BRC Ixopo

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How to Retreat

Retreat. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary the primary meaning of the word is a military one: “go back, retire, relinquish a position (esp. of army etc.)”. There are other meanings, all referring to some kind of withdrawal, even if it’s only a receding hairline. One definition is applicable to what happens here at the Buddhist Retreat Centre near Ixopo:  “withdrawing into privacy or security, (place of) seclusion; temporary retirement for religious exercises or meditation”.

The Buddhist Retreat Centre offers various types of retreat, ranging from those investigating Buddhist thought and philosophy, through to practice retreats where the emphasis is on meditation; as well as retreats featuring bird watching, cookery, drumming, pottery and photography. At first glance the latter might appear to be unrelated to Buddhism but even these retreats will contain some element of meditation, of mindful awareness, refracting the chosen subject matter through a Buddhist lens. 


Welcome to the BRC

003-40Perched 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.

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 to September 2014 is now available

View full retreat schedule and details

Next 5 retreats

Sun Apr 20 - Mon Apr 21Shibuie: when beauty happens accidentally
Fri Apr 25 - Mon Apr 28Open the Heart and Still the Mind:From Fear and Shame to Freedom
Wed Apr 30 - Fri May 02Tai Chi:Accompanying nature, exploring ourselves (1)
Fri May 02 - Sun May 04Tai Chi:Accompanying nature, exploring ourselves (2)
Mon May 05 - Fri May 09Ashtanga Yoga and Ayurvedic healing: Healing the body and calming the mind (1)

Our Books

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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:  

  • Flat screen computer monitors for the office
  • Portable power drill
  • Building materials for our new staff room 
  • Indigenous plants & seedlings
  • Gardening equipment
  • Patio chairs 
  • Replacement for our worn out bakkie/workhorse
  • New Refridgerator
  • 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

While our telephone lines are down, please would you call us on our cell phone : 0825793037.