Durban, South Africa

Durban is the busiest port in Africa.  They have room for 52 ships to dock!  

We had an excursion titled, "Valley of the Thousand Hills".  The title relates to the region our bus took us to but doesn't hint at what we went to see.  This was a visit to the spectacular homeland of the Zulu.  Some of you may remember a movie years ago about Shaka Zulu.  The precise location of our visit was called Phezulu.  Our guide, Bongi, gave us a run down of some Zulu customs and history on the ride to the site (about a 30 minute trip).  Then it was up to the MC and the dancers and singers to show and tell us the rest.    The joy, the energy and the physical skills of the dancers were all amazing.  The show was quite entertaining, and we enjoyed it thoroughly.  

The village contains many huts, which we were able to explore.  This is necessary because the Zulu customs require a hut for each of a Zulu man's wives (yes, polygamy is part of their custom), a "grandmother" hut (also called the mother-in-law hut), and several others for food preparation and of course one for the man as well.  The hut roofs are made of grass thatch which is made waterproof by burning a fire in the hut which they say seals the thatch.  Despite the polygamy we are told that they have very strict rituals which separate the males and females until marriage and that women wear clothing which identifies whether they are single, engaged or married.  Infidelity isn't an option as the penalty is death.

After the show we had a short time for shopping before we went for tea.  We bought a small Zulu spice basket, which was amazingly inexpensive.  The gift shop had very high quality items and the prices were very reasonable.

After the dance/history program we were taken to look at their reptile collection.  There were multiple pens of crocodiles.  We were there at feeding time, and that was very interesting to watch.  We also saw turtles, a large land tortoise, and several snakes, including some venomous ones.  

This turned out to be a very interesting excursion, and we were very glad we did it.

Pictures from the day can be found in our photo album.

© Susan L. Stone 2015