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Camping at Maphelane, Zululand, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Maphelane! It is a beautiful place and although the weather didn’t quite play along we had a very nice time. Our 2 boys loved the beach and we went everyday (dressed in Drimacs and swimgear). The birdlife kept me entertained throughout and we had a lot of fun with the “bosmusikante” (weavers) when we called them with the Sasol bird sounds on the i-phone. I also spotted the Livingstone’s Turaco and many flycatchers – really beautiful. The bush babies, monkeys and mongoose family provided lots of laughs too. The views from the deck at the river and the deck on the dune were breathtaking and the huge fig trees in the forest made a very big impression on me.
The road was bad, but not impassable. It didn’t have thick sand but mostly deep ditches. My sister’s car made it, although not quite undamaged...
I have to add that if we hadn’t camped on the ‘old 16’ campsite it wouldn’t have been that enjoyable. The campsites are very close together and had I known that was the case I probably wouldn’t have booked a place at Maphelane. Luckily my husband could explain to the receptionist that we have a 6-year old mentally handicapped son who loves people (and their tents and caravans) and we just didn’t want him being within too close range to anyone else (otherwise we would spend all our time keeping him from getting into other people’s tents & caravans). She told us that nobody is supposed to stand on ‘old 16’ but made the exception for us. We were very very grateful for that.
The ablutions were nice and clean with enough hot water.
We had an incident early one morning when all the other campers had left after the schools had reopened. My husband woke up at about 04h30 one morning and saw a ‘silhouette’ who tried to steal some stuff we left standing outside our caravan. Luckily he ran away when my husband turned his flashlight on and yelled at him. We found footprints all around the caravan and behind the car – quite small so we suspect it was probably an adolescent. We told security about it and also got someone to keep an eye for us while spending time away from our caravan. Not ideal but we didn’t let it bother us too much.
The campsite manager should really make a plan with the rubbish bins – at first I told my husband how disgusted I was with the people who camped there before us because the whole 50m radius around the site was littered with bags, packaging etc. But I soon realized that the monkeys were responsible for the littering because the bins don’t have monkey proof lids! They tipped the bins over every day until we put big stones on the lid and buried the bin in a bit of sand, and that solved the problem although it wasn’t very practical.
I was however (with reason) very disgusted with the angling folk making use of Malphelane. While we were there I must have picked up at least 30m of fishing line (bits and pieces) sinkers, strike indicators etc. and saw at least two gulls with gut around one leg. The beach and campsites are full of bits and pieces of left over fishing tackle – I don’t think anglers pay enough attention to what they leave behind on the beach and around their campsites – they seem to be too absorbed by the prospect of the huge fish they are about to haul in than to pay any attention to the small piece of tackle or gut they ‘forget’ on the sand. These small pieces have all added up to make Maphelane quite a littered beach – a real shame.
With all of that said, I must emphasize that it is still a beautiful place and we had a great time and we will remember it for a long time.
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8476/8%Last update: 2014-02-15 13:02
Author: Alan McIver
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