FOR two days, our development team and I were doing scoping work in the Oribi Gorge and Paddock areas in preparation for the crafting of an area plan for tourism/leisure, and what an enriching experience it was.We called in our valued members, plotted their locations, assessed their properties, took photos and of course visited the world-class eco-adventure sites in the gorge. The Oribi Gorge Hotel complex has had new additions to its precinct and is now completing a children’s play area and an impressive public bar is operational. At the gorge swing, we hooked up with a film crew shooting on behalf of SA Tourism. This shows that the area is really being recognised at national level as the place to jump, swing, paddle, cross country or merely take in the breathtaking scenery, conservation areas and rich cultural landscapes. The list of things to do is long and for everyone.Our overnight stop was at Lake Eland and in the pleasurable absence of a TV, the combination of long silences punctuated with the odd sounds of the bush, and the postcard views over lakes, the rolling hills and valleys, was magnificent and much-needed after a long and intense day exploring. The early morning visit of game not 80 m from the chalet was that added bonus before we went to the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve and the quaint historical hamlet of Paddock to round off our evaluations.We also went along some deep rural roads down towards the far side of the impressive Umzimkhulu River.Being among some of the friendliest people one could meet, one can get to parts of the valley that is true wilderness, with hardly a building, with thick lush vegetated valley sides with those intimidating escarpments peering at us from above. In the middle of it all, the sluggish, bloated river wended its way towards Port Shepstone as eagles and vultures scanned for their next prey or carcass. In places like this, one can hardly imagine that about 25 km away, the hustle and bustle of our towns and resort areas continues. This is a special world worthy of much repeated exploration. Now to get on with writing up our findings. It will be a report I will enjoy doing.