Max, at his overnight spot near the town of Žiri, Slovenia..
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Near Žiri, Slovenia.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? South towards Croatia.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Not long enough in Durban!

We didn't plan very well. Actually, what happened is that we spent too much time on "the Garden Route" which is overrated as a tourist destination. Sure, it's nice enough, but we should have driven through a little quicker and allowed for more time in this area.

So, we only had one full day in the city of Durban, but it gave us enough of a feel for the city that we know we want to return one day!

We stayed at the Happy Hippo Backpacker Lodge, (and we'll tell you more about that in another post!) which is located walking distance to the beach and downtown. Here's a quick map of Durban just to give you an idea...

Happy Hippo located at (A).

Rusty old ship turned into a restaurant.

Ruth, diving right in!

Immediately behind the Happy Hippo is the popular uShaka Marine World and waterpark. You can walk about five minutes through that complex, and then you're at the south end of Durban beach and you have a beautiful view of the city!

City of Durban.

From there, you can also watch the big freighters come and go from the harbor. Durban is a huge and busy shipping port.

This car carrier holds over 6,000 vehicles!

There's a huge Toyota factory in Durban, so there are a lot of car carriers coming and going. There's also a cruise ship port and cruises head out to Mozambique and Madagascar, as well as one way cruises to Cape Town.

The city has a fantastic downtown bus service called the People Mover! There are three routes, with service every 15 minutes. The cost? Only R5.5 (58 cents) for a one time trip, or R16 ($1.68) for an all day pass!

Durban People Mover routes.

We did take the bus several times that day, but as you know, we also did a LOT of walking! I had to buy a new pair of sandals and it wasn't a very convenient time to have to do so because I ended up with a blister that kind of hampered my walking abilities. Oh, on that note, we also removed the stitches from Ruth's cut on her hand. Dr. Kevin did a great job taking them out, and everything seems to be healing just fine.

We were told to visit Victoria Market, but we found it to be a tourist place. Not our thing, and we much more enjoyed just walking the streets. There's a huge Indian influence in Durban, and we found the area to be a mixture of Las Vegas, Miami, and New Delhi! No, we've never been to New Delhi, but from what we understand it's a hive of activity, just like Durban.

Typical street in Durban.

The Jumma Mosque architecture has a strong Indian influence.

A local market had some interesting things for sale!

Spices anybody??

Free food lineup.

Always amazes us how much people can carry on their head!

From the People Mover bus window.

Durban city hall.

We never found out what this building was! Help anyone?

Durban downtown street.

Oh, another thing. In all the time we spent wandering around we were never once asked for money. In Cape Town, it was at least five times each day. In Durban, we wandered areas without seeing another white person for hours. Most of the white people seem to stay right close to the beach and the tourist zone. As soon as you go a couple of blocks into the city away from the beach, you don't see any more white people. We thought it was very strange, but never once did we feel uncomfortable. 

Based on our short visit, we like Durban and want to return one day. I think a week there would be more suitable! Also, there is a lot to see on the coast north of Durban. Obviously, we'll have to come back.

(We are headed into Lesotho today and have no idea if we will have suitable internet access. It's pretty remote and in the middle of the mountains and we'll be there for ten days. Hopefully you'll hear back from us soon!!!)


  1. Looking forward to touring Lesotho with you. As it turns out we were on the road ourselves on Jan. 27th and without internet service when you posted about Ruth cutting her hand. Upon reading this AM about the stitches being removed I muttered OMG, and set out on a frantic search through previous entries to get the lowdown. I'm thrilled and relieved all is well, and had to giggle about you chiding Ruth for smiling in the clinic waiting room. Still, you have to admit it was a travel adventure to write home about! :)

    1. Hi Dianne, still trying to get caught up on our older comments from when we hardly had any internet. My hand is doing well and seems to have healed up nicely, thank you for caring about me.

      Hope you enjoyed our Lesotho posts, we certainly enjoyed sharing them.

  2. your tour of downtown so much more interesting than the usual touristy areas. I think that is one of the things everyone loves about your blog, you give the local flavor not the gawing touristy places that can almost be interchanged in many parts of the world.

    1. Thank you Donna, that's just what we love to do! It is also a learning process for us when we venture out into the towns and away from the ordinary tourist areas.

  3. I think the building you asked to identify is the City Hall. I haven't been able to identify the one that you described as City Hall.

    1. The picture on that site in incorrect. I lived in Durban for 25 years. The one with the clock tower is the Post Office.

    2. Daryl White you are correct that one with the clock tower is definitely the Post Office and yes, the picture they have on the site that Sandra gave is incorrect. The building that we have labelled as City Hall is City Hall because we even went up to see if we could get in and unfortunately we couldn't.

  4. I too hate it when I have "reservations" and discover a gem of a place where I can't stay. Great pictures. What a city. Glad to hear all is well with Ruth's hand. Dr. Kevin are you a GP or a hand specialist??? I have a trigger thumb problem. Maybe you could help me.

    1. One of the reasons we don't make reservations very often unfortunately we had dates set for Malealea in this case and we weren't about to delay those.

      My hand has healed quite nicely, I will have a scar but that is not a big deal.

  5. I think that the mystery building is the Post Office. I am surprised that you didn't go inside to have a look. I understand that Durban is home to the largest Indian population outside India itself. Their culture has had a great influence on the city, you should be able to find the finest curries in the country :)

    1. Yes, now that we have good internet we do see that it is the Post Office and we are regretting that we didn't take the time to go in. We did try to get into City Hall but that was a no go unfortunately. If we ever make it back there again we will most certainly go in and check it our same with the mosque, which we didn't realize that we could also have gone in to see.

      We did have some great curry dishes while we were in Durban though!

  6. Another interesting place to visit , maybe again someday, enjoy.

    1. If we ever make it back to this part of the world we will definitely go back to Durban and the Drakensberg area and then make our way north.

  7. Big city. Wikipedia says it has 595,000 people and the surrounding municipality in total is 3 million, the largest city on Africa's east coast. Nice place. The architecture is an incredible mix. Glad to hear Ruth is healing nicely. Have fun.

    1. Yes, it is a big city but the downtown area isn't really all that big. It reminds us a lot of Mexico.

  8. The building with the clock tower is the Main Durban Post Office. The building with the dome is the City Hall.


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