Surprising South Africa: Part 1, Kwazulu Natal

If you follow me on instagram or facebook, then you had a taste of my amazing journey through South Africa earlier this month. My blessed husband held down the fort while I joined Isoul Harris, Chander Navarro, and Colleen Friesen for two weeks touring this wonderful country and experiencing so much of the culture and activities it has to offer. We started in KwaZulu Natal, then went on to Cape Town, and finally four mind-blowing days on safari in Limpopo.

I’d like to share some of my journey with you; I hope it inspires you to visit South Africa it truly is an amazing experience. I am already planning to go back with my daughter. Today I’ll start with the first leg of our Journey, the province of KwaZulu Natal, including the city of Durban and the South Coast.

Come away with me to South Africa…

  • Travel to South Africa 1 of 21
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    To get your bearings, let me give you a few details. South African time is nine hours ahead of Los Angeles time (PDT)/6 hours ahead of East Coast time. The journey is long, about 14 hours on a direct flight from New York to Johannesburg, but totally and completely worth it, as I hope to show you in my series of three posts about my trip.

  • Affordable Travel 2 of 21
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    Once you get to South Africa you can travel in luxury for rates much, much cheaper than you would expect to pay based on US standards. It's sort of shocking how much travel bang you can get for your buck, so the cost of the plane tickets evens out over many other destinations.

  • Durban 3 of 21
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    We started our journey in Durban, on the coast in the province of KwaZulu Natal. South Africa has nine provinces, of which I visited three. 

    Read more about my South African adventure at Pretty Prudent.

  • Oyster Box Hotel 4 of 21
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    In Durban we stayed the legendary Oyster Box Hotel and enjoyed the amazing curry buffet. I was surprised to learn that South Africa is home to more Indians than any other country outside of India, and since I adore Indian food I was in heaven.

  • Sunrise 5 of 21
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    The great thing about jetlag is being up in time to see the sunrise.

  • Kwa Muhle Museum 6 of 21
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    In Durban, our tour guide Thami shared with us his experience as a Zulu man before and after the end of apartheid. This was very powerful. We visit the Kwa Muhle Museum which has a wonderful exhibit that brings to life the hardships and struggle of black South Africans under apartheid.

  • Zulu Men Sculpture 7 of 21
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    This sculpture represents Zulu men, who were forced to come to the location to be approved to enter the city of Durban, by waiting naked and being evaluated for health, proving they had work, etc. before they could get their passbook stamped.

    Learn more about Kwa Muhle Museum at Pretty Prudent.

  • Victoria Market 8 of 21
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    Next we headed to the Victoria Market. Victoria Market is a wonderful assortment of shops and vendors offering traditional Zulu clothing, souvenirs, and spices with great deals to be had.

  • Zulu Baskets 9 of 21
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    My favorite booth sold these amazing Zulu baskets. I brought one home, but would have bought 1,000 if I could have fit them into my suitcase. 

  • Prettiest Beer Carriers 10 of 21
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    The baskets are made from recycled telephone wires.

  • Muti Market 11 of 21
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    Next to the Victoria Market is a Muti Market. Muti is the traditional Zulu medicine, and the market is not really a place for tourists to visit and gawk, so we went with Thami but were respectful not to take pictures unless invited to.

  • Medicine Man 12 of 21
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    This is a Zulu medicine man. He was very kind to me, and with translation I described to him my problems with my hip joints and he gave me a medicine.

    Read more about the Zulu medicine man at Pretty Prudent.

  • Peermont Mondazur San Lameer Hotel 13 of 21
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    Next we drove down the coast to San Lameer. This area is a common place for South Africans to vacation, but less so for international tourists, which means you can get great deals. We stayed at the Peermont Mondazur San Lameer, which was lovely. Here is the view to the left from my balcony.

  • View from the Balcony 14 of 21
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    And to the left…

  • Monkeys! 15 of 21
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    There were vervet monkeys everywhere.

  • The Gorge Private Game Lodge and Spa 16 of 21
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    Out hotel was lovely, as was the spa there, but if you visit the South Coast you must stay at The Gorge Private Game Lodge and Spa. Look at this view!

  • Great View, Great Price 17 of 21
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     And each of the rooms is an individual house with five star luxury including a private indoor/outdoor shower with this sweeping view. And only about $100 a night! GAH!

  • Oribi Gorge 18 of 21
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    If you enjoy adventure travel than the South Coast will be your idea of heaven on earth. We spent a day depleting our adrenaline reserves, starting at Oribi Gorge.

    Hear all about what it was like to jump into this 3,000 foot gorge at Pretty Prudent.

  • Beaver Creek Coffee Plantation 19 of 21
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    Later that afternoon we visited Beaver Creek Coffee Plantation. The owner (his great grandfather started the farm) gave us a tour and showed us how coffee is grown and made. It was fascinating.

    Learn more about the entire process at Pretty Prudent.

  • Botha House 20 of 21
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    The next day, we visited Botha House, which is a former sugar plantation turned bed and breakfast.

  • Off to Cape Town 21 of 21
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    After our tour we headed to the Durban airport for our flight to Cape Town, undeniably the most beautiful city I have seen. More on that in my next installment…

    See more photos and hear more about my trip at Pretty Prudent.

Jaime Morrison Curtis is author of the bestselling book Prudent Advice: Lessons for My Baby Daughter (A Life List for Every Woman), follow up fill-in journal My Prudent Advice, and founding co-editor at Prudent Baby, the premier design and lifestyle blog providing inspiration and instruction to help anyone create beautiful things, food, and experiences for their friends and family.

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