Colorful Durban

As I mentioned in my last post, we finally made it to Durban more than two years after arriving in South Africa. I’ve always been intrigued to get to know it, but never intrigued enough to actually visit it, what with Cape Town and Mauritius and the ever amazing bush competing for Noisette’s precious vacation days.

Durban skyline, as seen from Umhlanga Rocks


Durban beachfront


Random house in Durban
Random street scene in Durban


And when we finally did set foot in Durban, it became immediately evident why we had wisely avoided it so far. Because our kids apparently are hellbent on checking out every aquarium slash marine park on the planet, and of course we should have known it wouldn’t take long for them to find out that Durban is home to uShaka Marine World.

Aquarium at uShaka Marine World in Durban


Photo credit: Sunshine



Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with water-parks and aquariums. As long as I don’t have to hike through them. I mean, how many more colorful fish and sharks and turtles circling a large tank can I possibly look at? They are all the same! And I know you’ll now be saying, “how many more pictures of colorful fish and sharks and turtles circling a large tank can I possibly look at on Joburg Expat?”




And you are right. If there are way too many pictures in this post, I apologize. (They are colorful though, aren’t they?)

It’s just that when I’m in a place I don’t actually like, I take a lot of pictures. To pass the time.

The water-park part of uShaka was actually not so bad. My only beef with water-parks in Africa is that they are always freezing. Like I said, I still haven’t found warm water anywhere in Africa. When I do, one day, it’ll probably be infested with crocodiles. Or those terrifying parasites invading your body and slowly killing you I heard about that are found only in East-flowing rivers, not West-flowing ones. Or the other way around, I actually have no idea. Clearly, a topic for another blog post.

I only went as far as the right one
That’s Jabulani, on the right

The good news is, almost no pictures here in the water-park, because you don’t take a camera with you when your kids talk you once again into conquering your fear of heights and queuing all the way to the top of one of those towers. Why is it always the high ones I’m asked to do again and again?

The dolphin show at uShaka was probably the highlight of the day, even if for a split second I thought we’d be attacked by terrorists as the stadium was filling.






As promised, lots and lots of dolphins, and very much like its sister performance at Sea World, with the exception of the orca, which is probably just as well because I hear he’s been eating his trainers. A spectator even got chosen to pet the dolphins, but of course it was none of us. We never get chosen for stuff, even though Sunshine was dancing her heart out to catch the camera’s attention.

Maybe if she had worn a grass skirt and knocked a loin-clothed Noisette over in a mock fight to the beating of drums while doing the splits in mid-air? Oh, wait, there were other people doing that.




My favorite experience in Durban was the one that could be had for absolutely free. And, trust me, it was the most colorful of all, much more colorful than all those pretty fishes in the aquarium. All we had to do was take a stroll along the beach promenade, and watch.







My favorite sand-art among all the Durban sand-art. Don’t you love those thighs?


None of our kids wanted to sit in the VIP chair so the sand-artist himself humored us



The girls went to town taking pictures of all the sand-art in sight, until we informed them that every time they felt obliged to press the shutter, we felt obliged to pay the artist, and our cash was running out. Except then they pointed to all the other people taking pictures without paying. A great teaching moment about honesty and fairness.


I don’t blame you if you haven’t actually gotten this far, with all these pictures. The upshot is that I wrote far less than I usually do, so you might have actually caught a bit of a break here.

This is it, folks. We really didn’t see much of Durban beyond uShaka and the beach promenade, which my family practically wanted to flee as soon as we set foot on it. The same people who had dragged me through water-parks and aquariums for hours and hours just earlier to see colorful marine life were positively overwhelmed with a bit of colorful human life.

I guess one person’s colorful is another person’s agony.