brand + self // connection + curiosity

Durban, South Africa

By now you’ve hopefully heard the story of two wedding photographers in South Africa! The film photos are back from the lab, so I thought I’d share a few posts before the wedding itself.

Alicia Swedenborg and I spent about 14 1/2 hours over the Atlantic Ocean before landing in Johannesburg, quickly hopping another plane to the city of Durban. We rested our weary heads (for another 12 hours, oops!), and enjoyed walking along the coastline as local vendors and bars prepped for the busy summer season – only one week away, to kick off with a big concert!

The city has an excellent reputation, but I was a bit jolted by the whole way I had suddenly found myself in Africa, no mental preparation, and found warnings at every turn about areas that are “safe” or not. Mostly not. I’ve never lived in a place where I shouldn’t drive after dark, shouldn’t walk more than one block for dinner at night, shouldn’t visit the Indian market because an Indian man himself says “no way”. On that first day, I wasn’t quite sure what we were in for, but after a week among the South Africans now, I know I want to go back and give Durban a deeper chance.

Not too far outside the city, the landscape and character quickly changed. Alicia and I took the backroads as much as we had the time and comfort for, and we happened upon this little gem called Hillbilly’s for lunch! Sitting on this hillside, spotting our first monkey, savoring the incredible flavors of South Africa… this is where the country started to take shape for me. Like a big inhale.

Hillbilly’s was started by an African woman who suddenly found herself widowed. Without much money for decor, she embraced the pottery, gardens and materials she already had laying around. It was a kind of terrace you could spend hours on. Such a beautiful story.

Stay tuned for more as we drove our little rental car – on the other side of the road – a few more hours up to the Natal Midlands area and Drakensberg mountains for Candice & Justin’s South Africa wedding!

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brand + self // connection + curiosity