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Durban and the South Coast, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa - a travelogue
From Klerksdorp to Durban, 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
Second Phase: The Drakensberge and Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal
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.
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 DurbanClick thumbnail to view full-size
uShaka Marine World, DurbanClick thumbnail to view full-size
Beach art in DurbanClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
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.
Cruising in Durban HarbourClick thumbnail to view full-size
Set sail on a voyage from Durban to Elsewhere on a luxurious passenger shipClick thumbnail to view full-size
Vervet Monkeys are causing environmental problems in Durban and other coastal towns in KZNClick thumbnail to view full-size
Durban borders the Indian Ocean - the third largest, the warmest, and the youngest ocean in the world.
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