A bit of background: Ray and I planned a trip to the Wild Coast, which you can read about in this dramatic series of posts. The Wild Coast is too far from Joburg to drive to in one day so we stopped in Durban along the way, and then again on the way back. (In fact, we realized that some parts of the Wild Coast are also too far from Durban to drive to in one day. Refer to the dramatic series above.) As we were on a tight budget for our Wild Coast trip, I used my travel blogger status to negotiate free stays at two different Tsogo Sun hotels one on either side of the journey. (We paid for the rest of the trip on our own. Someday soon I’m going to write a whole post about the politics of blogger freebies.) As I mentioned in a previous post, I used to shun big-chain hotels but I’ve recently come to realize that they have their advantages. On our first night of the trip we rolled into “the Golden Mile” (the local name for Durban’s beachfront) and checked in to the Garden Court Marine Parade, a mid-range hotel with rooms starting at R1250 ($100). Our newly renovated […]
The Commonwealth Games, an Olympics-like sporting competition involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations, are headed to Durban in 2022. The 2022 host city won’t be officially announced until September 2015, but it turns out that Durban is the only bidder. (Edmonton, Canada, initially submitted a bid but later withdrew it.) So…yay! It’s not 100% confirmed but the Commonwealth Games are most likely coming to Africa for the first time ever. (Incidentally, the Olympics have also never been held on African soil. WTF? This needs to change.) Last weekend I was invited to Durban, along with a few other journalists/bloggers/instagrammers, to do fun things in the city and create some hype for the Commonwealth Games bid. Mainly we hung around Moses Mabhida Stadium, built for the 2010 World Cup and one of the most beautiful stadiums in South Africa. Looking up at the roof of Moses Mabhida Stadium. See that narrow walkway going across, near the top of the frame? Store that away for later. Our morning started with breakfast on the Durban Beachfront, which is one of my favorite places to hang out in Durban. I drank a smoothie and watched the cyclists roll past, soaking in the sun. Durban beachfront Instagram. […]
I didn’t expect the end to come so soon. And yet here it is: the final post of my #MeetSouthAfrica series. As I mentioned before, the #MeetSouthAfrica blogger adventure ended in Durban. We were in Durban for three days but spent only part of that time exploring the city; a large portion of our visit was devoted to attending the 2014 Indaba — a huge international travel convention. We still squeezed in several interesting Durban activities, including a jaw-dropping walk through the sprawling traditional markets at Warwick Junction. I could write 10 blog posts about the Warwick Junction markets alone so I’ve decided to save that topic for later. I need to go back and do more exploring. Until then, here’s a little taste of what I saw at Warwick Junction. The Indian spice market on Victoria Street. “Mother-in-law exterminator” is the name of a spice. Don’t ask me what’s going on above that. Our group stayed at Durban’s Southern Sun Elangeni, a high-rise hotel along Durban’s North Beach. Big-chain hotels like this aren’t normally my thing but I really enjoyed staying there. The view overlooking the ocean is amazing and unlike comparable hotels in America, the windows actually open. I could roll right out of bed, slide open the window, and […]
Today is Heritage Day, a public holiday celebrating the cultural heritage of South Africa. Similar to Labor Day and Memorial Day, Heritage Day seems to serve mostly as an excuse for a long weekend. This year the holiday coincided with the end of the ANC General Council meeting so there was a big event at Moses Mabhida Stadium – the brand-new world cup venue in Durban. The specific theme of the event, in addition to South Africa’s heritage, was the success of the 2010 World Cup. The guest of honor was President Jacob Zuma. Joe photographed the event and I tagged along, as usual.
Joe and I got up at 5:00 this morning to go back to Inanda. Joe wanted to photograph the housing settlements there in the early morning light. I was excited to come along, although sad to miss breakfast at Essenwood House. We spent four hours driving up and down steep, narrow dirt roads – filled with schoolchildren and people walking to work – stopping periodically for Joe to get out and shoot the stunning landscape. I wish I could show you some of the photos he took, but that would give away his identity and probably get me sued by the news agency he works for. So here are a few of my own shots instead.
Joe and I have spent the last couple of days moving between Durban and an area to the north of town called the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Here are some highlights. Monday After Sunday’s adventures, I’m pleased to say that Joe collected his press credentials in time to cover the opening events of the ANC General Council Meeting. He also got the LandRover repaired and the engine noise is back to a quiet purr. Thank god.
This Sunday Joe and I are going to Durban, a coastal city in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. I’m excited about going for several reasons, one of which is the food. Durban’s cuisine is heavily influenced by India, which is a hop across the Indian Ocean. Today we got a taste of Durban in Melville, at a place called Neela’s on the second level of the Boulevard Shopping Center. It’s a tiny shop (a stand, really) that sells authentic South African-Indian fare, including 10 types of samoosas (spelled with two o’s, not one). Neela’s also specializes in the bunny chow, a spicy-sandwichy thing made only in South Africa.