South African Diary 5
In the last issue I mentioned the Mountain Lodge at Phinda where we were residing. Besides the Mountain Lodge, there is the Forest Lodge, the Vlei Lodge and the Rock Lodge and we were fortunate enough to go around and see some of these premier lodges.
We were taken for two game drives – one in the evening and the other the following morning and we were lucky enough to enjoy a slightly better weather as it wasn’t as wet as Hluhluwe.
At Phinda, we were lucky not only to spot a few wild buffaloes and elephants besides the giraffes and the zebras, but also to get the most panoramic view of the typical African sunset.For wildlife enthusiasts as well as those who wish to have a luxurious holiday away from the noise and buzz of big metropolis cities I would strongly recommend atleast a 2 nights / 3 days stay at Phinda.
Being a Fundi, I am glad to inform our readers that we can offer you the best of packages at some of the finest game reserves in Africa and that includes Phinda as well. Do contact Compact Travels for exciting packages.
After having seen probably the last of the wildlife of our trip in their natural habitats, we headed into the heart of Zulu Life and Culture at Shakaland which is located in Nkwaleni Valley between Eshowe and Melmoth nestling on top of the Entombeni Hills and overlooking the Umhlatuz Lake. We would be staying in a traditional Zulu “Umuzi” or homestead, divided into the home of the Zulus and the hotel rooms. This unique resort is built on the set where the famous movie Shaka Zulu was shot. The property comprises of traditional Zulu beehive huts equipped with a bathroom and shower as well as all other modern conveniences.
Shakaland is one of South Africa’s most unique attractions, as besides staying in the midst of Zulu Culture,one can experience the flavour of Zulu traditions. Demonstrations such as beer brewing, spear making, hut building, pottery, weaving and beadwork are arranged here.A cultural tour explaining the lifestyle of Zulu people, their traditional dress and etiquettehelps to understand the total contrasting lifestyle of this country, rich in diverse cultures and traditions.
During our stay we were also exposed to a few Zulu words and expressions such as Sawubona which is a greeting and to reciprocate one has to say Yebo.
There are lots of interesting and fascinating aspects about Zulu Culture , one of the most intriguing one being a visit to the “Isangoma” or diviner to contact the ancestoral spirits or the Amadlozi ,to be healed from sickness or any psychological problems. Late in the night we witnessed the typical Zulu dancing. The Zulu people love dancing and singing and it is customary for the unmarried girls and young men to dance alternating in separate groups. While the girls dance, they are accompanied by the singing and clapping of the boys and vice versa. What is typical of Zulu dancing is their acrobatic performance of throwing one foot in the air to reach head height and then powerfully stamping the ground to make the ground vibrate.
As Sir Francis Drake rightly said in 1580 whilst describing his unforgettable sighting of the Cape, the Western Cape is undoubtedly the fairest Cape in the whole circumference of the earth. At Capetown and its environs we were to spend the next 6 days of our Fundi trip and to know more about this amazing province you would need to wait until the next issue of Opportunities Today
(To be continued)
Subhash Motwani – South Africa Fundi (Expert)