My notes from my trip to South Africa were left in one of my boxes during my move. I finally found my tiny little notebook chronically my South Africa extravaganza, so let’s finish this trip shall we?
After Port Elizabeth, I travelled to Durban. It was an extremely long bus ride, made longer by roadwork. 17 hours in a bus. Early on in the trip everyone was chatty. Since I was a single woman travelling alone, I was a point of interest for conversation. Once I told them I was a Volunteer living in the village in Ghana, I won points with the entire bus. It was pretty great. Everyone listened while I told stories from Ghana. I imagined setting up a campfire in the middle of the aisle. I finally made it to Durban and settled into my hostel. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like partying, otherwise that hostel would have been ideal.
I was put in a room with a group of German girls studying at the University in Port Elizabeth. There was one girl who was beautiful, she was German but black. Her father was Namibian and her mother German. We all chatted for a while and I found out that her friends were going to the beach for the day, but she wanted to go shopping. I was planning on shopping the next day, so we decided to go together. The next morning we headed into Durban proper to find this big Indian market. Durban has the biggest population of Indians outside of India. Gandhi got his start here in Durban. We walked around the market for a few hours taking in the mix of Indian curry spices, South African crafts, and perfumes. The area around Durban is Zulu land. The Zulu are known for their beautiful hand carved wooden spoons and bead work.
After the market, we walked around the area for a short bit. Diminga (the German girl) needed to get her hair braided, but only smallsmall. So we went to this crazy back alley creepy hair salon. Here in Ghana everything is open, wide, and in a shack. This salon was tiny and in a back alley. So naturally I was suspicious, but it turns out it was normal. It reminded me of Ghana, the women chatting while doing their hair. Afterwards, we found a shop selling saris. It was so incredibly beautiful. If I had been alone, I would have totally asked to try on a couple. The fabrics were breathtaking. It made me want to book a ticket to India.
We got a little lost but luckily a friendly Indian woman stopped us and told us exactly how to get where we needed to go. We headed to the beach area to shop along the stalls. I bought three beaded bracelets for less than 10 bucks. They are stunning. They are one of my favorite purchases from my trip. I love wearing them.
After a walk along the shops, we headed over to the beach for some ice cream. Honestly, this would have been a great date, ha! It was a school holiday that day so the beach was filled with people from every background you could imagine.
We then headed over to the World Cup Soccer Stadium to meet up with her friends. We took this mini elevator up to the top of the stadium (which is shaped like a basket). You could see all of Durban up there on that platform. It was beautiful. I wish I could have seen a soccer game there. When we came down we ate at Subway, which was fantastic and so American.
I went to dinner by myself afterwards, I wasn’t going to leave Durban without stuffing my face full of Indian food. I had mutton, chicken, this amazing curry rice, a delicious yoghurt sauce, and lots of spice! It was delicious, but the best part was realizing the Indian restaurant in Accra is just as good.
The next day I left for Johannesburg with the bus again. Only I forgot to tell the bus that I changed hostels, so I almost missed the bus which would have been AWFUL. But I didn’t and that’s the great part. It was the first time I actually stressed out during my entire trip.
The trip between Durban and Johannesburg was stunning. We drove by the Drakensberg Mountains. There were gorges, canyons, mountains, lakes, and stretches of nothing. It was like a different planet.
I finally got to Johannesburg in the evening and settled in to my ex-Mafia house hostel. It was a beautiful mansion on a hill overlooking a large section of Johannesburg. I shared my room with a group of South African girls on school holiday. I’m pretty sure they were all Zulu princesses, only problem was they kept running around naked. I see lots of boobs in Ghana, but not in South Africa. The boys on the trip kept coming into the room too. I felt like a chaperone, but it was entertaining. The staff at the hostel was incredibly nice to me and I enjoyed staying there. But I couldn’t wait for the next day – the day I left for my safari.