"We're going to visit that African Palace place on Monday with Lynn," she tells me, in between bites of dinner.
"Eh?" I muster, after spearing a potato.
"Some place in Kloof that Lynn says is worth a visit on the holiday."
"Never heard of a palace in Kloof. Are you sure she said Kloof?"
This is the usual mode of communication that transpires between my wife and I these days. Comes with over 30 years of marriage, I guess.
So on Easter Monday we followed the usually dubious Google maps directions to a property on the edge of the Kloof gorge in Durban, not too far from where we live. On arrival I found myself spinning wheels across a mossy, steep driveway after announcing through an intercom to an inquiring voice on the other side that we were coming to check out the palace. Not quite the way to introduce yourself. A click and automated gate whir later and we emerged at the top of the driveway, to be met with the first eye popping art installation of our visit in the form of a 6 or 8 metre tall steel dragon emerging from the bushes.
The entrance to this palace, which is actually a boutique hotel, is flanked by enormous pillars, clad in random tile mosaic, objects d'art adorning practically every inch.
Once inside it's a battery of the visual sense. Your eyes can't take it all in. Everywhere you look you are seeing something that was put there on purpose. None of it matches, but you are in the eclectic of all eclectics here and somehow it works as a whole.
On one of the walls there is this massive carving that has to be at least 10 metres long. When you get closer to it you are drawn into this magnificent collage of carved animals and jungle that I was absolutely amazed at. How long did this piece take to make? How did they transport it? What is it worth?
It's not a massive building, but it is certainly interesting enough to visit. If you are ever in the Durban area why not book yourself in for a night or two at the Ammazulu African Palace? The chocolate cake we had with our coffee was worth the visit alone.
All images taken with the Fujifilm X100.
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