kwazulu natal safety (kokstad)

Feb 28th, 2004, 09:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2
kwazulu natal safety (kokstad)

Author: kikee
Date: 02/29/2004, 12:35 am

Message: I am an American adult female considering traveling alone to Durban, and then on to Kokstad, for my brother's funeral service. I do not know anyone in South Africa. Please share your thoughts concerning the advisability of this trip.

kikee is offline  
Feb 28th, 2004, 09:54 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hello Kikee,

My condolences on your loss of your brother. I'm sorry to hear about your bereavement.

Flying to Durban would be okay. Most likely you would have to fly to Johannesburg, change planes, and then fly to Durban. But that's fine. If you do that, make sure you have a good couple of hours between planes, because the customs and immigration formalities sometimes can be quite time consuming.

Arriving in Durban, and taking a taxi, shuttle or limousine to your hotel should be fine too. One of the nicer areas to stay is a coastal suburb called Umhlanga Rocks, which is at the northern end of Durban.

If I were you, I would not drive to Kokstad on my own, though. I think this would be too risky from a personal security point of view.

Do you have even the slightest contact with someone in Kokstad? For example, do you know the church in which your brother's funeral will be held (if it's being held in a church)?

If you were to contact someone at the church (priest or whoever), I'm sure he/she would be able to think of someone who was willing to drive to Durban to fetch you and take you to Kokstad. The same contact at the church probably would be able to recommend accommodation in Kokstad.

You would probably need to pay the person who drove you, both for his/her time and gasoline, but you probably would not find it all that expensive in American terms.

If for some strange reason you are not charged for the trip, and in the unlikely event that your driver refuses payment him/herself, I strongly recommend you make an equivalent donation to the church, local school or hospital.

I also believe that a local travel agent in Umhlanga Rocks or even your hotel's receptionist probably would be able to arrange a limousine to take you to Kokstad.

I have no idea how you usually dress but, if you tend to dress fashionably in the States, may I suggest that this is no time to be ostentatious. Don't wear expensive watches and jewellery, as you'll draw attention to yourself and increase the chances of being robbed.

In addition to that, the people whom you'll meet at your brother's funeral will be poorer than you are, I imagine. No doubt you'll want to wear something nice at the funeral, out of respect for your brother, but at the same time you won't want to make the other people uncomfortable. So I would recommend keeping your funeral outfit quite simple.

I have no idea where you live in the States, but if I could use a U.S. analogy, it would be something like this. Suppose you lived in NYC and you were going to visit Appalachia. The NYC look just wouldn't blend in in rural West Virginia.

Hope this has helped.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 29th, 2004, 05:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 149
I am an American female living in KZN. Unfortunately I do not know where Kokstad is, but if you could me an idea of what town it is near, I cold be more help. I have driven alone thru rural parts of the province and never felt there was a problem. I wouldn't stop, though, so be sure you have a good map. There ae also big brown maps on most of the roads. Get gas, of course, in a major town before venturing out. If you feel you do not want to drive yourself, most hotels or travel agents have contacts with independent drivers. I was driven in my tourist days off to the hinterland in a huge pick up with an Afrikaans driver I couldn't understand and an Englishman I could. The cost was about $60 to go for about 4 1/2 hours but that was a few years ago and the dollar has weakened.

I know this is a sad time but you shouldn't avoid coming out of safety fears.

Kim Email me if you need to ([email protected])
kimwhits is offline  
Feb 29th, 2004, 06:19 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hi Kim,

Kokstad is on the southern border of KZN, inland from Port Shepstone and Port Edward. Here's a map that shows its position:

I told Kikee that Umhlanga Rocks was a nice place to stay, but it's pretty much the only place in the Durban area on which I have current information. But Umhlanga is north of Durban, whereas Kokstad is south. So, if there was a suitable suburb or town just south of Durban where Kikee could go to freshen up and sleep after her flight and before proceeding to Kokstad, I think that would be more ideal. Kim, can you recommend a place on the South Coast, like Margate perhaps?

Theoretically Kikee could drive straight from Durban Airport to Kokstad. It wouldn't be that far for someone who was feeling fresh. However, I know that the flight from the U.S. to S.A. is long, and I'm sure she'll be feeling wiped out, so I rather suspect that a shower and a sleep will feel very welcome.

Kim, you say Kikee shouldn't stop if she drives herself through a rural area. Well, that's all very well, but what happens if her car breaks down or she gets lost (inspite of having a good map and inspite of the fact that South African roads generally are well sign posted)? I think at a minimum Kikee should have a cell phone. Here's a previous Fodors discussion thread about cell phones in S.A.:

Kikee, I do agree with Kim in that I think you should feel free to go ahead with this trip. It's just that I think it would be more ideal if you would plan the logistics of it carefully. Unfortunately, however, you probably are getting this trip together in a hurry, and you're probably feeling distressed at the same time, so those are not ideal conditions for you.

I think you'll find that the South Africans whom you meet one-on-one, and most especially those who realise you're there to attend a funeral, will be very sympathetic.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 1st, 2004, 08:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 149
Hmmm. Defintely a part of KZN I have never been to. When I have been on the horrible 19 hour flight I tend to jump right in a car and keep going. But she could overnight in Durban and drive to Kokstad in the morning. It looks like it would be about 3 hours from Durban but that is a pretty isolated place. Alternately she could get a driver to Margate and overnight, then be about 1 1/2 hours to Kokstad. The drive to Margate is easy and safe all the way. Can't say about the rest. And yes, all the airports have cell phone rental and call the emergency number and stay locked in your car.
kimwhits is offline  
Mar 4th, 2004, 06:20 AM
Posts: n/a
If you lease a cell phone at Durban airport, be 100% sure it works before you depart. Do not take their word for it!!! We've had problems with the company in the terminal - they gave us a phone that simply wasn't connected to the system, and we didn't realize it until we were 100 miles away. When we called them along the route, several times, they never could solve the problem.

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