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Weekly Photo Challenge: Ocean

We had requested rooms facing the Indian Ocean so we could watch the sunrise on our last day in Durban.

Sunrise on the Golden Mile, Durban

At eight floors up, we had a perfect, unobstructed view and spent the better part of the morning watching the sun as it climbed peacefully over the horizon.

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Durban’s Miles of Smiles

Our last morning in Durban began with us watching the sun as it rose over the Indian Ocean.

Golden Mile Awakening

And watching as the area known as the Golden Mile, Durban‘s popular stretch of beach came to life with vendors, tourists, swimmers, people out for their morning walk and workers cleaning up the beach.

Golden Mile Morning

One of the things we wanted to do was dip our toes in the ocean. The sand was almost golden brown and soft under our feet. It was our only time in the water since we had been in South Africa.

We waded in, stepped back and screamed almost at the same time when the water hit our feet.  It was a nice, bracing cold. But just wetting our toes wasn’t enough. We walked further in as the water lapped our calves. It felt great.

The water was a little brisk!

When we returned to our room, our clothes were wet and flip flops full of sand. Disappointingly, I didn’t get any shells on the beach.

Near the street, a few people had gathered to admire this artist’s rendition of a cheetah

Golden Mile Cheetah

and a lion made from sand.

 Golden Mile Lion

Durban’s artistic flair.

Garbage?

What’s DSW doing on the side of this garbage receptacle? Sorry, Sandra, it’s not the shoe store.

Sculpture

During our last drive through Durban, we came across these sculptures that I just loved.

Golden Mile Sculpture

Before we left the U.S., I had seen photos of Durban’s rickshas and the drivers online. I knew I had to see and ride in one.

And as Don drove us around, we spotted this one. I was so excited, I started to jump out of the car before he even came to a stop.

Golden Mile Ricksha

The driver obligingly put on his elaborate headgear but we didn’t have time for a ride. I could only take these photos.

Ricksha ride?

Color infected even the fence of this building

And this tree

This cube caught our eye

Then we saw this tree in Sandra’s favorite color

Moses Mabhida Stadium

Named for a former general secretary of the South Africa Communist Party, Moses Mabhida Stadium, played host to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Another view of the stadium

Coastline and highrises

Sibaya Casino from the highway

On our way to the airport, we noticed this building from the highway. It was the Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom. It looked impressive, if a little out of place.

Sibaya Casino Entrance

This would be one of my last photos of Durban. It had been a whirlwind three days. We had done a lot, racked up several thousand miles and made friends.

Compassline Africa, our travel agent in Durban, had taken fabulous care of us. If you ever plan a visit, send Tanya or Alison an email. They left us in the capable hands of Don “How’s ya Granny” Botterill who proudly showed off his beautiful province and shared personal and family stories, including the one that a distant relative was one of the first people to open the Sani Pass route through the Drakensberg Mountains to Lesotho.

Our goodbye to Durban was bittersweet – it meant we had just one more night in South Africa.

Goodbye Durban, till next time.

Back to Joburg.

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Durban Welcome

Almost everyone we spoke to before we left the U.S. said we’d love Durban, although they didn’t say why exactly. The largest city in KwaZulu Natal, Durban is also an important manufacturing hub and port. It boasts a sub-tropical climate and some of South Africa’s best beaches.

I didn’t know much about the city when I decided to plan that leg of our trip. And apart from a visit to Shakaland, a Zulu homestead near Durban, the only things we wanted to do was watch the whales, get some good Indian food and enjoy the city.

Durban Welcome

Alison, Marcia, Sandra, Tanya and Judith (stooping)

Then I received an email out of the blue from an author in Durban who suggested his book for my book club. When I told him of our plans to visit Durban, he suggested quite strongly that we had to visit ‘Drakensberg.’ When I asked what that was, he said he had no idea (he had just moved to Durban from the UK), that I should search online. Once I did, it added a whole new dimension to our trip.

Through a friend, we found a travel agency, Compassline Africa, that took care of the details and Tanya, Alison and Don from Compassline met us on arrival at Durban’s Shaka Zulu International Airport.

Don would be our driver for our three days in Durban and not too long after we arrived, we had loaded up the car and were on our way to our first stop, Shakaland.

Don Botterill was a combination tour guide, driver, loveable uncle and a proud South African who was enthusiastic about showing and sharing his beautiful country with us.

We were driving along to Shakaland when he received a phone call. Instead of saying, hello, he asked, How’s your granny? We looked at each other and burst into a fit of laughter.

Once we heard that, we knew we were in for a treat with Don. And boy, did he deliver!