Caryn: After leaving Mozambique we drove to the small town of St Lucia, which was lovely. In St Lucia we went for a afternoon cruize on the river to see hippos and crocodiles.
Alison happy to be on the river.
Ali and I with Lindsay and Deson on the boat. They were the other 2 Canadians on our trip.
HIPPOS! After taking about 50 pictures of hipos, we deleted a bunch. They were very cute- in the water that is. Hipos are actually very dangerous and will charge you. Our tour guide said that they run around 45 km/hr, which is a problem if you are a human as the fastest human runs 36 km/hr. So he instructed us that if we see a hippo walking through town (not uncommon according to locals) we were to a) climb a tree or b) hide behind a wall. I wasn't exactly sure how he expected us to climb a tree however as NONE of the trees had any low branches. Luckily we did not encounter a hippo on the street. And i will not be asking for one this Christmas.
After our river cruise, we went back to our backpackers to watch Zulu dancing. It was so neat to watch. It seemed similar to Swaziland dancing in some ways but instead of dancing as a group it was more individual if that makes sense. Once again we had a chance to join in at the end and Alison was great! You'll have to ask her to demo her Zulu dancing next time you go out with her. ;)
The next day we drove about 4 hours to Thousand Hills (a Zulu suburb 40 mins from Durban) for a day tour and homestay. The tour company we were with for the day, Vuk Africa, directs all its proceeds to Light Providers. This is a non-profit organization that works within the Thousand Hills community to empower young people through offering recreational activities, life skills programs, and skill development programs.
After a brief history of their organization we were off! Our first stop was a local butcher shop, where we bought a bunch of meat for another braii, which the butcher's little brother bbq'd up for us in front of the shop. It was really good, and we had fun interacting with the locals. Then we went to a "go-go's" house (go-go is Zulu for Grandma) to get a chicken for dinner. A live chicken. So for the rest of the day we had to carry around this Chicken, which was going to be our dinner. That one of us would have to kill. Have i mentioned that i haven't eaten meat since?
After that we visited a home where women were selling traditional Zulu bead jewlery. Then it was off to the Sangoma's Hut. A Sangoma is a traditional Zulu practicioner of herbal medicine, fortune telling and counseling. She told us a bit about when she was called by her ansestors to become a Sangoma. Then she read her bones (these were bones and shells that she skattered from a horn of a cow) for our fortune as a group, then danced for us. It was really neat.
After the Sangoma, we returned to the Light Providers center, where a choir sang for us. They were so good. So so good! If we ever have internet that will let us, we can post a short video clip of this.
Our group was then divided into 2 smaller groups, and we were off for our family homestay. Ali and i went to this one that had 16 children, 6 who were 5 and 6 (they were foster children as they were orphans), and the rest ranged from about 8-18. The kids were adorable, and when we got there they greeted our group with some songs and some more Zulu dancing. Our group decided to do an impromtu performance for them, and we sang songs ranging from the chicken dance, cucaborro, and the great big moose who drank juice (Ali's specialty).
Alison talking now: That night we watched the chicken being killed, Caryn prompty stopped eating meat and we played with the kids. The kid that latched onto me did lots of laughing, Caryn's friend would chat away to her ernestly in Zulu. It was really hard to leave the kids in the morning, the homestay had been such a highlight.
Next day we went to Durban for a finale braii at Darren's parent's house. And that was it! Our wonderful tour had ended. We ate out with those that hadn't left right away. The restaurant had a huge tank in it with sharks! Slowly, over the next day, our group got smaller and smaller.
Until, it was back down to two.
(Pictures of Homestay and Shark restaurant when we can get them up!)