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Durban and the South Coast, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa - a travelogue

Updated on April 22, 2017
MartieCoetser profile image

Martie Coetser is a freelance writer from South Africa. She has a keen interest in a variety of topics.

uShaka Beach, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
uShaka Beach, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source

From Klerksdorp to Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

South Africa
South Africa
From Klerksdorp to Durban, South Africa
From Klerksdorp to Durban, South Africa

Exploring KwaZulu-Natal

This is the third phase of our journey from Klerksdorp (in the North West Province of South Africa) to the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

The first phase was from Klerksdorp to Harrismith via the Northern and Eastern Free State - a beautiful tranquil region sustained by agriculture and mining. The history of towns established on the banks of rivers is embedded in the rich architecture of churches, town halls, government buildings, monuments and bridges.

During the second phase we crossed the magnificent Drakensberge - South Africa's own Switzerland - and traveled through the Midlands of Kwa-Zulu-Natal - a beautiful region dominated by hills, flowery valleys and hidden resorts.

And now we were ready to explore Durban - the third largest city in South Africa.

First Phase: Northern and Eastern Free State

Northern and Eastern Free State, South Africa
Northern and Eastern Free State, South Africa | Source

Second Phase: The Drakensberge and Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal

Olivierspas, Drakensberge, Kwazulu-Natal
Olivierspas, Drakensberge, Kwazulu-Natal | Source

Durban

Source

Durban

Durban is the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the third largest city in South Africa, the second most important manufacturing hub in the country, and the busiest port.

In March 2017, Durban was ranked for the third consecutive year as the city in South Africa with the highest quality of life. It was also awarded as the second best city in Africa following Port Louis in Mauritius. In May 2015, Durban was officially recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities in the world – an award given to cities that best represent the achievements and aspirations of global urban civilization.

According to the Köppen climate classification (Cfa), Durban and all the coastal towns of KZN have a humid subtropical climate. Summers are hot and humid with an average temperature of 24 °C (75 °F). Winters are warm and dry with an average temperature of 17 °C (63 °F). During summer (December to February) the sun rises at 4:45am and sets at 7pm. During winter (June to August) it rises at 6:30am and sets at 5:20pm. The rainy season is between November and mid-April.

Durban has a population of ± 3.5 million. First languages spoken are English (49.8%); Zulu (33.1%); Xhosa (5.9%); Afrikaans (3.6%); Others (7.6%).

Since 1685, European shipwreck survivors fended for themselves in the region of Durban. In 1824 twenty-five men under Lieutenant F. G. Farewell arrived from the Cape Colony to establish a European settlement that would become Durban. In this group was an adventurer named Henry Francis Fynn, who became friends with King Shaka of the Zulus after helping him recover from a stab wound he had suffered in battle. As a token of gratitude, Shaka granted Fynn a 50km (30 miles) strip of coast 160km (100 miles) in depth. On June 23rd 1835, during a meeting of thirty-five European residents in Fynn's territory, it was decided to build a town and name it "d'Urban" after Sir Benjamin d'Urban, then governor of the Cape Colony.

Buildings and Sceneries in Durban

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Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
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Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
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Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
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Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
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Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
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Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
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Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
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Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
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Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
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Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
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Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
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Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, South Africa
Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UShaka_Marine_World
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UShaka_Marine_World | Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UShaka_Marine_World
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UShaka_Marine_World | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Early morning net-fishing, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Early morning net-fishing, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Source
Durban Post Office, South Africa
Durban Post Office, South Africa | Source
Durban City Hall, South Africa
Durban City Hall, South Africa | Source

uShaka Marine World, Durban

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uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source
uShaka Marine World, Durban
uShaka Marine World, Durban | Source

Beach art in Durban

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Beach art, Durban, South Africa
Beach art, Durban, South Africa | Source
Beach art, Durban, South Africa
Beach art, Durban, South Africa | Source
Beach art, Durban, South Africa
Beach art, Durban, South Africa | Source
Beach art, Durban, South Africa
Beach art, Durban, South Africa | Source
Beach art, Durban, South Africa
Beach art, Durban, South Africa | Source
Beach art, Durban, South Africa
Beach art, Durban, South Africa | Source
Beach art, Durban, South Africa
Beach art, Durban, South Africa | Source

Rickshaw rides in Durban

A typical attraction in Durban, are the rickshaws - two-wheel passenger carts pulled by one man. It was originally invented in Japan about 1869. In 1904 there were about 2,000 registered rickshaw pullers in Durban. Their popularity had declined with the advent of automated forms of transportation.

Today there are only about twenty registered rickshaw-pullers in Durban with the sole purpose of entertaining holiday-makers. I couldn't resist a fun-ride in one of these carts.

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Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront, Durban, South Africa Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront, Durban, South Africa Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront, Durban, South Africa Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront, Durban, South Africa
Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront, Durban, South Africa
Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront, Durban, South Africa | Source
Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront, Durban, South Africa
Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront, Durban, South Africa | Source
Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront, Durban, South Africa
Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront, Durban, South Africa | Source
Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront, Durban, South Africa
Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront, Durban, South Africa | Source

Durban Harbour

The Port of Durban, commonly called Durban Harbour, is the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa, the second largest container port in Africa (after Port Said in Egypt), and the fourth largest container terminal in the Southern Hemisphere.

Durban Harbour

Durban Harbour @ Google Maps
Durban Harbour @ Google Maps | Source

Cruising in Durban Harbour

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Durban Harbour | Source
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Durban Harbour | Source
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Durban Harbour | Source
Durban from Durban Harbour
Durban from Durban Harbour | Source
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Durban Harbour | Source
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Durban Harbour | Source
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Durban Harbour | Source
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Durban Harbour | Source
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Durban Harbour | Source

Set sail on a voyage from Durban to Elsewhere on a luxurious passenger ship

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MSC SinfoniaMSC Sinfonia
MSC Sinfonia
MSC Sinfonia | Source
MSC Sinfonia
MSC Sinfonia | Source

Vervet Monkeys are causing environmental problems in Durban and other coastal towns in KZN

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Vervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South AfricaVervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South AfricaVervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South AfricaVervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South AfricaVervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South Africa
Vervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South Africa
Vervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South Africa | Source
Vervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South Africa
Vervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South Africa | Source
Vervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South Africa
Vervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South Africa | Source
Vervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South Africa
Vervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South Africa | Source
Vervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South Africa
Vervet Monkeys a nuisance in Durban suburbs, South Africa | Source

Indian Ocean

Durban borders the Indian Ocean - the third largest, the warmest, and the youngest ocean in the world.

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Durban, South Africa | Source
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Durban, South Africa | Source
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Durban, South Africa | Source
Durban, South Africa
Durban, South Africa | Source

Durban, a holiday-maker's paradise

Besides the ocean and the beaches, Durban has a variety of tourist attractions. We consulted a list of fifty-five, and only managed to spent time at the Umgeni River Bird Park, uShaka Marine World, the Chinese Mall, the Natural Science Museum, and the Durban Botanical Gardens. One of the highlights was a divine Italian dinner in the Roma Revolving Restaurant on the 32nd Floor of the John Ross building - the only revolving restaurant in the Southern hemisphere.

And then it was time to travel down the South Coast.

(To be published on April 28.)

South Coast, KwaZulu-Natal

© 2017 Martie Coetser

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    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 2 months ago from South Africa

      Shyron E Shenko – Welcome in my corner. I still have many travelogues in the pipeline, but not enough time to work on it! Blessings and hugs to you, too, Shyron!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 months ago from Texas

      Martie, thank you again for the continuing tour of your beautiful country. It is nice to be able to visit through you pictures.

      Have a wonderful weekend

      Blessings and hugs

    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 3 months ago from South Africa

      bravewarrior – The mere thought of driving on the right side of the road and seeing cars coming towards me on the left side, gives me palpitations. I don’t think I will ever be able to drive a car in the USA. Those sand artists in Durban are two, perhaps three, homeless Africans. They sleep, eat and work on the beach. Besides the tips they get from people appreciating their art, they earn a fish or two in the morning by given the fishermen a helping hand. Fortunately Durban has mild winters. The riksjas are quite famous; they often drive brides to church, or a Father Christmas to venues, etc. I can’t imagine walking five steps balancing such a contraption on my head, what about pulling a buggy running and jumping. You never know how difficult and stressful the work of another person is until you do it yourself. Always good to see you, Sha :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 months ago from Central Florida

      I really enjoyed this picturesque leg of the journey, Martie. With the exception of your cars driving on the wrong side of the road, many of the shots in the first part of this article could be any typical beach town in the US.

      The sand art is amazing. Were you lucky enough to see any of the artists at work? They're so intricate!

      Your one-man buggy ride looks like fun. I wonder how heavy the headdress your guide was wearing is? It looks like it would be hard to balance - it's so tall!

      Great installment, Martie. I look forward to the next.

    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 4 months ago from South Africa

      MsDora – The monkeys are indeed a serious threat, and so are the baboons in the rest of the country on the farms, destroying crops. And dare someone kill one of them! Our Animal Rights groups have eyes all over.

    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 4 months ago from South Africa

      always exploring – Yip, my one-legged pilot is still on standby :)) I saw you are going to be offline for a while. Enjoy what you’re going to do!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 months ago from The Caribbean

      The views of Durban are breathtaking. I'd still like to experience a rickshaw ride. The vervet monkeys are also a Caribbean problem, presently rivaling the human population. Thanks for sharing this interesting travel.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Martie, I'm ready to see the white lions again. Is your pilot still on standby? Hee...

    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 4 months ago from South Africa

      always exploring – I can always count on you when it’s time for touring my country. It’s high time we visit those white lions again. Take care, dear Ruby :)

    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 4 months ago from South Africa

      kallini2010 – Yes, that makes sense. What crossed my mind while reading your comment was those ancient boats that were propelled by slaves. I think they were called ‘galleys’. Imagine what it was like, being in one of those boats during a storm?

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 months ago from Southern Illinois

      There is so much to do and see in your beautiful country. I love the bright pictures, the Indian Ocean and the monkeys. I really enjoy the journey you take us on as you travel throughout Africa....

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 4 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Staying above water is no miracle - just like you can swim and stay above the water - ships are not solid inside. The more you put in, however, the lower they "sit" and there is a limit of how much cargo a ship can take. If a load is too heavy the ship will sink.

      Take a small boat (or any container), put it in a body of water (a sink) and see how much weight does it take to sink the ship. Easy!

      But, of course, there is so much more to ships than the cargo they carry - including dismantling them when they become junk. I saw a documentary about jobs like that - it's horrible.

    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 4 months ago from South Africa

      kallini2010 – Those ships fascinate me. How do they stay above water while carrying such a heavy load? I am a dummy when it comes to science.

      Cute animation! Thanks for the link, Svetlana :)

      BTW, that rickshaw is quite popular. He features on many websites about Durban. Of course, if you want to take a picture of him you have to pay him.

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 5 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      What can I say? A beautiful city and you constitute the 56th attraction on that rickshaw ride - although I suspect it was the rickshaw man himself who was more attractive than his carriage.

      I can't possibly see all fifty-five especially if I never go there... but who knows?

      The port reminded me of an old Russian animation - I'd call it a musical - there is not much action but a lot of singing).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsTW4urL4YQ

      By the way, I have never seen ships that close.

    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 5 months ago from South Africa

      AliciaC – Can you imagine those rickshaws competing with carts pulled by horses? I wonder what distance and speed could they master before automobiles put them out of business. Imagine: Rich people had their own rickshaws. There were one for the master and one for the madam, and more for the children and their tired au pair. :))

    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 5 months ago from South Africa

      billybuc – Knowledge satisfy us in so many ways, and especially when we happen to be the sole owner of it in a specific situation. I’ve read some history about China today, and again felt the boost caused by new knowledge. I think you are always smart, billybuc :))

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      What a lovely collection of photos, Martie! Durban looks like an interesting place to explore. I would certainly go to uShaka Marine World if I ever visited the city. The rickshaw ride looks like great fun.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There's a television show here in the States called "Jeopardy," and they asked a question the other night about South Africa and I knew the answer, thanks to you and your travelogues. :) So thank you for making me appear smart.

    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 5 months ago from South Africa

      Sally, I honestly don't know if I should envy ex-SA'fricans or not. I believe their homeland will always pull them like a magnet, and prevent them from shooting deep roots wherever they are. Only their children would be released from this powerful attraction that causes melancholy.

    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 5 months ago from South Africa

      Shyron, I am so glad you enjoy these photo tours :)

    • MartieCoetser profile image
      Author

      Martie Coetser 5 months ago from South Africa

      Shyron, I am so glad you enjoy these photo tours :)

    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 5 months ago from South Africa

      Flourish, those monkeys have a dangerous attitude of entitlement. They will attack you if you don't give them something to eat. Go figure! They believe that everything belongs to them, even your clothes on the washing lines.

    • MartieCoetser profile image
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      Martie Coetser 5 months ago from South Africa

      Maria Jordan - I thought Friday was the best day for publishing photo tours, as they are, like holidays, perfect detractors from every day's responsibilities. Personally I find the high humidity in sub-tropical regions unbearable, unless I walk around in a bathing suit all day long and dive into a swimming pool as often as possible.

      Thank you so much for your editing services and continued support, dear Maria.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 months ago from Norfolk

      I was brought up in this neck of the woods so know it well. I still think longingly about the double thick malt milkshakes we used to get at the 'Tropical' in Durban. Makes me wonder if it is still there! It was nice to go back down memory lane and I loved the sand art and all of your images.

      Have a lovely weekend.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 5 months ago from Texas

      Dear Beautiful Martie, thank you for taking us Drban, it is like being on National Geographic, with you as our guide.

      Your pictures are beautiful.

      Blessings and hugs dear friend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      I enjoyed your travelogue from the historical account to those beautiful photos. Those vervet monkeys are cute and I bet pesky as well. Too bad there's not a spay and neuter solution for them.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 5 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Martie,

      I love that you are publishing on Fridays - a perfect way to start off the weekend as I travel away in my armchair with you are my tour guide.

      Durban is magnificent...from the beaches to the Post Office.

      And I am sure those vervet monkeys are a nuisance but the looks on their faces are priceless ;)

      Love this series and you too, mar