Tag archives for South Africa Trip

Exactly one year ago I was traveling in South Africa, exploring the disparate coastal cities of that magnificent country while filming a documentary for the National Geographic Channel: “The World In Two Cities”. As someone who normally stands behind the camera, it was a terrific honor to host such a well-made film in such a…

No matter where I travel in the world, it’s the people I remember most. More than any other aspect (food, architecture, nature, history), it’s the people who make a place. Nowhere is that more true than in the great city of Durban. My week-long exploration of this city-by-the-sea revealed many things, beginning with the realization…

Umlazi

Everyone kept telling me the townships were so dangerous, but I think that only applies to cows and goats. A lot of cows die in the townships—every time there’s a birth, or a wedding, or a funeral, a cow gets stabbed in the back and then cooked on a fire. Among the Zulu in Durban,…

A dead, dried-up monkey hangs from the shop, next to a gaping set of shark jaws. Strips of dried animal skin dangle in a row, and as I walk past, I guess at each remnant’s former animal life: a crocodile, an antelope, a vulture, and several long black mambas. Beneath the display, on a hand-constructed…

I’ve only eaten one bunny so far, but I am sure to devour at least one more before I leave. Bunnies are delicious. Bunny chow (or “a bunny”) is classic Durban cuisine: a hollowed-out square loaf of soft bread, filled with rich, spicy HOT curry that you eat with your fingers. It’s messy, very yummy,…

Gandhi’s neighbors are very loud. It is a sunny Sunday morning and sane people are in bed with the paper and a cup of tea—or else in church or on their way to the beach. But way out here in Inanda township, the house next door is blasting earth-shaking drums and wild marimba noise that…

New city, new language. That is the beauty of South Africa. Just drive a few miles and everything changes. Cape Town is lovely but now that I’ve arrived on the other side of the country, I must switch gears. Durban is the center of KwaZulu-Natal, the great Zulu kingdom and the western fringe of the…

Travel is such a personal thing: one man’s art museum is another man’s prison. Personally, I can feel highly entertained just browsing in a bookstore (though if you want to kill me with boredom, plop me in the middle of a golf course.) This is precisely why I shy away from instructing readers what to…

Show me your graffiti and you’ve shown me your city. What people scrawl on the walls of the place they live says more about that place than any guidebook. That’s why I love good graffiti — I look for it almost everywhere I go and when I find it, I rejoice. In that vein, the…

Good Hope

Six hundred and fifty shipwrecks lie off the Cape of Good Hope. I prayed that we would not make it six hundred and fifty-one. I had already read enough to be good and scared—I knew about the oil tankers and cargo vessels, the clipper ships and iron-hulled battleships of old and not-so-old. Many large and…

The slower you travel, the more you see. That is why walking is the best way to know a place. And when the place is as magnificent and gigantic (almost 4 miles long) as Noordhoek Beach, then you can save time and get a horse to do the walking for you. Giffie sounds like an…

Pink, yellow, green . . . . . . orange, red, purple, pink, white, mustard, turquoise. My mind reads each new color my eyes encounter, this wonderful wall of bright stripes along the street–each one a different house with a different family living inside. The Bo-Kaap is a bouquet of flowers–from the first time I…

I offer my sweat as a gift to the earth. Jethro tells me that my sweat is enough—the important thing is to always give back. If we take something, we must also give. We take water into our bodies and we give it back. He says this while pulling out the fuzzy black end of…

Hello! Goeie Dag! Molo Kunjani! Welcome to beautiful Cape Town, where I’ve landed my feet for a good little while. From the moment I stepped off my ship and ventured into this city by the sea, I’ve been amazed at how friendly everybody is. And I really mean that. Cape Town is a city of…