“Mimosa Apartment” in Kotor Montenegro
The first time I came to Kotor was on a ship from Italy and when we sailed into Southern Europe’s deepest fjord Kotor Bay with the morning sun, I was sold. Flanked by towering mountains on either side, this 28-kilometre bay was more beautiful than we ever could have imagined. Having travelled extensively for many years I knew that I wanted to spend time here, again and again; so we swept aside our intention to explore this entire small country of 600 000 inhabitants and instead spent a week looking at property.
Within a week we found a seaside apartment that had the benefit of the sea on the doorstep as well as being within walking distance of one of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities, Kotor. Mimosa, our lovely apartment, therefore has the best of both worlds: the advantage of swimming, fishing, boating, and water sports as well as the culture and leisure activities of a city.
Montenegro is a magic place, no wonder it was chosen as the setting James Bond film “Royal Casino”.
At the northern tip of the Garden Route, on the border of the Western and Eastern Cape, the R102 swings away from the N2 and zigzags down a mountain pass, passing a troop of baboons squatting, appropriately, just beyond the baboon warning sign. 10 Kilometres later, at sea level; a sign indicates the opportunity for a cup of tea. This is Nature’s Valley, the Garden Route’s best-kept secret.
A tiny enclave nestled within the Tsitsikamma forest, Nature’s Valley is a residential area located inside a South African National Park. A couple of kilometres in length and a few hundred metres in diameter, it is flanked by the Indian Ocean, a placid lagoon, and mountain slopes covered with indigenous forest, yet only 30 kilometres from bustling Plettenberg Bay.
What makes Nature’s Valley so special? For me it was carefree days spent hiking with now long-lost friends along the rugged coastline past rocky cliffs to reach the Salt River Mouth, a picturesque cove set against the verdant backdrop of mountain forest. There we camped for days, isolated from all noise of civilisation. Now, decades later, these views and beauty still take my breath away. This is still South Africa’s most beautiful location or, as a lot of my guests say, “paradise on earth”. For those who simply wish to soak up the timeless beauty of nature, you don’t need to venture far but whatever it is you wish to see or do in Nature’s Valley, be prepared for it to steal a piece of your heart.