Wednesday, 6 May 2009

South Africa Day 3

Day 3, 9:00am, Durban

Today was our day off so we set off to do some sightseeing whilst trying not to look like a tourist.

KwaZulu Natal is said to be "South Africa's most African province" and has everything the country is known for; beaches, wildlife, the melting pot of cultures and, of course, crime. Also with this province are the famous battlegrounds of Isandlwana and Rourke's Drift (as seen in the movie Zulu), coming off an upset victory at Isandlwana where the Zulu masses obliterated 1200 British soldiers, between 3000 and 4000 Zulus (against the wishes of their King) were repeatedly repulsed for 12 hours by only 100 British veterans, many of them ill, protecting the field hospital restoring British "honour"

KwaZulu Natal's principal city, Durban reflects the melting pot culture perfectly , the European architecture alongside Zulu and Indian influences, Hindus being the second largest ethnic group in Durban (making it a great curry district). There are many fine (and not so fine) things to see in Durban; Francis Farewell Square, for example, is the site of the first white camp set up by British adventurers to trade with the natives even though these days it is populated by the down-and-outs. This is sadly echoed throughout the city, history being swamped by over population and general disregard.

Onto the beaches, the obvious choice is to head to Beachfront traditionally called The Golden Mile due to it's outstanding beaches, restaurants and entertainment (yes, even better than Blackpool's Golden Mile) although it is known as 'Muggers Mile' these days, as discovered by one of my friends as he was robbed at gun point when he stayed here. Where tourists are, criminals are. Who better than someone who doesn't really know the area, carries cash and has cameras & other cool stuff with them, you can't blame anyone for not suspecting some inoffensive little child but these kids are master pickpockets and bag snatchers.

Armed with this knowledge and packing nothing worth stealing, we go for a much needed walk on the beach. My friend, Jase, said I had to try a bacon and avocado burger from Steers whilst here, I spot a Steers too late as we had just literally eaten but consider bringing him one back. I doubted I would get it through customs so don't bother (it turns out I could have got it through after all)

Back to the car to continue our trip saw us taking a quick tour down Marine Parade which looked like a quaint old British seaside town but turns out to be just as dangerous as anywhere, no wonder people wander into these areas especially with the plentiful stalls supplying all your touristy souvenir needs (some may call it tack)

As it's starting to get dark we decide to leave the sea front all together to head home, stopping only for Haueter to get a photograph with a shotgun-toting security guard.

Another meal and another early night ensued.

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