We checked in Wilderness on 9thOctober 2018 and the plan was to spend Wamuyu’s birthday there. We had no information on what do while there other than have sea food for dinner as a birthday treat. The town is known for some really good sea food restaurants.
As usual, when you land at a backpackers, you meet other travelers and its always an optune time to exchange travel information. Almost everyone is eager to learn more about where they are heading to as there is always someone coming from that direction. Backpackers have been our best social places and information hubs.
We all gathered around the fire place next to the pub and overlooking the ocean. It was a chilly night. Rain was in the forecast and it had been rather cold in the past few days. Lentil soup with home baked bread was the meal for dinner on this day. Some of us got their hot bowls of soup and bread while others a cold beer was their best company. We in turns talked about our travels and where each one was coming from and heading to. This is the point where everyone takes out their phones or notebooks to note down their next possible adventures. A few young girls and guys were interning at this backpackers and would be traveling after their internship. Some as young as 19 years away from home and adulting. It was nice listening to their stories of backpacking, volunteering and traveling. We would love to see more young Kenyans travel this way. It’s a combination of travel, education and hands on experience that equips them on many areas of life.
A couple of things to do were recommended to all of us who had just arrived on the same day by those who were leaving.
- Hiking to the secret hippie’s cave.
We settled for hiking to the hippie’s cave. We had no idea what to expect of this hike other than we would have to walk along an old railway line which would lead us to the cave. If we wanted to get past the cave, we would have to cross a high rail line bridge by walking over it or get down under to the ocean and swim or waddle through the waters if not rough. This path would lead us to the beautiful Victoria Bay beach. A distance of about 10 kms or more.
This sounded good. After seating on motorbikes for hundreds of kilometers we are always looking forward to some exercise. Woke up early the following day and teamed up with Adrianne (a girl we met in Malawi and have been blessed to meet a couple of times since).
The walk on the rail way line was quite good as there was no climbing. We first got to this sign post and almost turned back. It would have been tough if we got attacked but thanks God, that did not happen. We were informed that it used to happen a couple of years back, but has not happened for the past two years. However, they retained the sign post to just have people take extra caution which is understandable.
We got to this beautiful tunnel that looked so dark that for a second time, we thought of turning back. We even started climbing up the hill to see if we can walk over the tunnel to the other side. There was no path and after a brief negotiation, we agreed to walk through the dark tunnel. Adrianne and I picked some huge rocks for self-defense while Dos chose to walk behind us for more protection. The walk was short and before we knew it, there was light at the end of the tunnel (like literally) and Dos only ended up taking some nice videos and pictures as we only got to exercise our arms with carrying the rocks.
On arrival, we were met by Andre who also lives in the cave. He welcomed us and asked that we wait as he called “The Master”. A good-looking gentleman walks out of the cave, greets us and introduces himself as Cliff Brandon the owner of the cave.
Cliff gave us a tour of the cave before sitting down to tell us of how he got to live there and why. There is a small contribution for the cave tour of R25 per person and this money goes towards feeding those who stay at the cave as they are homeless and most have no jobs although they get out there to find a way of earning a living. You can contribute more if you wish.
We listen carefully to Cliff story of the cave and realize how spiritual he is. The entire story of the cave is based on a message from God. Cliff is a graduate of Theological school who asked God for a house. God sent him to Wilderness and told him that the house he has asked for was there. He took his bible and a few things and went to wilderness. He waited for a couple of days for God to show him the house he has for him but instead, God led him to the Cave.
He says the cave was by then an abandoned pub that used to belong to a family and was used for the Railway passenger’s and workers. After a massive landslide in 2006 that destroyed the railway and rendered it unusable, the family abandoned the pub. The pub counter is still there till today. When he arrived here, he knew this is the home God had promised him.
He got into a legal tarsal with the railway company as they at some point claimed that they owned the property. He even got eviction notices a couple of times. Through his prayers and God’s intervention, he got some of the best lawyers in South Africa on Pro Bono. The legal process took him about 7 years and it was established that the Railway company or no one else owned the property and he was allowed to have it. He says – “always follow God’s voice” and “God will never give you what belongs to someone else” and he believes that is the reason he won this matter and that confirmed to him once again that the cave was the house God had promised him.
In this cave, he only takes in the homeless. He charges nothing for their stay. He has over the 8 years he has lived here decorated the cave with hanging chandeliers of painted shells from the ocean, masks that have been decorated with glitters and furnished the cave with about 15 beds, a kitchen and living area on the outside. They however have a tough time during the rainy and winter season as the cave leaks and gets wet and cold. Inside the cave there is his prayer room where he speaks with God. He says, God promised that the cave will not collapse or get damaged for as long as he (Cliff) is alive. He has no idea what God will do with the cave after he is gone but know that God is always faithful to his people
This turned to be the best birthday gift for Wamuyu and a spiritual nourishment for all of us.
We left the cave well spiritually nourished and headed for the Victoria Bay. This turned out to be the toughest part of the hike.
We got to this bridge and Adrianne and Wamuyu could not walk over it due to their extreme height phobia. Dos however did it while the girls chose to go under and climb the rocks to get down to the ocean and find a shallow place to cross through to the other side.
A couple of hours later we arrived at this beautiful beach. We sat for a beer and sandwich as we waited for our taxi back to the backpackers.
After finishing the hike at the Victoria Bay beach, we all had a sandwich and a drink and called it a day. It was a day well spent. A birthday well deserved. Great lessons of the day.