“I write of South Africa, where my heart sometimes resides, and my mind often drifts back to, across the distance of lands and oceans. An Africa that always beats with a strong heart of different people, languages and cultures, who irrefutably call this land their home.”
From – C- Cape Town, last week, we have travelled 1271 km to Durban.
From the first time that holidays began to mean something important to me, I was aware that the inland South African; Transvaalers and Free Staters, saw Durban as the place to go. Durbs guys called them Vaalies and ‘Sopie- Kopie’s.
Families and fishermen alike flocked in their thousands to walk the Golden Mile, burn to a crisp on the beaches, and visit the Indian Market and the Aquarium, maybe have a Rickshaw ride along the Esplanade, before they returned home refreshed for another year.
The Indian and colonial influences in this South African beach city can’t be missed. With the Indian population comes Bazaars, Mosques and Temples, beside which the Victorian architecture from the colonial era blend together to makes Durban unique in South Africa.
Durban in on the Eastern coast of South Africa where the Indian Ocean pounds the yellow sands. The port is famous for being the busiest in South Africa. QE2 entering Drban harbour below.
“The modern city of Durban dates from 1824, when a party of 25 men under British Lieutenant F. G. Farewell arrived from the Cape Colony and established a settlement on the northern shore of the Bay of Natal, near today’s Farewell Square. Accompanying Farewell was an adventurer named Henry Francis Fynn. Fynn was able to befriend the Zulu King Shaka by helping him to recover from a stab wound he suffered in battle. As a token of Shaka’s gratitude, he granted Fynn a “30-mile strip of coast a hundred miles in depth.”
Durban itself is much the same as it was in the 1970-1980, but after the new Rainbow Nation government took over in the 1990’s rural workers and farmers flocked to the city to have a piece of the excitement, being promised homes and jobs. Outside Durban shanty towns have sprung up which provide shelter and have become semi-permanent dwellings.
Now in 2012 there are new attractions like uShaka Waterworld, and Gateway shopping centre where visitors are entertained before they head home.
Gateway Theatre of Shopping has been described as both the largest shopping centre in Africa and the largest in the southern hemisphere. Amongst other things to do, there are:
18 movie theatres, 6 Nouveau Cinemas, a playhouse called the Barnyard Theatre, more than seventy restaurants, more than 350 stores, the Wave House, an arcade and theme park called Fantasy Forest, a skate park , the highest indoor climbing rock in the world, a gym, the highest fountain in Africa, tenpin bowling, clubs, dodgem cars, adventure golf, a science theme park and valet parking.
But the real draw to Durbs, is to feel the sand between your toes, the wind in your hair and dive in and out of the waves.
Visit the harbour and relax in a shore side restuarant and watch the boats going in and out.
It’s a surfers paradise too, but now this is sunset.