All-out action at the gorge
Durban - A tranquil drive south along the single lane coastal road, flanked by vacant stretching beaches precedes the turn inland. Lush indigenous forest borders the winding road that weaves through Oribi Gorge, with the occasional troop of Vervet Monkeys watching us pass.
Oribi Gorge Hotel, with its wooden balcony overlooking a rolling expanse of sugar cane fields beyond a neatly cropped garden is quaint.
Just an hour-and-a-half from Durban and a short drive from the coast, the hotel is perfect for those wanting a quiet retreat away from the in-season hustle and bustle of Margate or for those seeking adventure with the adrenalin fuelled activities on offer.
The small hotel is full on the day I arrive with conference goers. The establishment has a variety of rooms, from those for a single visitor to family rooms that sleep four, perfect for a family holiday.
Warms greetings are exchanged in the lobby as I page through a guest book full of compliments before I’m ushered to my spacious room. The scent of recently polished wooden furniture pervades and I am struck by how easy it would be to unwind here.
Part of the hotel seems to have been built around a fully grown tree, which you can breeze past on your way to your room. The tree extends into the roof of the structure and is a nice touch.
It’s a particularly chilly Sunday morning and like me, most of the guests have sought refuge in the in-house restaurant and bar. Serving a range of eats from highbrow a la carte cuisine to casual pub meals, the eatery and bar are well occupied.
The next day, over breakfast, we were told that adventure was the order of the day. With Wild 5 Adventures just a stone’s throw from the hotel, this is the perfect staging ground for anyone looking to take the proverbial leap.
Offering a range of activities well suited for team-building parties or just an avid adrenalin junkie, Wild 5 has everything from hose riding to the world famous gorge swing.
Because the sun is out, I decide to capitalise on the good weather and throw caution to the wind.
I sign up for the aptly-named wild swing. The swing, situated at the top of Lehr’s waterfall, offers a beautiful view of the gorge below and the hills that surround it.
A countdown precedes my leaping off the edge of the cliff and plunging into the gorge below. The breath is taken from me as I plummet 165m, the equivalent of 55 stories before the line tensions and I swing out into the gorge.
I catch my breath and take in the scenery as I’m slowly winched back to the jump point, and I’m given a beautiful view of the valley while suspended above it.
By the end of the afternoon, filled with an equally exciting Wild Slide, a zip line into the middle of the gorge and a 110m abseil down the rock face, I am well in need of a rest and take a slow walk back to my room.
Rates start from R495 for a single room which includes a full farmhouse breakfast and view point access. A family room which sleeps four is R1 250 per night.
The Wild Swing is R450 and requires no notice. The Wild Slide and the abseiling, which are more sedate compared to the swing are priced at R250 and R350 respectively. Call 039 687 0253 or Cell No. 082 419 2993 for reservations, or visit www.oribigorge.co.za. - Sunday Tribune