Chaka’s Rock Luxury Beach Cottage

Back around 1962 we joined the du Plessis on a beach and fishing holiday on the Natal north coast – Chaka’s Rock! They were beach regulars, this was one of our two beach holidays that I can remember.  It was amazing! The cottage on a hill above the beach, the rocks and seaside cliffs, narrow walkways along the cliffs that the waves would drench at high tide; magic swimming pools set in the rocks. The men were there to fish:

We baljaar’d on the beach and sometimes even ventured into the shallows – just up to safe vrystaat depth. A swimmer I was not and I still vividly remember a near-death experience I had in the rock pool: a metre-high wave knocked me out of Mom’s arms and I was washed away out of her safe grasp! I must have been torn away by up to half a metre from her outstretched hands; little asthmatic me on my own in the vast Indian Ocean for what must have been a long one and a half seconds. Traumatised. To this day I am wary of the big-dam-that-you-can’t-see-the-other-side-of.

baljaar – frolic

vrystaat depth – about ankle deep

postscript: I tried to keep up the luxury cottage theme but Barbara talked about the big spiders on the walls and yesterday even Dad, who was talking about Joe Geyser, mentioned ‘that ramshackle cottage we stayed in at Chaka’s Rock’.

Dad was saying Joe hardly ever caught a fish. He would be so busy with this his pipe, relighting it, refilling it, winding the reel with one hand while fiddling with his pipe with the other. My theory is the fish could smell the tobacco and turned their nose up at his bait. Dad reckons tobacco was never a health hazard to old Joe. Although he was never without his pipe, it was mainly preparation and cleaning, and the amount of actual puffing he did was minimal.

Once he caught a wahoo and brought it back to Harrismith. Griet took one look at it as he walked into her kitchen and bade him sally forth, so he brought it to Dad and they cut it up and cooked it in our kitchen.

Chaka’s Rock 1963

Chaka’s Rock Holiday 1963. We joined the du Plessis for our first holiday “by-die-see!”

Sheila writes:

“Found a postcard which Mary Methodist sent to her Mom Annie Bland (1½ cent stamp – remember the brown Afrikaner bull?).

Mary wrote ‘We’re enjoying the swimming immensely. Coughs no worse in spite of it. We’re sleeping well and eating very well. The coast is beautiful. This is a picture of the pool where we swim.’

I think the 3 little Swanies all had whooping cough. Must have been fun for the du Plessis family who shared our holiday!”

Louis Brocket wrote in to remind us that he was also there for his first “vakansie-by-die-see”.

chakas-rock-holiday-1962

In 2016 the beach and rocks still look familiar –

chakas-rock-11

– but don’t look inland. Where there used to be just rolling green hills with an occasional rustic cottage, there’s concrete!

chakas-rock-20

We found an old movie of the holiday! Sheila rescued Dad’s old 8mm cine film.

vakansie by die see – seaside, or beach, holiday