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I pulled up to the private driveway and waved at my new neighbor, Gary.
Despite having just arrived in Durban for the first time, I felt like a local. And that’s exactly what Wimdu aims to do. Wimdu is a vacation property booking site, listing 50,000 private accommodations and bed and breakfasts across the globe. You enter your destination and dates and a list of available properties and their amenities shows up. You can also search by location on the map, so if you know you want to be close to the beach you can click on properties that fit this criteria.
I choose a 120 year old Victorian townhouse in a leafy garden. That description alone was impressive, but the clincher was “We have a Victorian townhouse situated in a well treed garden visited by monkeys.” Yes, it was the monkeys that did it for me. Upon entering the house, our host had left us a detailed list of instructions and tips. Unsurprisingly, my favorite tips were those involving monkeys, like “Don’t leave fruit visible in front of a window, or the monkeys will try and get in.” And my personal favorite – how to get monkeys out of the house. Apparently shaking a broom and yelling at them should do the trick. Fortunately for our host, but unfortunately for me, I didn’t have the chance to test the broom shaking technique. But there was a cat who curled up at my feet as I tapped away on my computer.
Our host also included a list of restaurant recommendations including the best curry place in the neighbourhood, and the best coffee and breakfast places in town. It’s these personal touches, left by many of the owners who list their properties on Wimdu, that make you feel like you are living like a local.
Our Victorian townhouse was exactly as described on Wimdu and it was HUGE – 300 sq m and all for $87 USD/night! It would be impossible to find a hotel room that size, let alone for that price in an upscale neighborhood. Of course, being 120 years old, it had a few of the quirks that older buildings do, including older appliances and bathroom fixtures, but I didn’t mind. It really gave me the feeling that I was living in someone’s house (which I was) and not a generic hotel, where every room was “perfect” but void of personality.
The Wimdu service team inspects every placed listed on the site to ensure quality accommodations. In addition, you can read the reviews from other guests who have stayed there to help you choose a property.
Every property will vary in term of what it offers – that’s the beauty of it. If you want something new and modern, you can search for that, if rustic or shabby chic is more your style, you can also choose that. Heck even monkey visitors are an option for some properties! It doesn’t get more unique than that!
And that’s how you live like a local in Durban… or anywhere else you might be going for that matter!
A special thank you to Wimdu for helping me live like a local in Durban. Now if only you could make sure the monkeys show up next time.