No electricity, no drinking water, only accessible by 4×4, very remote. Nightmare for some, but for us – this sounded like heaven!
For the first leg of our honeymoon we needed a spot at the beach between Eshowe and Machangulo, so Bhanga Nek was the perfect place on the North Coast. Wondering where on earth Bhanga Nek is? It’s here, right next to Kosi Bay.
We set off from Eshowe later than expected after post wedding clean up and dashing around. With BlackBetty, the Jeep and our Thule roof box rental loaded to the max we hit the N2, and as we did, it dawned on me that my bikinis were not safely stowed in my bag behind me, but on a flight to Cape Town with my cousin. The trauma!
A quick stop off at Manguzi before leaving ”civilisation” resulted in me being saved by Alistair, the owner of the Total Garage. He overheard me whinging to Erik about my bikini and the fact that the shop was closed, bla bla bla; Alistair kindly offered to open up the shop and guard the door whilst I had a quick try on. There was only one option … itsy bitsy … Erik was thrilled. Alistair pointed us in the right direction and we were apparently on a road to Bhanga Nek, there are a few roads that all look pretty much the same and they are all sandy and in the middle of nowhere!
As we got nearer, in the dark, we were waved down by a local man, Clive, saying that he had been waiting at camp for us, gave us a few instructions and said he would see us in the morning. Clive turned up the next morning and both him and his coworker Conrad, proved to be very helpful. Washing and clearing up, took us to other side Manguzi to buy permits for Bhanga Nek and Black Rock, and also found us a roadrunner to turn into a chicken poitjie! We think they found the latter rather amusing.
Our first morning was a bit drizzly but even on a cloudy wet day, this place is beautiful, and nothing a bit of tea and wedding cake can’t fix! We briefly met Kerryn and Jeff, on a slightly delayed honeymoon, which was going to be 3 months long! They have a great blog, Pass The Map where they are documenting their many travels, including their current trip right around the coastline of South Africa.
Bhanga Nek Tent Camp is a very small campsite just 30 metres from the beach, and offers already set up tents or own tent camping. There is a reed ablution block consisting of flush toilets and shower, which has the luxury of hot water, albeit brown and rusty hot water, we were thrilled as I was expecting lukewarm or cold showers! We had a spot closest to the beach where we set up camp on a raised wooden deck under the trees. Trees perfect for stringing up your Ticket to the Moon hammock, I might add. The camp is owned and run by the community, and is in need of a bit of maintenance. We were booked for own tent camping so this didn’t affect us that much. The toilets flushed and were clean, and the shower was hot so I was not too fussed. Go with the mindset that it is very rustic and you will love it! At least nobody can moan about loadshedding at Bhanga Nek!
The beach is just stunning for fishing, swimming and snorkelling, rock pooling and walks. As the tide goes out you are left with an assortment of rockpools, some perfect for propping yourself up with G&T in hand! There is a reserve just around the corner where no fishing is allowed. It is very remote and aside from a group of 6 other fisherman, we were the only people there. The beach is very peaceful as no boats, jet skis, fishing skis & paddle skis are allowed to be launched there.
For nature lovers this is a great spot. From November to March, guided turtle walks can be arranged. Birders can look out for the rare Pam Nut Vulture and Pel’s Fishing Owl, as well as many other birds aside from my favourite, the African Fish Eagle.
I’m ashamed to say I have no decent photos of the campsite and facilities. Complete rookie error and I can only put this to post wedding exhaustion and brain malfunction!
A trip to Black Rock, Lala Nek and Rocktail Bay can easily be made. The drive to Black Rock is beautiful, and we saw quite a few birds and buck along the way. Just remember that you need a permit to visit there.There is a lovely little bay to swim and snorkel and rocks to fish off.
Cost for own tent camping at Bhanga Nek Tent Camp is R160 per person per night, for already set up tents is R420 per tent which sleeps 2. Permits for fishing can be bought at any post office and permits for visiting Bhanga Nek and Black Rock can be bought near Manguzi at the Kosi Bay KZN Wildlife Office.
Bookings for Bhanga Nek can me made through Jenny Koen at Extreme Nature Tours on 082-857 3363.
We are heading back there in August and I will be sure to follow up with more photos.