Durban is a big, bustling modern city. First and foremost it is a sea, rail and road port, handling astonishing amounts of traffic, with a monster container terminal, bulk loading facilities and a car export/import terminal.
|The ship traffic is continuous – 24 hours a day|
|Just part of the huge container terminal.|
|But what was this??? We think maybe it was some new cranes being delivered.|
Durban is also a very popular summer holiday destination, with long white sand beaches, promenades, restaurants and swimming pools. The locals are also into sand sculpturing!
|Could be any Sydney beach, but for the skin colour. The surf is often large and dangerous.|
|A busy promenade connects all the city beaches, which have a wide |
array of restaurants and safe, free pools for the kids
|the locals are in to sand sculpture!|
The city has some fine examples of colonial architecture. A real gem is the richly ornate Victorian era town hall, which I was very pleased to see undergoing extensive renovation.
|The town hall – its interior is somewhat disappointing.|
|But the richly decorous exterior is a ripper!|
There are a number of visitor attractions, including a small but very fine maritime museum, a natural history museum with a beautifully presented bird collection, and the kids’ favorite, a theme park called Ushaka Marine World.
Ushaka is a combination attraction with performing seal, dolphin and penguin shows, a marine aquarium and an aquatic fun park. I didn’t much care for the seal or the dolphin shows – they included lots of loud music and, in the case of the dolphins, a thoroughly romanticized misrepresentation of these ‘pack wolves of the sea’. However their speed, agility and intelligence makes for an exuberant spectacle.
|Our kids in rapt attention at the seal show|
|Their speed, agility and intelligence makes them stunning animals to observe despite the them doing it to blaring disco music.|
|They had some monster sharks!|
Apart from the obligatory sharks and rays the aquarium had some very impressive exhibits including live corals from a wide range of habitats, some exotic crustaceans and a range of exquisitely presented jellyfish.
|Of course the kids favourite was the aquatic fun park, including the slide on the far left which is advertised as 6-storeys high and taking 2 seconds to descend – both Zeke and I did it!|
On the dark side, Durban has large populations of the homeless, destitute, drug addicted and AIDs infected and is reckoned to be a thoroughly dangerous, violent city. It is said murder can be committed just to steal 10 rands (one dollar) while a mobile phone is gold. Judging from the attention to security paid by those with assets worth stealing, this perception can’t be too wrong. However we have found it a most interesting place to visit and never felt threatened – thank goodness.
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