I put my foot into the warm sand and beam with happiness. Winter has never felt so good. This could just be the place where the sun comes to smile, KwaZulu-Natal.
After the excitement and furore of the Durban July has died down and all the excitable Joburg revellers have returned to their City of Gold and prices of airfare and hotels have dropped, the real vacationing begins … in KZN at least.
Zimbali means many flowers, or place of many flowers, and this rings true. The foliage is the first thing that hits your eyes as you drive a slow 10 to 12 minutes from King Shaka airport through to the very lush and leafy suburb.
Situated on the North Coast, the Fairmont Zimbali Resort is the ideal spot for a classy warm weather getaway in the depressing, Gauteng winter season.
This resort, in particular, is a beautiful private getaway far from the bustle of the city and, like most discerning areas, is enveloped in security and high walls.
That’s a plus, because the area is also highly populated with a large monkey population who like to climb over and into any low lying or open spaces, naturally , when the opportunity presents itself.
When the Fairmont opened, I was invited to the vibey eating venue now renamed the Beach Café to sample the newly-launched menu, which includes cocktails and various other beverages.
Stepping into the Beach Café , I could hear echoes of the Beach Boys hit song Good Vibrations in my head.
Aqua hued furnishings, beach wood chairs and delightful touches of tropical décor add to the overall ambience of a tranquil day at the beach.
Coupled with the warm weather and the overall oxymoron of being out of winter in winter is the mouth-watering sensation that hits your senses – aromas of diverse flavours wafting through from the kitchen.
When the Beach Café was launched the menu was also given a complete overhaul. Seafood dishes are what are generally served up at the coast but the meat dishes are just as important.
A few years ago, my sister declared with glee at a family lunch that she had decided to become vegan. The idea sounded ridiculous to me but glancing over the Beach Café menu, a vegan dish caught my eye.
I decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised. The plate was filled with veggies and tofu – which in my opinion tastes like anything you put it next to.
The result was satisfyingly tasty although I have no desire of becoming a permanent vegan. I couldn’t imagine life without tucking into a lamb chop but I’ll order the same meal the next time I’m at the café. It was well prepared and worth it.
Mike Jackson, general manager of the Zimbali resort who has a wealth of over 20 years’ experience in the hotel and hospitality industry, said one of the aims in diversifying the menu was to try and accommodate many tastes through light meals that also satisfy the palette.
As well as keeping up with culinary trends by adding poke bowls to the menu. Some of the dishes on the menu are seasonal.
The café isn’t only all about food. It overlooks a stunningly beautiful swimming pool that is said to be a lot safer than the much choppier sea water down at the no-swimming beach.
Opening hours – daily:
- 11:00 – 17:00
- 032 538 5000