A Dream Come True
South Africa. Even saying it makes me smile.
Who has ever had a bucket list, and has FINALLY ticked off one or more of those things on there? How amazing did it feel!?
South Africa had been on the bucket list for at least 5 years. Was it a freakish case of “meant to be”, and the universe working it’s magical powers, that it turned out my husband is South African? I believe it to be 100% the case. As i always say – there’s no such thing as coincidences.
Drew, my husband, is from the city of Durban, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (pronounced phonetically). Durban is located on the East Coast, and is home to some of the roughest wave beaches I’ve ever encountered. It also has the highest Indian population outside of Mumbai, proudly hosted the soccer World Cup in 2010, and 595, 060 people call Durban home.
It’s a place that’s beautiful, cultured and colourful. It is also a place that got the tears flowing. (I’ll get into that bit a little later).
As with any country, there are safe, and not so safe areas to visit. The key is simply to be educated and to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
What To Do In Durban, South Africa
As previously mentioned, Durban is a colourful place, with hidden, and not so hidden gems. Whether you’re with friends, your other half, or the kids, it will offer up it’s (literally) warm hospitality and entertainment.
Phe-Zulu, Valley Of A Thousand Hills
Another bucket list item was watching a native African tribe customary dance, or courtship.
The man/men do their dancing and chanting, whilst the women (her girl gang) and the courted woman’s mother decide whether or not he is worthy enough of her hand in marriage. Then, a dowry is decided upon and the rest is so called history!
It is a custom that still goes on in native tribes all across the African continent. There’s obviously variations, but the overall goal is the same. Land you a lady!
The specific tribe we watched dance was by the Zulu Tribe.
It moved me to absolute tears. It touched my very core and soul. I watched in total awe, amazement and joy. The chanting, the dancing, the emotion. The total passion behind every move and step more than enough to leave it’s mark on my heart.
Golden Mile Beach
Beaches. One of the most beautiful natural gifts in the world.
I’m not going to say that in order to conquer these Durban waves, you just about have to be as agile and fast as a seal. All i’m going to say is that you better have your best wave dodging, jumping and diving skills ready to go! Having a sturdy pair of swimmers or bathers, or whatever you call those things you wear in the water, won’t hurt either.
One would’ve thought that being from Australia where the waves are also a law unto themselves, it would’ve been easy. Ohhhhh no. Not with these bad boys!
The shore breaks will have you dumped and rolling underneath the rumbling water quicker than you can say “you’re going to get a massive wedgie from that wave!”
Just to be totally clear and obvious – a “shore break” is a wave that literally breaks on the shore. Step one centimeter into water, and you are faced with the foam of a wave ready to wrap itself around you. (So dramatic).
But wait. That’s just the entree. For the main you have another 4-5 consecutive waves, then a few scrapes along the bottom on the sand, a bikini top that falls (read: PULLED) off due to being thrown around by the waves, and a final flash of your butt because you almost lose your bikini bottoms also. Finally, for dessert, you have one bruised ego and a laughing husband.
Now Drew on the other hand literally grew up with these waves and beaches. It was his after school activity.
He could read them as simply as a book. Remember my reference to a seal earlier? Yep, that was Drew. In a flash you saw a wave, then you saw him jumping and diving and body surfing them back to shore like nobody’s business.
It takes a somewhat “getting used to” or practice to feel confident in the water of South Africa.
If it’s not the waves that you need to be aware of, it’s an apex predator, known as none other than the Great White Shark. Not sure if you’ve heard of them?? (Sarcasm plus there).
The water is still safe to enjoy, but the paranoia soon sets in. Was that a fin or was it just a piece of seaweed? Was it sand that stirred from the bottom skimming your leg, or was it a Great White sizing you up ready to ambush you and take a nibble to curb it’s curiosity?
FACT: Great Whites don’t actually actively hunt or prey on humans. They are simply “testing” it out, having a taste to see if it is eligible to be a meal or not. Yes, the damage can be huge and fatal, but they are simply doing what they were designed to do. Seek out any food source and stay alive in it’s own environment. When stepping into the ocean, please be aware that it is their domain, just as much as your own house is yours.
What The Heck Is A Bunny Chow?
A bunny that you chow down on…. NOT! If you’re a Durbanite, this is pretty much as common as Vegemite is to an Aussie. As synonymous as Kiwis are to sheep. As normal as Mexicans and burritos.
They are curry and white bread goodness. Half a loaf of white bread and your choice of curry filling. Rip the sides of what is essentially your “bowl” (the bread) and use your hands to dip and slurp your way through the filling, tantalising, oh so damn good bunny chow.
Now, i must warn you – i can eat the equivalent of 2 (maybe 3) people, so this isn’t for the bird like eaters. It’s for people whom like to get down (from a food coma) and dirty – literally. You may want to steal a baby’s bib if spilled food – which may look like feces – on your clothes embarrasses you.
Where To Get A Bunny Chow In Durban
Seeing Durban has the most population of Indians outside of India, you can pick up a “bunny” in almost any restaurant and/or cafe.
There is also a multitude of Indian restaurants around every corner. I wasn’t really one for Indian cuisine, until Durban (and Drew).
It’s awesome because there’s quite a few vegan options, so i’m one happy big eater!
P.s. if you go to Durban and don’t eat a bunny chow, have you even been to Durban?
Home Away From Home
Not too sure if it’s because i had wanted to go to South Africa for as long as i can remember, or the fact that my husband was South African and his family and friends were so welcoming, or all of the above… but i somewhat felt at home straight away.
It was the first time i’d met his mum and step dad, (his mum’s name is Linda – same as my mum! Freaky!) His older brother, his step sister and her family, and his step brother and his family – can you imagine the pressure i was under to remember all the names and who was who! (I remember you all perfectly now, don’t worry haha).
Durban was made even that much more special due to Drew’s family. Apart from the fact that it was where my husband spent the best of his childhood and adult years, i too, felt connected to Durban. I wasn’t with my blood related family at Christmas, but i was with my family nonetheless.
Durban most certainly holds a very special place in my heart. I know we’ll be back very soon, and many more times to follow.