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In Praise of Instinct

I am writing this newsletter on the day when, exactly 45 years ago, I first set foot on the property that was to become the Buddhist Retreat Centre.  As some of you know, I bought it impulsively, in thick mist and drizzle that prevented me from seeing anything further than what was vaguely visible three paces ahead from me. What I could make out was not encouraging: an expanse of impenetrable bramble, a forest of bugweed and dense Australian wattle saplings – all of them alien invaders that had overrun the property. I was therefore as stunned as the owner when I heard myself say:  “I’ll buy it.” 


Sangha Projects: January 2016

Generosity is the first of the Paramitas (Perfections) and the most highly praised of the Buddha’s teachings, because it gives rise to the other quintessential qualities of virtue. This altruism is evident in the way our patrons and donors respond so spontaneously to the needs of the Centre - needs that are not catered for in the rates we (reluctantly) charge for food and accommodation. 


Welcome to the BRC

Perched on a ridge at the head of a valley in the Umkomaas river system in KwaZulu-Natal, the Buddhist retreat Centre looks out on a vista of indigenous valleys, forests and rolling hills receding like waves in the blue distance. Here, for more than twenty years people of all religions and none have come to experience peace and tranquillity. It is a gentle, sympathetic space where one can be still and get in touch with oneself and reflect on the things that crowd one's life. CNN featured the BRC as one of the 10 finest Meditation centres in the world.

Paths threading the 300 acre property each bring their own revelation: follow the pine-scented path to the dam; walk past ancient cycads to the tracks of early Voortrekker wagons; discover an assegai-sharpening stone on a hillside; or point your feet towards the rocky outcrop that provides a perfect seat for contemplating the valley below. Nearby are the breeding sites of the exquisite, but rare Blue Swallow of which the Endangered Wildlife Trust has appointed the BRC a custodian. Their presence, together with the BRC's commitment to encouraging the indigenous biodiversity of the area, has led to the Centre being declared a Natural Heritage Site by former President Nelson Mandela.

Integrated into this setting are the Centre's buildings, accommodation lodges and cottages, the dining room and office, a shop, a lecture and art studio, a library, and the meditation hall.

Upcoming Retreats

The retreat schedule from March 2016 to January 2017 is now available

View full retreat schedule and details

Next 5 retreats

Fri Feb 12 - Sun Feb 14Healing Relaxation: Opening and relaxing the heart and mind
Fri Feb 19 - Sun Feb 21Going With The Flow: Integrating yoga into daily life as a mindfulness practice
Fri Feb 26 - Sun Feb 28A Neurosurgeon Probes Wellness And Performance
Fri Mar 04 - Sun Mar 06Soul Collage®: Windows to our souls
Fri Mar 11 - Wed Mar 16Befriending The Mind

Our Books

book cake_buddha

Quiet Food, our fabulous BRC recipe book, is in its eighth reprint. Like Quiet Food, The Cake celebrates the food served at the BRC as much as it does the BRC itself with photographs showcasing the beauty of the place, and stories about it and the activities that take place there.

You can order copies from our shop.

Mailing Lists

Submit your details to stay in touch with BRC activities


If anyone would like to get involved with donating goods to the Centre, please see the much-needed list below, or email us:  

  • Portable power drill
  • Small generator
  • Indigenous plants & seedlings
  • Gardening equipment
  • Patio chairs 
  • Towels, linen, pillows

Contact Us

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Telephone: +27 [0]39 834 1863 / 0878091687
Fax: +27 [0]86 683 9307
Mobile: 082 579 3037

Information: Follow us on Facebook

Emergencies:082 741 7901
Durban nos.:+27 [0]31 209 5995 or 082 466 8306 (Chrisi)
Email: (Dbn)
If our telephone lines are down, please would you call us on our cell phone : 0825793037.