A Flying Visit to Durban

16th March,2009

Julie on the spur of the moment asked her brother-in-law, who happened to have a free day, if he would drive us all to Durban in her car. He very good naturedly agreed. I was absolutely delighted by the idea as I had begun to feel that I wouldn’t get a chance to visit Durban before I left.

Our fist stop was “uShaka Marine World”. Described as “a massive new investment in improving the southern beach front area. Filling a previously run-down 16 hectar site in the Point, the showcase R700million theme-park opened on 30th April,2004. Divided into several areas (Sea World, Wet n’ Wild World and uShaka Beach), the park boasts one of the world’s largest aquariums, the biggest collection of sharks in the southern hemisphere, a seal stadium, Africa’s largest dolphinarium, marine animals and exhibits, a mock-up 1940’s steamer wreck, a shopping centre, fresh water rides and a beach featuring activities from surfing lessons to kayaking.”

It was very quiet as it was a week day. We simply walked through the architecturally interesting main walkway to the beach. There were free pushchairs for infants and wheelchairs for the disabled and there were ramps everywhere. A plethora of high quality shops and resurants lined the Promenade.

We walked down to the beach though we stayed on the walkways. Due to the prolonged, heavy rain the sea was very brown looking. There were a few hardy sould swimming and surfing. We could see ships coming into the harbour and a number waiting their turn out at sea. Durban’s harbour is the busiest in Southern Africa and the ninth busiest in the world.

There were a number of sculptors who had created some rather good sand sculptures. I wonder what they will produce for the World Cup in 2010?

As we walked back to the car I looked into numerous shops for presents and found some nice things.

We then drove to the area where there were large numbers of sleek motor boats both private and for charter. Here it was possible to take trips around the harbour and go shark watching.

We went to the Promenade so I could have my photograph taken in a rickshaw by a rickshaw puller in full Zulu regalia. “In 1904 there were about 2000 registered rickshaw pullers, and it was an important means of transport.”

After this we headed back to Pietermaritzberg just avoiding the rush hour.

I spent the night with Julie sleeping in her granddaughters four-poster bed decorated with fairies and butterflies.

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