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AFRICA - DAY SIX AND SEVEN - Durban and Umdloti

Previous Blogs: Day 1 Pretoria | Day 4 Dinokeng | Day 5 New Years | Day 6+7 Umdloti | Day 8 - DumaZulu | Day 9 Hluhluwe | Day 10+11 PE to Knysna | Day 12 Ostrich Farm | Day 13 Hermanus | Day 14 Hout Bay | Day 15 Cape Point | Day 16 Table Mountain | Day 17+18 Namib Desert | Day 19 Sossusvlei | Day 20+21 To Swakopmund | Day 22 Cape Cross | Day 23 Luderitz | Day 24 Walvis Bay | Day 26 To Windhoek | Day 27 Katatura | Day 28+29 Zambezi | Day 30 The Falls | Day 31 Chobe | Day 32+33 Going Home

Click photos for a larger image...

 

We traveled from Pretoria to Durban yesterday flying with Mango Airlines, a subsidiary of South African Airways.

It's drivable - about 7 hours from Pretoria, but we decided to fly rather than waste a day.  Mango airlines is  very cheap - the tickets were about $60 per person one way.

Durban is where I am from and is a large ocean side city of 3.5 million people. While it is not really big on international tourism, it is South Africa's number one domestic tourist destination for South Africans.  The climate here is a lot like Tampa - its TYPICALLY warm year round and has beautiful beaches.  It is also a major surfing destination.

 

I guess Hertz must have known I was coming "home" because we got upgraded from a compact to a premium.  SNAP!!  We drove away with a brand spanking new BMW with sunroof.

First we drove down to the city CBD (Central Business District - we in the states call it Downtown) and waterfront. We had no intention of staying here but I had to see how much it had changed in 20 years.

And yes, it has changed and sadly, not for the better. Dirty streets, crowded beaches and nasty looking characters hanging around. I understand it's the height of summer holidays and packed with tourists which made it seem even more awful, but nevertheless, it's not the Durban I remember.  As the saying goes, "You can never go home again."

So having done due homage to my past and showing the ladies my old stomping grounds, we hit the road North about 15 miles and headed to my home town. I lived in a small seaside resort town just outside Durban called Umdloti (pronounced Uum-shlow-tee). The word means "Place of Tobacco" in Zulu named after the tobacco that used to grow here. For those of you in the Tampa area,  Umdloti would be similar to living on Crystal Breach.

Umdloti is a very small town with a permanent residence of only 3000, and that grows to over 20,000 during summer holidays!

A great place to live as it is only a 20 minute drive to downtown Durban and 10 minutes to major shopping areas.

So this is the last place of nostalgia for me before we move on to more Africa-type adventures.

Wendy found us an absolutely beautiful 2 bed condo to stay in right on the beach in Umdloti for two days.

Feast your eyes on the pictures below...

Last night we went to a local grocery store for the fixings and made dinner in our fully equipped kitchen.

After that it was time for cocktails and watching a beautiful moonrise over the Indian Ocean.

This morning after a quick swim in our pool it was time to head out to see the next closest town Umhlanga (pronounced Uum-shlun-ga) which means "Place of Reeds" in Zulu, for the acres and acres of sugarcane that are grown.

Umhlanga is the Hamptons of South Africa. It's where all the rich South Africans go on vacation.

Porches and Mercedes abound, boardwalks and shopping malls everywhere.

It is also home to the whale bone pier which I saw for the first time as it was built in 2007 to cover up unsightly stagnant pools of water. Wouldn't want the rich people to suffer through that now would we?

 

The Whalebone Pier was voted by CNN as the world's

most beautiful pier in 2007.

Umhlanga Light House built in 1954 in only 4 days is still a working lighthouse.

Umhlanga Beach

Then it was time to take the ladies to see how the other half live - the Gateway Mall of Umhlanga. One of the top 50 largest malls in the world it has 400 stores and 70 restaurants.

 

Both Umhlanga and Umdloti have an abundance of rock pools at low tide (there is a 4-6 foot tide swing).

Rock pools are a BIG DEAL! A great place for the family to swim in safety and for kids to catch fish and look for critters.

There are however, strict rules. NOTHING dead nor alive may be removed from the rock pools. The critters are there to be seen and played with but not to be killed or taken home.

There are miles and miles of rock pools and is a source of much family entertainment.

Then it was time to return back to Umdloti and have lunch in my favorite pub - The Bush Tavern. After 20 years it is still here and what is even more amazing - the menu has not changed!!

Sitting outside over looking the main swimming beach in Umdloti was a place I used to hang out several times a week.

So we munch on the pub's most famous dish: Portuguese Flat Chicken!

Walking back from the restaurant we got to see something you don't see in the USA.

Ski boats! Because this part of South Africa has no natural waterways and bays opening onto the ocean, if you want to take a boat out fishing you launch off the beach!

It takes a LOT of skill and a special license to  operate a boat in the ocean.  It is very interesting to watch as these 17 foot twin engine boats are dragged into the waves, pushed out, crew jumps in, fires up and take off between waves.

Coming back they ride the biggest wave they can find high up onto the beach at full throttle and then winch the craft back onto a trailer. They are required by law to have two engines in the ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

It was time for Gloria to get her feet wet and put them into the Indian Ocean for the very first time!

And finally...

This area is infested with a critter called a Vervet Monkey (notice how his "whatnots" are actually blue):

And this is what the little bastard did to my car - he thinks my BMW is a friggin' toilet?

I had to pay a guy at the mall $3 to wash the car!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ONLY IN AFRICA ARE THESE SIGNS NECESSARY!!

(Also, does anyone know what befacating means? I thought it was defecating!)

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