Gift Experiences Durban 6

At Founder Foods we believe in the beauty of simplicity. Reconnecting with our health, family, community and environment has far reaching benefits, whether it be with our food, our daily lives or our annual holidays and traditions.

When it comes to the tradition of gift-giving it isn't always the joyous tradition it should be. Many of us spend weeks or months agonizing over the best possible gift to get our kids, partners or friends. A decision that usually sends us to the shopping centre or our laptops seeking someTHING to buy. But science shows over and over again that experiences bring more joy than things.

The Science Of Gift Giving

cute baby playing with toys

Should we be downscaling the toys?

Studies have found that children thrive on fewer toys and more toys can actually make them less happy.

Childhood development researcher, Clair Lerner, suggests that when kids are given an abundance of toys and games, they play less. Too many toys can be distracting, leading them to lose the concentration needed to learn from those toys.

Michael Malone, a professor of Early Childhood Education showed similar results in his research: that fewer and better toys lead to increased sharing and cooperation, both valuable life skills. It's time we looked more into gift ideas for children that aren't toys.

But what about adults?

Over the past decade, an abundance of psychology research has shown that experiences bring people more happiness than possessions. Cornell University psychology professor Dr. Thomas Gilovich conducted a 20-year study that analysed how product purchases versus experience purchases make us feel. The research indicated that purchasing trips, lessons, tours, courses or activities as simple as cooking something new together leads to greater happiness than a tangible possession. What’s more, the feeling of bliss associated with adventures and new experiences lasts longer, too.

Dr Gilovich explains, “One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation. We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.” Ultimately we get bored of new things at an increasing rate, whereas experiential gifts give us memories to last a lifetime.

Gift Experiences: The Alternative Gift List

At the base of every gift request, wish list or letter to Santa there is a desire for an experience. Even when that wish list consists of only an item, what we all really want is the experience we think that item will give us. As Estelle Van Gelder, minimalist, simple living advocate and motivational speaker says,  the perfect gift is one that makes someone feel like you listened and they were heard. Estelle has 6 simple rules of gift-giving:

  1. Know in advance who you are wanting to give a gift.
  2. Listen to what they say and the hints they drop.
  3. Look for ways to reminisce and remember special moments with them.
  4. Focus on the small details
  5. Add your flare or your Interpretation!
  6. Look for things that support local and encourage a sense of community.

The joy is in the thought and care that goes into making the receiver feel heard and validated.

Present for a birthday, valentine's day or other holiday. Holiday Sale. Isolated on white background

Finding Inspiration And Ideas For Perfect Gift Experiences

Experience gift ideas are often area and person-specific. There are a ton of free options that are limited only by the extent of your creativity. When it comes to purchased experiences these are often offered by individuals and businesses in your local area. Not only do these experiences make great gifts but they are the perfect opportunity for you to create a sense of community and facilitate growth for exceptional small businesses.

To help you with your gift-giving ideas we have put together a list of our top gift experiences in Durban and Upper Highway - all available from individuals and exceptional small business!

Durban's Alternative Gift List 2019/2020

Gifts That Create More Memories And Less Stuff.

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Muddy Paws Farm is run by the wonderful Charmaine Holloway and has a multitude of activities for all ages.

They run art classes for kids, various workshops: soap making, herb growing and craft classes for adults, and a range of 2, 3 and 4 day Christmas Craft Camps available for the kids.

Charmaine is a qualified and very experienced music teacher and offers classes to kids in piano and music theory.

The little shop adjacent to the studio is stocked with homegrown dried and fresh lavender, herbal sachets, jams, jellies, vinegars, teas, soaps, pre-loved books, the odd antique or vintage item, and gift items, whilst a little walk down the garden path will lead to the herb & plant nursery where gardeners may delight in the choice of bagged herb plants on offer.

The farm is also home to Eeyore and Squeak (the resident donkeys) , Hansie (the goat) , two geese and a myriad of chicken folk as well as our great danes, cats, and a XChowWestie.

Muddy Paws are based in Crestholme/Waterfall area. Have a look at their website or contact Charmaine on 0839420720 for more info.

The Curry Queen is run by the wonderful Shae. A teacher by day, Shae's passion lies with curry making of all kinds and descriptions. She hosts classes of between 2 and 12 people and can tailor the curry to your specific requirements. A great authentic Durban experience.

Contact The Curry Queen via their facebook page or call Shae on 083 721 1851 to book your curry making class or get more info.

The Curry Queen
Fabrique Interiors

Fabrique Interiors is run by the knowledgeable and vibrant interior designer: Carmen Robertse. In addition to full interior design work Fabrique Interiors also does comprehensive Interior Design Courses that are jam-packed with design theory and practical tips, advice and design experiences that leave those that attend the course not only knowledgeable but inspired and armed with all the know-how of how to achieve the look they want with the resources available in Durban.

This course covers: History of Decorating, Principles of Design, Furniture Layouts, Understanding Colour, Fabrics & Texture, Window & Floor Treatments, Accessories, and Outdoor Spaces. It includes 2 classes a month and guided outings into the field.

With the knowledge & confidence gained from this course, revamping and decorating your home will become a fun and rewarding project. If you have a loved one that has a particular interest in interior design this is absolutely a great gift idea!

Fabrique Interiors are based in Westville. Contact Fabrique Interiors via their website or facebook page for more info.

The Choco Factory is based in Gillitts and run by the ever so talented Chocolatier, Abby. They do customised chocolates for events, functions and corporate gifts as well as supply chocolate fountains. BUT they also do the most incredible chocolate and truffle making courses and classes. Abby just so happens to have a truffle-making class coming up in January - perfect for a decadent gift experience. All their chocolate products and creations are made with Belgian chocolate.

You can contact them via their facebook page or email Abby directly for more info or to book your spot.

Choco Factory
School Of Garden Design

When it comes to gardening and landscaping courses there is no one quite like Lindsay Gray at the School of Garden Design in Hillcrest. In addition to offering full landscaping services, Lindsay also does courses that range from complete landscaping to short recreational gardening courses. Her short courses include:

  • Growing your own vegetables (Summer course and winter course available)
  • Garden maintenance including the basics of pruning, compost creation and plant care
  • Simple garden design and planning
  • Plant identification and planting
  • Garden maintenance for domestic garden workers

If you have an avid gardener in the family then Lindsay's courses are worth looking into! You can contact Lindsay via their website, or on email:

Founder Foods is a dedicated whole foods store based in Kloof, run by Food Ingredients Specialist, Roxanne McLean. They offer a wide range of foods with as little processing and preservatives as possible, and as direct from the producers as they can. The range includes everything from pure honey on tap and premium cream farm milk, to the biggest range of beans and pulses in Durban, as well as the pure spices and fresh produce between.  Everything is on a pay by weight system so it is the perfect place to go if you want to test out a new recipe, experiment with unusual ingredients or ask questions about the various products. Take the kids and let them pick and choose what they want to cook, bake or snack on - let them scoop and weigh their own ingredients and watch their eyes sparkle!


Founder Foods also offer a range of whole food cooking classes and talks on nutrition. Culinary experts Dawn Beeslaar and Diego Baldi offer a range of incredible classes in house. Upcoming classes include: Whole Food Christmas Treats (12 Dec), An Introduction To Cleaner Eating (7 Feb). Cooking with herbs and spices for optimal nutrition (31 Jan) and Wholefood Cooking For Couples (21 Feb). If you have someone in your circle that enjoys cooking, or is interested in learning to cook and eat healthier then these classes are a fun and interactive gem of a gift!

Visit Founder Foods at shop 6, 2 Village Road, Kloof to explore their store, or see their events page for more details on their upcoming events or to book your ticket.

Dandyline (1)

Estelle, from Dandyline Professional Organisers is our local minimalist and simple living advocate. Across Durban there is no one that can revamp spaces quite like her!

Wanting to transform a room or give your space a bit of a facelift? Estelle from Dandyline has the most incredible talent for taking what you already own and transforming your space into something out of a magazine!

Need help decluttering? Estelle is the person to help you along that journey with unwavering grace, empathy and an uncanny ability to get the job done while making you feel completely at ease! Perfect if you are looking to make a change in your life, needing to downsize, want a fresh start or desperately needing to clear out space but feel overwhelmed.

Want to get the best price for your home but not sure what needs to be done to make it look great? Estelle specialises in home staging and can increase the value of your home instantly with a few simple tricks.

Any of these services make an incredible gift to lighten someones load and give them a new lease on life! Contact Estelle via the Dandyline website for more info or to book her services.


Tammy Pienaar is the brainchild behind Baker Baker Box - fully kitted baking kits, complete with prepacked ingredients, the recipe and any baking accessories needed to make a variety of delicious treats for fun, for special occasions or for school Baker Baker. For Christmas they have Night Before Christmas boxes to make cookies for Santa and decorate a Christmas tree biscuit stack.

Order your Baker Baker box for the holidays via their facebook page or email Tammy directly:


There is nothing that can change your view of yourself and your confidence quite like a makeover! Daniyel Berry, the owner of Style Me Image Consulting, helps others to land their next big deal by dressing for success. Daniyel's experience in the Fashion Industry spans twenty years, but her interest lies in using her experience to help people build their confidence, believe in themselves and their capabilities. "Working on self-image changes the way people see themselves and ultimately how other people see them. It literally changes their lives!" She offers everything from colour analysis, figure analysis, makeup lessons, hairstyling, wardrobe detoxes and full head to toe, completely life-changing, makeovers!

Any of these services make an incredible gift. But don't take our word for it - have a look at the video of one local woman's transformation!

You can contact Daniyel from Style Me via their website for more info or to book her services.

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An entirely family-owned and operated coffee farming and manufacturing company, situated in the Harrison Valley, halfway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Guided by Rick the farmer for over 25 years, the tour is comprehensive covering all aspects of coffee farming; from the trees growing in the fields, to the various stages of processing & machinery involved, ending with a coffee tasting at our Coffee House. After the tour visitors are welcome to relax on the deck overlooking picturesque farm scenery & enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee & slice of homemade cake, or browse our shop selling coffee & other coffee products, all Handmade in KZN. 


Cost: R95 per person, includes a Coffee Tasting.

Tel / WhatsApp: 084 432 6345 Email:  or browse their website.

11. Prepacked Stimulating Activity Boxes For Kids By Conscious Keepers

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Parents and caregivers often have limited time and the Conscious Keepers guide aims to assist you in using everyday items (where possible) and the environment you find yourselves in to enable you to make the most of your time together! Perfect for the holidays when you, a grandparent or nanny need a few accessible activities up your sleeve!

Season to Celebrate and Beach Guide

  • Each guide contains 7 suggested and prepacked activities for the summer holiday season
  • Age group: 3 – 5 years
  • R350 per guide

To order or obtain more information contact or by mobile 084 522 8108 by 10 December. Allow 5 days for your order to be ready for collection/delivery. You can also follow us on Instagram: @consciouskeepers

Sing Out
Shelley Headshot

Shelley Mc Lean

Contact Shelley at or via her facebook page

Ising Durbans ALternative Christmas List

The wonderfully talented vocalist and professional musician, Shelley McLean, offers fun and valuable group singing lessons for adults and teens in the Durban North area.

If you love singing, harmony and the occasional stint on stage as your goal to work towards, then SING OUT is the class for you. Ideal for adults who love to sing, but haven’t had an opportunity to explore it since school or varsity days.

If you have teenagers who want to explore or enhance their singing and vocal abilities then iSing is a fun, group singing class in which they will be able to explore singing, harmonizing and prepping for performance.

Classes will be held weekly in Durban North area, and will commence in January 2020. A perfect gift idea for someone who wants to explore their vocal ability!

The Art ShackLogo
Art Shack 2
Art Shack 3

The Art Shack is based in waterfall and is run by the energetic and talented Sharon Fourie. Sharon does art classes for teenagers and adults. They are a ton of fun!

  • Learn to paint in oils and acrylics in a few easy steps.
  • Fun workshops on throwing, pouring, puddling, mixed media etc.

Classes are Monday evening 5pm-8pm, Wednesday evening 5.30-8.30pm, Friday mornings 9.00am-12.00am, Saturday afternoons, 2pm-5pm.  R120 for a 3hr lesson


To book call Sharon on 076 833 7897 or contact her via their facebook page.

Durban Boudoir Alernate Gift List

A boudoir photoshoot might seem a bit far out of your comfort zone but there is definite merit to the unique, confidence-boosting feeling this experience gives its participants!

Sandra Keddie, owner of Durban Boudoir photography, is a renowned local photographer who has the knack for making even the most anxious and unphotogenic people feel completely at ease. The testimonials from her clients speak volumes:

"The best confidence booster EVER and with such a talented photographer, I couldn't go wrong. Truly in love with my photos and myself!"

“This experience was amazing! Sandra and her team are so professional and make you feel so comfortable - the whole experience was so much fun! It really is a gift for yourself if not for anybody else!"

Whether you are looking for a fun "Calendar Girls" experience to mark a milestone birthday, a confidence booster or a unique experience to share with your partner, Durban Boudoir might be that "uniquely different" gift experience you will never forget!

Contact Sandra via her website to find out more.

15. Private Music Lessons With Leah Riddle

Music With Leah Alernate Gift List

When it comes to music lessons for piano, flute, clarinet, recorder or saxophone Leah Riddle comes HIGHLY recommended across all music circles in Durban.

Leah is based in Sunningdale/Umhlanga and offers lessons in the above-mentioned instruments as well as music theory to both adults and kids.

To book a session with Leah contact her directly via email: or via cell: 083 784 2950

Gift Experiences Durban 3

Durban gets a bad rep for lack of support for productions. Despite that, we have the most incredibly talented and dedicated producers in the area! Roland Stansell, owner of the Rhumblelow Theatre, is one such character.

The Rhumblelow operates from Cunningham Road in Umbilo and from Tina's Hotel in Kloof. They have a HUGE list of performances on the go all the time! Everything from kids shows, to music tributes to comedy shows showcasing local Durban artists! Shows like Globe Trotting Suze (for the kids), Barry Thompson and Friends and Aaron McIlroy are all set to perform over the festive season. All of them affordable, a ton of fun and worth going to. A pair of tickets make a perfect gift experience for a loved one!

Check out the long list of events on the Rhumbleow Facebook page to book your seat.

These experiences are just a taste of what Durban has to offer. Gift experiences give us a wonderful opportunity to build community, meet new people in our area and support local small businesses. Dig into your creativity and ask around in your area for more great local gift experience ideas!

Do you know of other great gift experiences offered by small businesses and individuals in and near Durban that you think should be featured in our next list? Pop us a mail at with your suggestions.

Needing More Gift Experience Ideas?

For the kids ...

  • Passes or tickets to: water parks, animal parks, museums, aquariums, sports events, live shows, theatre, movies, ice-skating arenas, ziplines, laser tag, paintball, mini golf, bowling or theme parks.
  • Activities: a morning of baking or cooking together, a hike, stroll or a picnic, dinner out, a special 'date day' with just you and them.
  • Classes or lessons: music, sports, dancing, art, horseriding ... there is always something your child would LOVE to learn or experiment with.

For the special adults in your life ...

  • Coffee dates, a spontaneous trip to the ice cream shop or decadent bakery, a hike, picnic, ice skating, movie tickets, take a class together, comedy shows or theatre tickets, hit the arcade for an evening, pick up some tickets to a concert they will like, or head to the driving range to blow off some steam together ... the list is limited only by your creativity.

No matter who you are buying for there is merit in opting for experiences instead of things. Ultimately gifts are intended to create happiness - it is our experiences and how they make us feel that evoke happiness above items and possession. Gift experiences are a great way to develop community, meet new people and support small local businesses - an all-round happiness win for everyone!