Hi, I'm Andrew and I'm a photographer in Durban, South Africa. I work as a travel, commercial and event photographer, also offering portraiture, food, architectural and wedding photography. I also enjoy taking abstract, landscape and wildlife images. Please take a look at my portfolio, or contact me about doing a photo shoot.

Retreating in Ixopo

Posted on: June 30th, 2013 by andrewrhb No Comments

Ixopo, a little town in the foothills of the Drakensberg, made famous by Alan Patons opening lines in ‘Cry the Beloved Country’.

Situated in these foothills at the head of a tributary system feeding the Umkomaas river is situated the Buddhist Retreat centre, recently recognised by CNN as one of the top meditation retreats on the planet.  http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/25/travel/best-meditation-retreats/index.html


looking through the valley below the retreat


At peace in all weather

 Now over thirty years old, this brainchild and passion of Louis van Loon is well established within the local community. One with which it interacts and supports through a number of initiatives.

The Stupa sunset with aloe cast..

Obviously Buddhism and all it’s facets are the primary aim behind the retreat, however all faiths and religions are welcome to visit and enjoy the place and what it has to offer. For those who do not wish to take part in an organised retreat, one can always book a self retreat (mostly during the week, or on the rare weekend when nothing has been organised) and do one’s own thing.

in the Meditation hall

Chinese tea ceremony

anticipation of a lantern launch

 For those who follow the Buddhist way of life, or who are interested in learning more, retreats and a well stocked library offer a wide choice of activities and learnings. Those who merely wish to ‘chill’ and enjoy the peace and quiet, also have a number of options. There are a number of walks and trails in and out of the 300 hectare property. 

contemplating the labyrinth

Birding is popular here with a large number of species to be found. The BRC has also been proclaimed a protector of the endangered Blue Swallow, (one of the very few nesting sites left in the world) an honour bestowed upon them by Nelson Mandela. 



Cape robin

 Not all retreats are of the spiritual, or silent, range. The BRC does offer a variety of other ‘active’ retreats. These include pottery, photography, writing, yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Kung, cooking, birding, drumming and kiddies (family) to name a few.

morning Chi kung

The food may be vegetarian, but is incedibly highly regarded by those who have eaten there. Always good healthy food, the standard over the years has improved to a level of excellence and a benchmark for vegetarian food. So much so that the BRC has published two books based on the dishes and food produced there over the years. “Quiet Food” and “The cake Buddha ate” are both among top selling cookbooks.

early morning kitchen rush



For those passing through the area, the Retreat does cater for day visitors, just let them know in advance so they can plan.

The URL is    http://www.brcixopo.co.za 

Please take time to enjoy the images from the BRC, it is a photographers paradise.

meditation robes

edible mandala




evening Buddha

protea in bloom





close up



evening meditation


 Thank you for taking the time to view this page, please feel free to comment and contact me should you wish to know more about the images.






























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