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April 29th 2008
Published: May 7th 2008
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At RamsgateAt RamsgateAt Ramsgate

A bit sunnier than the UK one

Zulu warriors!

We did our first long drive from Addo and tried to get all the way to Durban. This must be about 750km, so it will be no great surprise we didn't make it. The drive eventually got a little dull as we've not managed to get a radio transmitter for the ipod yet and SA radio stations are truely awful!

The drive took us through a large area called the Transkei. This is what was called a homeland and was an area where the apartheid government translocated people. The areas were then meant to be self ruling, but in reality were areas where there was little infrastructure or jobs. It was pretty obvious as we were driving through that it was very different from the SA we'd seen so far. It was a lot more like we envisaged Africa, with chaotic crowed streets. This is also the region where Mandela grew up.

After driving from 9am until 6pm, we ended up in a seaside town called Ramsgate, about an hour south of Durban. Funnily enough, the next resort along is called Margate, but I'd imagine these are a lot nicer places. Pic 1 is Lynne at Ramsgate. We didn't do much here as it was just a stop off on the way to Durban.

The next day we made it to Durban. Not really somewhere we'd recommend. We stayed in one of the nicer areas of the city, but it was pretty much like all the residents live in prisons, with high walls, barbed wire and electric fencing. We were advised not to go out at night. Even in the day you need to be very careful, hence no pics. Durban sea front was like the Costa del Sol, but not the prettiest. We did have quite a fun day though at a new theme park thing called uShaka. This has a big sea world and water park, but the weather was rainy so we just did the sea world. Apparently lots of people holiday at Durban from Joburg, but I think I'd rather chew off my right leg!

From there we ventured up the coast to get into Zululand (pic 2). This was good fun. We went to a really tacky place called Shakaland. Shaka was the leader of the Zulus, so there are loads of references to him everywhere. Shakaland is a cultural village where they have recreated a Zulu homestead called a Kraal, put on a traditional dance (pic3) and feed you Zulu food and beer. It was good fun but we didn't take it too seriously. Apparently, Zulu's can have as many wifes as they like as long as they can afford the 11 cow dowry it takes to have a wife! We were unfortunate enough to be looking around at the same time as a coach load of ageing Americans. The best thing was a conversation with a lady who said SA wasn't at all as she expected, as she thought elephants and lions would be wandering along the side of the roads! God bless America!

We stayed the night in a zulu town called Eshowe, in a colonial style hotel called the George. From there we visted the battlefields where the English were massacred by the Zulu's.

Next stop was 3 days in the Drakensberg mountain range. We stayed in a tent at Ampitheatre Backpackers. It was a cool place, with a crowded bar and lots of other people around. We did a guided walk from here to the top of the world's 2nd highest waterfall called Tugela Falls. It was pretty knackering and involved a long rock scramble up to the top (pic 4) and a descent via some dodgy metal ladders knocked in to the rock face (pic 6). Unfortunately it was really cloudy at the top, so the view of the waterfall didn't live up to much. It reminded us of the time we went to the Grand Canyon and we saw bugger all cos it snowed!

Staying at the backpackers was really social. We met loads of great people and inparticular a gay couple, Chi and Paul and their mate Nirali. Chi and Nirali both work for KPMG in Joburg!

Hope everyone is well and we'll promise to do better than we have updating this thing!

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