After a great time in the Drakensberg we took our transport, the Baz Bus, to Durban. First, the Baz Bus. It was running when I was here in 2001. As a backpacker ( or a backpacking family) you are most vulnerable when you walk out of a train or bus station and try to get to your accomodation. Any ne’er-do-well knows everything you own is on your person. The Baz Bus links many hostels and takes you door to door. I find it a genius system in a country where crime is such a concern. It has very good wi-if onboard and charging for all our electronic goodies. We took it from the Dove’s Nest Guest House in Joburg to Amphitheatre Backpackers in the Drakensberg. Now we were off to Happy Hippo Hostel in Durban. The Baz Bus gives us a list of participating hostels at various price points and we can choose depending on availability etc.
One joy of the Baz Bus is they make occasional stops at cool spots. On our way to Durban we stopped at the place called ‘Mandela Capture Site. Did I mention in an earlier post how they have monetised Mandela? That being said this is free until they finish the very modern museum building. Mandela was captured on August 5, 1962 – before I was even born! This began 27 years of imprisonment….
Durban is an astounding city. When I first got to Durban I had to shake my head to see if I was awake. It was like I had popped up in India! In 2001 it was the first time in my life I was in a city where I looked like the locals! Quite something! Now in 2018 I found the city to be very run down and a less visible Indian population. From chatting with people, the population is still there but just not in the streets as much. South Africa has changed a lot since 2001. Most of it has been for the worse.
Our hostel was the Happy Hippo – it was pretty cool. Super close to UShaka Marina (aquarium, waterslides, zip lines etc) and Durban’s North and South Beach. Cool industrial common areas and a very mixed black, white and international crowd.
We found a lovely breakfast spot on the beach called Surfriders and took in the beauty of Durban’s nice South and North Beaches. At the far end of North Beach is the stadium used for the South African Football World Cup matches. There are some famous lads who make some pretty cool sand sculptures on South Beach.
Mom was busy testing our World Nomads Travel Insurance with residual issues from our malaria meds, so the girls and I rented a four seater bike/pedal car and cruised Durban’s South Beach. As I weighed down the chariot I let the girls buzz around themselves, periodically swapping drivers (somehow Skye was so fast, I never got her pic)…
Durban South Beach
We wandered onto South Beach to check this tube thing sticking out of the sand. It seemed a combination of a pipe and cannon pointing out to sea. Not sure what it was but it sure was fun to climb.
The kids love the high wire courses and ziplines (like Voiles en Voiles in old Montreal, and Acrobranches in major South African cities), so we tried the one at UShaka Marine. It was not as good as Acrobranches nor Voiles en Voiles (the best).
M.C. rejoined us for another wander on the beach in the afternoon and we revisited the big pipe and had a few beers with an Aussie chap who had worked in Muskoka that we met on the Baz Bus and a few folks from his hostel. One girls had also gone to Queens university like M.C. and I She and her friend were also heading up to St Lucia Wetlands Park then diving in Sodwana. We ran into them in St Lucia too….