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General Information

The Centre has been established on an exquisite 125-hectare country estate near the village of Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal 90 kilometers south of Pietermartizburg, one and a half hours’ drive from Durban.  Set in hilly grasslands amongst dams, indigenous bush and forests, it overlooks one of the great valleys in the Umkomaas river system.  CNN featured the BRC as one of the ten finest retreat centres in the world.  It was awarded Natural Heritage status by President Nelson Mandela in recognition of its success in establishing indigenous vegetation on the property and providing habitats for wildlife to return, including the endangered Blue Swallow.  It is a birder’s paradise with more 160 species recorded.  Walks lead to many interesting sites and viewpoints on the property, including evidence that Bushman lived there and Voortrekkers and Settlers passed through. In 2000, the BRC facilitated the founding of Woza Moya, the community-based NGO, located in Ufafa valley. It continues to support the organisation in a variety of ways.

Accommodation

Fifty retreatants can be accommodated in single and twin-bedded rooms, ensuite cottages and thatched chalets overlooking the secluded valleys on the property – a short distance away from the dining room, office, library, studio and meditation hall. Click here to view.

The Centre is justly famous for its fine lacto-ovo vegetarian cuisine which is featured in its own best-selling recipe books, Quiet Food, The Cake the Buddha Ate and Plentiful:The Big Book Of Buddha Food. The BRC menu includes organically grown vegetables and farm-baked bread. 

Observances

The Retreat Centre offers a tranquil environment for the study and practice of philosophy, psychology, meditation and the arts associated with Buddhist culture.  The Centre therefore encourages adherence to traditional Buddhist moral principles during retreats, such as respect for all forms of life and abstinence from alcoholic drinks and hallucinogenic drugs.  Noble Silence is maintained from the last meditation at night until the first session after breakfast in the morning.  During some retreats, Noble Silence is maintained throughout. Radios and pets are not allowed at the Centre.  Only some retreats are suitable for children from the age of 12 (e.g. family, kite, sketching and art retreats): please check with the Administrator.

What to bring

Rooms are equipped with all necessary linen, blankets, heating and towels. Bring warm, casual clothes, a tracksuit, waterproof jacket, a torch, walking shoes and umbrella.

Arrival & Departure

Please ensure that you have a confirmed booking before arriving at the Centre. Visitors are welcome to arrive before or (stay longer) after a retreat on a Self Retreat, by arrangement. Lunch on the first day is at 12h30 and is available at R 120.00 (Saturdays/Sundays); R 80.00 (Weekdays). Dinner is from 17h30-18h30 so please try and arrive before then. The kitchen closes at 18.45. Retreats start at 19h00. Retreats finish with lunch on the last day.

Visitors are advised to arrive before dark, especially in wet and misty weather. Please notify the office if you are likely to arrive later than 17h00.