My inner beach bum came out to play yesterday. It’s my 3rd full day in Durban and it seems like all the gods in charge of the historical tour I want to participate in, are upset. I called different cultural tour companies and they were either closed for the day or also closed for the next day because of the Municipality elections. This election matter may spur me on, to remain at my host’s house tomorrow as well, because I nor come here for my yam nor don market. English translation for that is-self preservation. I hate to be cliche about it but elections are very touchy subjects and I’d rather be home safe than stuck in town somewhere with no Uber drivers in sight.
But I slightly digress…
To satisfy my inner beach bum, I do a quick search on my dear Google maps and the distance from Durban north to Umhlanga beach is just 10 minutes away. I take a warm bath and set out with plans to flag a public taxi (taxi by South African definition of course) but I’m stucked for 20 minutes at the junction with no available taxis. Thank God for Uber, because I quickly request one and off we go.
Guys I tell you- South Africa, a lot of it truly feels like obodo oyibo. Yes, there are slums here and poor communities living in makeshift houses, but there’s also a level of order here that you’ll find when you travel across the obodo.
I arrive at the beach and it’s gorgeous. Lovely 18°C weather when you are in the shade, and a tad bit warmer when you are directly in the Sun. The beach side boasts many high rise buildings, a lot of them hotels and apartments, gloriously overlooking the sea shore, and mostly painted white. Also because Durban’s topography is hilly and mountainous, it’s like the mansions are stacked one on top of the other.
I spend the next 30 minutes walking around, and feeling like a proper tourist. There are a few families swimming in the beach, but o mehn 18 degrees is far too cold for me to get in to.
Because it’s past noon and I didn’t really have breakfast, I grab a quick lunch at this quaint Italian cafe called La Spiagga Trattoria. The cafe is overlooking the beach side. There I’m served the best milkshake I’ve ever tasted. It’s so good that I ask for a 2nd glass. Unfortunately, I don’t have a proper picture of the drink because I’m too busy gulping it down. I also have some fried chips, calamari, shrimp and chicken. Om nom!!
When I’m done eating, I do the next best thing-People watch! And I also take lots of pictures. After 30 minutes I seem to be done. Because I’m also planning to visit Durban Gateway Theatre of Shopping (the biggest mall in the area); I try to quickly wrap up my visit.
Until to my left, I see this!!
It’s a pier where visitors to the beach can climb and walk through, to get a closer feel of the beach waves. It almost reminds me of the massive stones, one on each other; on Elegushi beach in Lagos. Lol!
So off I go to investigate what this contraption is. When I get on the pier, I’m lucky enough to find a guy who takes me a decent enough picture. One of the discomforts of solo travel is you may not always find someone to take you decent pictures. Also, every time I hand over my phone or camera to a stranger for a picture, I think of that rule I once read somewhere – Only request to have your picture taken by someone you can run after and catch up with, if they do decide to abscond with your devices😁😂. The downside to this rule though is you then end up with children or elderly people who fit into this category but may not take the best pictures.. Lol!
There’s also a light house some 800metres from the pier. It’s like all the light houses I’ve read in books or seen on tv. It’s painted white and red and extends far into the sky. I get to the gate of the light house humming a Sunday hymn and with flashes of memory of light houses from Enid Blyton’s, Famous Five novels. Disappointingly, I find the lighthouse padlocked, so no adventures up the stairwell.