How I Conquered South Africa in 8 Days: DURBAN
In 8 Days I explored 3 of South Africa’s main cities, Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. In the next few posts, I will go into detail about the three cities and share my Itinerary and highlights.
The first official city I visited in South Africa was Durban. Durban reminded me a lot of a California beach city. The popular beachfront restaurant on the great Golden Mile, California Dreaming, could be a dead giveaway too.
HOTEL OF CHOICE: The Concierge I decided against the Beachfront Hotels and went with a cozy boutique hotel in a nearby neighborhood. I love boutique hotels! I love them because they are resourceful, very welcoming and attentive. Miko, who seems to run the place, made my experience great by helping me with planning my excursions. We even became friends.
The rooms were a nice touch of home. Comfy king bed with an overhead shower and my own porch. It also came with breakfast at the attached restaurant, Freedom Café. I couldn’t help, but feel as if I was home away from home. I felt like I was more so visiting friends than vacationing.
DAY 1- Golden Mile
I caught an early flight from Johannesburg to Durban. In route, I met a lovely lady named Thandi. She noticed I was traveling alone and lends her expertise as a native. She helped me get a SIM and set up my South African phone service and gave me the scenic route ride to my hotel. She even offered to give me a tour and show me around whenever she had free time after work.
After checking in and breakfast, I put Miko to work to help me come up with my itinerary for tomorrow. Not many would do a one person tour, so I had to find a driver and create my own tour.
As he worked on that, I got an Uber to the Golden Mile. The driver took me along the strip so I can view it from beginning to end. I had lunch at the popular California Dreaming restaurant along the promenade. I met some other tourist, and we walked the remainder of the strip enjoying the rest of day.
On my way home, I talked my Uber driver into taking me out to Florida St, a popular street full of bars and lounge-y type restaurants. Over dinner, I convinced him to be my driver and take me to all the places I wanted to see in Durban. Little did he know he was also my personal photographer, I was excited to find someone to take me on tour and for half the price.
EXTRA! EXTRA! The Golden Mile has a lot to offer. It is considered the top attraction in Durban. Outside of the many restaurants and water activities, the Golden Mile stretches from the Suncoast Casino and its private beach to uShaka Marine World that is an adventure within itself. UShaka Marine World is a Sea World Aquarium with a water park, interactive zoo, Adventure Park, shopping mall and much more.
DAY 2- Durban City Tour and Valley of 1000 Hills Eager to get my day started, I gave my driver a list of all the places I wanted to attend. All the places are popular attractions that helps one indulge in the people and its culture.
Umgeni Hindu Temple- This is the only Hindu Temple remaining out of the three built by the Indian settlers back in the 1860s. This temple reflects the spiritual and cultural history of the settlers. Now a historic landmark, it was converted to a social and cultural center for community upliftment.
Kwa-Muhle Apartheid Museum- The museum was used to share the history and fight amongst the many different cultures during apartheid. Today, it holds historical records of many cultural groups who helped shape Durban to what it is today.
Grey Street Mosque- One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, originally built in 1881, provides a taste of local Islamic architecture. The present Mosque, complete in 1943, is considered one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
Victoria Street Market- A popular flea market full of Indian spices, incenses, and great bargains. You can find all types of Knick knacks. The place has over 170 stalls offering a range of African and Oriental products. Great way to see up-close Durban’s historical ties with India.
University of Kwa-Zulu Natal- One of the top South African Universities with five campuses throughout the province of KwaZulu-Natal. (Didn’t get to explore much because they were boycotting the school for raising the school prices and police deemed it dangerous.)
Valley of 1000 Hills: Phezulu Cultural Village- In the middle of the Valley of 1000 Hills, the Phezulu village offers one the opportunity to learn about the village living, traditions, beliefs, rituals, and artifacts. You’ll also get to see a traditional Zulu Dancing show and interact with the reptiles at the Reptile Park. ( I don’t do reptiles so I skipped that part)
Another popular attraction is Moses Mabhida Stadium. Known for hosting to FIFA World Cup and many other sporting events, this stadium offers much more. For the adventure seekers, they have the Adventure Walk where you walk up 500 steps take in the scenery. Still want more? Try the Big Rush Swing, which is the world’s tallest swing where you leap from the top of the arc in the middle of the stadium. Too much? Why not take the SkyCar ride to the top of the stadium and take in the views. They also have Segway tours, restaurants, and a park.
Durban OUT, XOXO