Mqeku Picnic Site
Beautiful, tranquil and with a guardian from the community who owns the site, who ensures it remains peaceful, safe and litter free.
This could be one of the province’s prettiest spots for a picnic. In the Valley of 1000 Hills, where the uMngeni River and the Mqeku Rivers meet, is a wonderful open area bordered by hills, with water flowing through and over rounded boulders. There are open lawns with large fig trees to provide shade. There are places to leap off the bolders and into the water, little rapids, calm pools for swimming and the rock shape allows a natural bottom slide to shoot down and into the water. There are braai facilities on a first come first served basis. There is also a toilet. If you run out of something the Mfula Store is a few kilometers away.
There is a small charge to use the site and you do need to book ahead as it can get busy over weekends.This wonderful little spot is 100% community owned and managed, is safe and you feel as if you are in the middle of nowhere.
Easily accessible from Botha’s Hill- a high clearance vehicle is advisable but a 4×4 is not necessary.
“Please note: There have been reports of bilharzia in the river over the past few months. This is being investigated and ongoing testing. In the interim, we advise that swimming is at your own risk.”
Whats App or Call Sibusiso Shangase 0848231083 to book
“Deep in the Valley of a 1000 hills, about a 30 minute drive from Hillcrest is the most beautiful little spot you’ll ever find, Mfula Store”. This 70 year old trading station operates once again as a store. Trading Stations were isolated, private, general dealer shops set up to serve rural communities a hundred or so years ago. They carried everything from medicines to the staple maize meal to blankets.
They were often, as in this case, in beautiful and ‘miles away from anywhere’ spots and provided a vital service to the locals. The trader and community relationship was generally a positive one with both sides benefiting and generally getting along well as neighbours. The store would have been attached to or alongside the trader’s family home, as in the case of Mfula. Political changes both before and after 1994, lead to deliberate change to the the way trading stations existed, with licenses for trading taken away to force separation of people by race from the 1960s and later, for good reason on the surface, to empower through managerial change, the previously non empowered. Sadly, these measures were mainly to the detriment of those community members who did not go off to find better lives in the cities, and the traders’ loss as well.
There is special accommodation here if you plan to stay. Search Accommodation and Mfula Store on this site.
The store is also conveniently situated close to iSithumba Adventure Centre where you can hire mountain bikes or enjoy an extraordinary cultural experience in this quiet community.
Head out of Botha’s Hill village towards Drummond. Then turn right into the Valley Trust Rd/M56. Follow this for about 10km turn left at the circle at the end of the road. Continue on this road (which becomes dirt) for 7km. The road goes up before going down to the river. Cross the bridge, Mfula Store is directly ahead. Turn left and the picnic spot is a short distance and sign posted.