27 July 2010

Places I have been #6

We fell in love with Pennington, KwaZulu, South Africa, many, many years ago. It's still one of my favourite places and I thought you might like to make a virtual visit there.

My parents retired there when it was little more than a quiet village.  Today, 'progress' has changed the village substantially, but it's still an inherently charming place to holiday. 

Large Umdoni trees (or Natal Mahogany's) and beautifully vivid Coral Trees shelter the village and act as home to the birds we came to know and love.  My parents live just across from the dam and we would often hear the cry of the Fish Eagles as they swooped across the sky. Grey Louries, little wrens, Robins... they're all there.  There used to be a lot of Guinea Fowls (which landed heavily on the roof in the early morning), but I believe they've been eaten by hungry folk.  I haven't heard how the shy little deers have done.  They'd be a bit more difficult to catch.

Natal, or KwaZulu as it's called now, has its own unique smell.  I've never come across that smell anywhere else.  I wish I could explain it better... it's a mildly moldy, sub-tropical, dusky smell.  When my father comes to visit it hangs on his clothes, on him, until everything has been washed and dried in the sun. 

And then there are the days when the big sugar mill at Sezela 'burns sugar' and the air fills with that uniquely, sickly sweet, burnt smell (and a whole lot of floating 'bits' that rain down on your head if you're unlucky enough to be in the wind path).

Fishing and diving are great, but aside from the miles of open beach, I can't really rave about the swimming there.  It's a treacherous beach.  The man made pool has always been a disaster and is filled with sand for most of the year.  It was poorly designed for where it was built.

Walk just a little further though and you come to the Sezela Beach where we spent many happy hours with our growing family.  There are lots of rock pools for toddlers (and their grandmothers) to play in and you can swim in the sea quite safely.  We used to go there early in the morning and we'd have our breakfast on the beach while it was still cool.

We used to walk there along the road you can see in the photo below.  The big house on the horizon is Botha House.  There's lots of nice places to stay in the area, including a caravan park, but we had the best accommodation ever.  Hotel d'Nan.  

Best time to visit?  Well, it's horribly humid in December and January.  Probably March/April.  After the hordes have gone home. 

April Blackbird

1 comment:

ChickieChirps said...

Such great images - you describe the smells very well!