straight to Mtwalume and, because the train passes once or maybe twice a day only, people walk along the tracks to and from Mtwalume. They obviously know the timetable well 😀 We prefer to walk along the beach.

Following the footpath through the woods to the beach
Following the footpath through the woods to the beach

Here we have crossed the railway tracks and I am walking on the footpath through the dense growth between the tracks and the beach. We have to be very careful of venomous snakes, spiders and naughty monkeys. We also have a couple of very rude plovers nesting on the bank of the lagoon; we have been dive bombed more than once during the breeding season.

Driftwood in the Mtwalume river lagoon
Driftwood in the Mtwalume river lagoon

In the dry season we can walk through this part of the lagoon, but when the river is in flood, the water rises so high that we cannot see these old tree stumps and have to detour around the edge. We love fishing in the lake.

Stretch of beach between Elysium and Mtwalume
Stretch of beach between Elysium and Mtwalume

This picture shows me walking along Elysium beach towards Mtwalume. When the river is in flood and the tide is high, the river breaks through the sandbank to flow into the ocean, which means that we cannot reach Mtwalume this way until the river subsides.

Testing the waters on Elysium Beach
Testing the waters on Elysium Beach

Dipping your feet in the water is a requirement for an enjoyable beach walk. Our water is comfortably warm, but the tide is treacherous and we have to watch out for the odd wave coming from nowhere to sweep you off your feet – literally.

Fishermen on the Mtwalume beach
Fishermen on the Mtwalume beach

This time of the year the year fish is in short supply here, but the fishermen still catch the odd one. We prefer to collect the cowry shells and pretty pebbles among the rocks at low tide.

Mtwalume tide pool
Mtwalume tide pool

We love swimming in the tide pool, but today is a bit windy and there were no sun bathers either. On very hot days, the pool is always teeming with children and dogs. Officially, dogs are not allowed on this beach, but it is obvious that the dogs do not read the notices 😀 ; they just rock up for a swim without their owners.

Our mixed breed Maltese poodle, Genis, also loves to swim here.

Stairs from Elysium beach to the road above
Stairs from Elysium beach to the road above

On our way home, we walked past the sand road in the direction of Ifafa beach. Elysium beach is located between the Ifafa and Mtwalume beaches.

However, the son was getting hot and halfway to Ifafa beach we decided to go home by way of the Stairway from Hell. The shady stairway leading to the road at the top of the hill, enclosed with blooming hibiscus, frangipani, bougainvillea and jasmine shrubs is actually beautiful, but climbing 120+ steps up a very steep hill is no joke after a long walk on a hot day.

View from Elysium towards Ifafa beach
View from Elysium towards Ifafa beach

We often see whales and dolphins in this bay, but they seem to prefer stormy waters.

End of the 5km walk
End of the 5km walk

Here we are back at the starting point where we were met by The Dog Himself. Genis is a dog with a very high opinion of his own abilities. You can read about his adventures and view photos / videos of him (and the stunning beach where he spends his days) on his very own blogsite Genis’s Fat Dog Diary.

Advertisements