Tuesday, July 2, 2013

South African Trip: Shakaland

the group
Once upon a time, a little lady traveled to a land far far away
Where the sun was harsher and way hotter in that part of the world.
Vast lands stretch on and on to the horizons. 
The animals run free and wild.
In that land, she saw some people that are fair. 
Some with the same shade as her, though they are few and rare.
Many possess a darker, richer skin color.
All living together as one nation
The little lady felt out of place in such a strange country.
She didn't belong. She stood out like a sore thumb.
But through these friends, she gained a unique insight of some of this nation's proud culture and tradition.

South Africa is comprised of many ethnic groups. The largest African ethnic group is the Zulus, the majority of which live in the Kwazulu-Natal region. 

Welcome to SHAKALAND

Shakaland is a Zulu cultural village and museum that gives you a glimpse of the Zulu life, social structure, culture and ceremonies. It is a two-hour drive from Durban, South Africa near the town Eshowe.

Our guide

The Zulu people live in a group of huts formed and enclosed in a circle like a small homestead. There are two concentric circles, the huts are located inside the outer circle and the pen in the inner circle with a smaller enclosure for the cattle.

In the middle is the Kraal, the cattle pen.

Peace, man!
Heading inside the Zulu village

beehive-shaped Zulu hut made from grass mats. Peace!
 The floor of the huts is made of clay and cow dung - yummy!

The empty cattle pen/Kraal in the middle

I ought to join the bandwagon for throwback thursdays for this old photo. Way back then, before I met Mr. C550 and started a relationship with him, I was less camera shy than I am now. These days whenever I eat out or travel, I like to hide behind the camera. No, I didn't turn into a fat hippo... Yet. lol. Mr. C550 and I are still going strong. My dutch hubby understands and so he is not jealous. But he complains I should study more and spend less time blogging. Maybe he is right but this blog IS my future investment!

weaving a mat

How the Zulu people make home brewed beer from a mixture of sorghum, water, maize meal and yeast that's rich in B vitamins.

Got milk? Think again. 
This is traditional African BEER. 

Oh no, she's offering it to me. She doesn't know that I don't even drink normal beer. But I didn't want to be rude so I take a small hesitant sip. This beer is a bit thick and creamy with a distinct sour aroma. Sounds yummy to you?

trying my luck to balance a clay pot on my head (and concentrating real hard not to drop it - "don't drop it..don't drop it..don't drop it"). I tell you, this takes a lot of skill and practice unless you have a head shaped like the Table Mountain in Cape Town. This is how the Zulu women carry pots with water, way bigger and heavier than this.

I have no idea what these two are doing.

Not hat annoying peace sign again. I got this habit during my short stay in Japan several years ago. 
I am not sure if this man is supposed to be the chief or just one of the Zulu warriors.

There are two types of traditional healers in the Zulu culture: the Sangomas and the Inyangas (the herbalists). Sangomas are born with gifts of vision and divination or fortune telling while Inyangas are trained to become healers through apprenticeship.

colorful Zulu bead accessories for sale

C & P checking out the view 

Lunch was served at this nice African theme restaurant.

Traditional South African food in Potjies (cast iron three-legged pots)

After that great lunch, the whole tour was concluded with a very energetic Zulu tribal dance performance. Here waiting for the dance to start. 

Off to the road again to visit another interesting attraction after Shakaland.

We passed by this monkey along with his entourage walking on the side of the road on the way to the Drakensberg Mountains.I told you the animals run wild and free in this part of the world!

Drakensberg "aka Dragon Mountains" is the highest mountain range in South Africa, rising to more than 11,400 feet. Rock and cave art that are thousands of years old have been found within the range. Unfortunately it also required more walking and time to see them so we just enjoyed the view of the mountains before heading home.

Drakensberg Park was listed in 2000 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 

C & K's jump shot at Drakensberg
Shakaland was overall a very special experience that was one of the highlights of my trip to South Africa in 2008. 

More to come from this trip soon! :)