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SOUTH AFRICA (AFTER APARTHEID): VISIT KWAZULU-NATAL, THE ZULU KINGDOM
A Travelling Project by Laura (Y4, 2004-05)

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INTRODUCTION

Talking about South Africa is just talking about Apartheid and its consequences. Apartheid finished ten years ago with the first democratic elections. However, poverty, violence and racism are still there so many people have no jobs and no money. This means that you have to be careful when you visit this beautiful country-you mustn't visit certain areas for they can be very dangerous (city centres). In spite of this situation, it's a great time to visit and feel the atmosphere because even though South Africa has become a democratic country, there are still many social and economic differences between black and white people.

Pretoria is the official capital and Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban are the main cities. There are eleven official languages (Afrikaans, English and natives languages). Most of the people are black (77%) and there are a minority of white people (Afrikaner and British).

FACTS FOR THE TRAVELLER

Documents: If you are Spanish, you just need your passport. It has to expire at least six months after your arrival.
Health risks: Malaria is the main health risk you may run when you visit South Africa. Take tablets to prevent the disease before you go. Avoid mosquito bites and use mosquito repellents all the time. If you feel any symptom (fever, sweating, headache, diarrhea .) seek medical help immediately.

WHEN TO GO

The best time to visit South Africa is at the beginning of the summer (January), as the temperatures are not extremely hot and you can visit the mountains without the uncomfortable rains. However, spring and autumn are also good.

MONEY & PRICES

Currency: Rand (R100 ~ €15). You can have nice meals for R50 per person and you can sleep in a nice Bed & Breakfast which will only cost you R200 per person per night (average). South Africa also has comfortable campsites along beautiful beaches or close to National Parks where you can camp for just R70. As you can see, it's not an expensive country. The plane ticket is the highest cost you will have to pay. A return ticket from Madrid to Johannesburg cost around €700. I would recommend you to book the tickets about six months in advance.

 



TRANSPORT

Public transport has not very good conditions and it's not safe at all so the best thing you can do is just rent a car when you arrive. (You have plenty companies at the airport .) The price varies from company to company, but it can be €200 for 10 days. Don't take minibus-taxis as they are dangerous-you can be mugged easily.

BEWARE

• Don't visit the city centres at night or even on foot during the day
• If you visit these areas by car, lock the doors and close the windows even if it's hot!
• Don't go to the beach at night
• If you are driving on a road, stop only at rest areas.

THE TRIP

We are going to visit different places in Kwazulu Natal, The Zulu Kingdom, so once we arrive at Johannesburg airport we will catch another flight to Durban. This city is going to be our "Base Camp." To buy the tickets from Johannesburg to Durban visit www.kulula.com where you can find very cheap flights (€35 a return ticket)

Durban

It's the capital city of Kwazulu natal, one of the counties in South Africa. Basically, Durban is going to be our Base Camp as we will get back there after we have visited a place and we will take our next destination from there. urban has amazing and beautiful beaches where you can have a rest and relax.You can surf as well, but you have to be careful as the Indic Ocean is a bit brave and the waves will spin you very easily. Take note of this link: www.splashinn.co.za. It provides you information about a nice B&B managed by a very kind South African family. I recommend you this place for they can give you any type of information about the places we will visit later on. They can even pick you up at the airport when you arrive.

Drakensberg Mountains

Located at two hours away from Durban. Drakensberg Mountains is a hikers paradise where you can choose a wide variety of routes. There is a tourist information office where you can get maps of different trails. Don't hesitate to explore some of them. They are well marked and you will enjoy swimming in the clear rock pools along the trail or looking at the beautiful waterfalls. You have plenty holidays resources where you can stay, but if you really want to enjoy the beautiful environment, you must go to Dragon Peak Campsite (www.drakensberg-tourism.com/dragon-peaks) which offersvaried accommodation from B & B, Caravan, Camping. On the way back to Durban, you must visit any of the South African handicrafts shops where you can buy tons of things at a very cheap price. You find them along the road.

Drakensberg Mountains

Hluhluwe Park:

If you want to see the Big Five--elephants, giraffes, buffalos, rhinos and leopards--, this is the place!!! Located at two hours an a half away from Durban, you can enjoy yourself very much in a wildlife safari around the Hluhluwe Park. A very kind black man will drive you around the park where you can see the big five just next to you. This wildlife experience will only cost you about €40.The trip starts at Hluhluwe Hotel and it lasts about two hours. (www.africasafari.co.za/hluhluweparkm.htm) To carry on with this experience, I recommend you to stay in FALSE BAY PARK CAMPSITE, which offers you accommodation in a rustic hut or in a tent. It is called a campsite but it's just an open area in the middle of a forest next to St Lucia Lake. Try this and don't be scared if the first thing you see when you arrive is a sign telling you: DANGER , CROCODILES!!! (www.kznwildlife.com/falsebay_dest.htm)

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St Lucia:

Small village located in St Lucia park which offers visitors some of the most diverse wildlife in an environment of lakes, islands, estuaries, golden beaches and beautiful coral reefs. You can also enjoy having a trip on a boat where you can see the big hippos relaxing in the water or fighting with the crocodiles!!! Don't miss this opportunity if you visit St Lucia (www.kznwildlife.com and http://zululand.kzn.org.za/zululand). There is a resort called Cape Vidal next to St Lucia where you can stay to end your holidays because this resort is surrounded by a clear blue ocean and coastal forests where you can just relax and have a swim in crystal-clear water. (www.places.co.za)

Zululand:

Finally, our last destination will be Zululand, a Zulu Tourist Village where you can enjoy the typical Zulu singing and dancing, and also learn about some Zulu traditions. It's located on the way back to Durban. (There are signs along the motorway showing you how to get there)

HAVE A NICE TRIP!!!