Arriving in Durban, South Africa
It was a short hop along the coast in South Africa from seeing the wild animals in Richards Bay. Our original plan was to do a cage shark dive in Durban. But our research confirmed that this was not the season to see “real” sharks. With no tour plans, we would be lazy and enjoy the beach in Durban. Nearing the end of our very long 51 day cruise adventure, we did not want yet one more bus tour!
As we approached, we could see that this was a big cosmopolitan city on the sea. The long sand beach stretched out along the waterfront.
We were docked at the passenger cruise terminal located in the middle of a very busy harbour. It was a massive port with large container ships being loaded. We knew we would see lots of ROROs (“Roll On Roll Off” car carriers) when we saw the extensive field of new cars and a RORO garage.
Once the ship was cleared and tour guests had left, we were free to head into town on the shuttle bus.
Entering The uShaka Marine World
The shuttle bus dropped us off at the uShaka Marine World. Located right on the seafront, we could enjoy the beach in Durban from there. It was not hard to know you were in a marine attraction. The first thing that people did was put their heads inside the giant shark teeth.
We arrived just as the local dancers had started their show. People stopped to watch. The dancers were joined by a marching band. We followed the band through the long walkway into the aquarium grounds. Several times they stopped to put on another show.
It was late December and Christmas was quickly approaching. It was interesting to see the Christmas displays everywhere. Without snow, for us it felt odd to see signs of Christmas and palm trees. We had seen our first signs of Christmas in the Seychelles and then again in Madagascar. But Christmas in Cape Town would be a very different holiday for us.
We Would Enjoy the Beach in Durban
Bypassing the many stores, we finally hit the waterfront. We could hear the pounding waves and knew we would enjoy the beach in Durban. Cresting the berm we saw the whitecaps on the water and understood why this was flagged as a surfing beach. It reminded us very much of the surfing beaches we had seen in Australia!
It was a Sunday and the locals were out to enjoy the beach in Durban. Kids played in the surf and people windsurfed. This beach had a shark net to protect swimmers. We were not sure how safe the silly people who insisted on diving into the waves really were. They ignored the red flag on the beach. There was a strong wind on the beach and we saw all kinds of wind protection including full closed tents.
We wandered out to the pier to enjoy the view and feel the breeze in our hair.
Wandering On the Boardwalk
The kids on the beach built their sand castles. But the enterprising young men built sand art. The displays were creative but not without their political messages. And not without a donation cup!
The seaside boardwalk stretched for miles. People walked, buzzed by on Segways or rented carts to pedal.
We saw the colourful rickshaws and got pulled in for a ride. Quoted one price for a ride, the bill would be 4 times as much after the very short ride. Be very careful to confirm the length of the trip and the full cost before you get on one of the colourful rickshaws. Not the way to enjoy the beach in Durban!
Dining With Sharks
It was a very hot day to enjoy the beach in Durban. When we were ready for a break, we stopped for lunch. The aquarium was housed entirely within an old ship.
The Cargo Hold had a large window into the part of the aquarium where the sharks are housed. They glided by continuously through our lunch. We were not sure who was watching who!
It was a great lunch with an interesting view. David of course needed to try local specialties. While he didn’t really like the beer, he enjoyed his ostrich carpaccio. We found prices in South Africa to be very reasonable. Lunch with appetizers and an alcoholic drink was under $40 for two people!
Fun At uShaka Marine World
We debated actually going into the aquarium but decided to leave this for another visit. It looked like a great family spot to enjoy the day. The waterpark was full on this hot day.
We walked around outside and saw the variety of things you could do. If you were lazy you could float in the lazy river. The more adventurous could tackle the very high ropes. We watched for a bit as people with harnesses made their way along narrow beams suspended more than 20’ above the ground.
Others were in the water to snorkel and be trained for a scuba dive with the sharks!
A Quick View of Durban
It has been a very quick look at Durban. We saw lots of signs for water activities as we drove through Durban. When we came back to visit South Africa on a longer visit, we would explore Durban some more.
After our lazy day in the sun, we got excited for our next stop in South Africa. We were in Cape Town for Christmas. 10 days to explore Cape Town gave us time to really enjoy the city and the surrounding countryside.
Did you enjoy the beach in Durban? What things should be on an agenda for Durban?