Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Arrival at Bulungula

This post goes back to January 29th. We did a 257 km (160 mile) drive from the East London area to the Bulungula Lodge located on South Africa's "Wild Coast".

The drive took us into an area where there aren't many tourists, and really the only tourist accommodation is a few remote backpacker lodges along the very scenic coastline.

But first, you have to get there!

We said goodbye to our couchsurfing host Guy, and we were on the road around 9:00am. Thanks for having us Guy, we enjoyed our stay!

Guy, Ruth, and Kevin

The first part of the drive was on a well traveled highway, the paved N2 that runs through to the city of Durban, further up the coast. Past lots of villages, and some of them were quite large. The area was actually more populated than we expected.

A community along the way.

We went through the city of Butterworth, a bustling town with a lot of people and cars. Not a touristy place, and nothing worthwhile to see there. The main road goes right through the center of the city. 

Anyone want to buy a hat?

As we got close to our turnoff, we saw the sign for the Nelson Mandela museum in the town of Qunu. This is where Mandela was born, and is now buried. There's been a museum on site for quite a few years, but of course it's been much busier over the last couple of months. Mandela's gravesite is still off limits to the public though. We decided to stop into the museum because it was free, but we didn't have a lot of time because we knew the worst part of the drive was ahead of us.

The museum overlooks the landscape where Mandela grew up.

Ruth, and one of the displays.

We found our turn off and were surprised that it was still a paved road. That would end soon enough though!

School is out! We had to make our way slowly through hundreds of school children!

Then, we had to turn off onto a dirt road. 

And make our way by some large vehicles.

The road was very rough!

We had to go a total of 36 kms (22 miles) on this dirt road. It took us two hours! And we finally arrived. More pictures about the lodge and the scenery in the next post, but here's a preview...

Our accommodation...a tree house tent!

Here's the directions. Follow them exactly, or you will get lost!


  1. So pleased to hear from you again......... Pleased you had a good journey and followed your instructions so you didn't get lost.
    Looking forward to reading about this area.

    1. They were quite the directions to follow too! Several times we would be second guessing ourselves until we came to a site mentioned in the directions then we would have a sigh in relief and then proceed to the next turn where we would again do the same thing. Well worth the effort though!

  2. Off the beaten path - awesome - can't wait to hear more about Bulungula - love your tree house tent!

    1. Yep, this was definitely off the beaten path! The tent was OK and it was nice to have an actually bed in it, instead of just a mat on the floor.

  3. Yikes. That's all I got. *Nice* tent. No really.

    1. Yep, the scenery was spectacular and the tent wasn't too bad either!

  4. More great adventures, and live the tent concept.

    1. The tent concept wasn't too bad and it was really nice to have an actually bed in it, so it was quite comfy.

  5. Love those directions. Turn at the big tree. In Montana we have "turn at the big cow" (or bull). Interesting looking accommodations. Would not be for me.

    1. The directions were pretty good but sometimes we would second guess ourselves when we would come to a small track on the road and we weren't sure if it was considered a road or not. We did make it there without any wrong turns so we were happy.

      They do have rondovals which are round concrete buildings which you can also stay in but they were all booked when we were there.

  6. going to the bathroom in the middle of the night could get tricky...love the header photo

    1. Yep, it sure was. The idea was not to drink anything after dinner!


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