Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Amazing Day in Durban, South Africa (Nov. 25, 2010)

Ahhh…another container port, but the terminal was nice and modern.

Durban is considered a resort town with warm winds, beautiful beaches and great surfing. The Dutch and English settled here and lived at peace with the Zulus for many years until the Zulu War of 1879. Although the Zulus became hardworking subjects of the British Empire, their sense of identity is alive and well in language, art, music and craftsmanship.

Wow…this is a nice looking city!

Beautiful highways…

You can see the Dutch influence in some of the city names.

We were heading to a game reserve. Lots of houses dotting the hills...

I just liked saying this name…Umbumbulu!

The scenery was beautiful with the grass so green and freshly cut. Our driver, Joe, said they had had a lot of rain.

We got off the highway and onto a secondary road. These roads are still better than some of our roads at home. They drive on the opposite side here due to the British influence.

And here we are…Rich, Kersti and Kathy were in the car ahead of us with Richard, the tour guide. Jim, Jeff and I were with Joe who is a driver, not a tour guide. This became obvious during our drive through the reserve. It’s a good thing Jeff and Kathy had been on a game reserve tour the day before. Jeff became our tour guide with lots of animal facts!

This is the most we saw of a hippo!

No cash here, only credit cards. They aren’t taking any chances on being robbed.

Wildebeests and zebras (or zeb-ras, as they say)…

Most of the reserves are privately owned.

Zebras! Their stripes are for camouflage. Lions supposedly see in black and white, and when a zebra is standing very still in tall grass, they would be well hidden.

A baby!

They like to turn their backs to you!


The wildebeests are known for their annual migration to greener pastures. The migration is one of the greatest spectacles on earth with over a million wildebeest travelling in herds, as well as hundreds of thousands of other animals.

There were many different varieties of antelope in the park. This is the springbok.

A wild boar…

A rhino…don’t they have the most wonderful view!

Ostriches…when they opened their wings you could see how huge and fluffy they were.


A giraffe peeking above the trees!

This must be the giraffe home of the park…all of a sudden there were quite a few of them.



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Hel-lo!

“Are you looking at me?”

Richard had just pulled the car ahead, when this giraffe walked out right in front us. It was so beautiful and graceful!

Another variety of antelope…we haven’t a clue here, because we don’t have…a tour guide!

We stopped at the lake where the hippos were. The Egyptian geese live very well with them.

The group…Jeff and Kathy, Kersti and Rich and us. Now if Nancy and Joe had just stayed on for the second half of the cruise, our group would be complete!

Our driver, Joe, on the left with Richard, the tour guide. Such a contrast…Joe didn’t say anything unless we asked him and Richard talked non-stop!

Richard explaining something that we appeared to find very interesting…

Yup, these are rhinos…the most we saw of them. They love to stay under the water. Richard said they were actually laying down here, so the water must be pretty shallow.


Beautiful trees!

And with that, we left the park and drove to our next destination.

It was so beautiful here. For some reason it really reminded me of Ireland with the green, green grass and hilly countryside.

Beautiful bougainvillea…like the jacaranda, I had to take a picture every time I saw it even if it was through the windshield!

Oh yes, the Valley of 1000 Hills, which was part of our scenic drive. Joe didn't say anything about it, and if not for this sign, we wouldn’t have known we were there. It is known for its stunning scenery of trees, gorges and valleys.

And here we are at our next stop, the Phezulu Safari Park. It’s a replica of a village (that means tourist attraction!) that shows the traditional Zulu culture and dancing. They also had a reptile enclosure with crocodiles and snakes.

The view in the park was so beautiful. My camera just couldn't do it justice.

The washrooms…touristy, but cute and very clean!

And of course, the gift shop!

Oh look! Bougainvillea!

Lots going on here…we actually could have spent more time. They had a beautiful candle shop, but sadly we only walked through it to get to the crocodile enclosure.

But first things first…we were hungry! You can see we are all acting our age…Rich! Jim and I had springbok…sorry, little critters. It was good.

I couldn't get over the scenery…


Part of the Zulu dancing ceremony... The girl on the left has her face painted white as she is a fortune teller in training. Also, all of the unmarried women would have bare breasts, but we didn't see any of them.

They danced for us…honestly, they all looked a little bored. We were a very small group and it looked like they were having a hard time to get motivated! But we enjoyed it and especially loved the music.



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The men got in on the act…



This is one of Rich's videos. He combined East London with Durban so it was a compilation of yesterday's dancers and today's.

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Did I say how beautiful it was??!

With the dancing over, we were invited to visit the huts. I made the mistake of entering one and next thing we were being given a tour of huts. Jeff and Jim were not amused!

It really was quite interesting. Women in the huts would always sit on the left with the men on the right. That gave the men quick access to their spears that they kept on the wall using their right hand if the need arose.

Isn’t she beautiful! Chubby women are prized here! I like!

Jim and Kim in the Valley of 1000 Hills…

On to the crocs…they were feeding kids to the crocs today.

We started off with the babies…


And worked up to the teenagers…crocodiles love the sun so this guy is making sure he gets his head in a sunny spot. The teens reach sexual maturity at about age 10 and there is no external difference between the males and females.

The crocs are fed once a week in the warmer months, and maybe once a month in the cooler months. They burn only about 20 calories a day. They are not fed at all during the winter, and a crocodile could probably survive an entire year without eating. They eat carcasses which are donated by local farmers.

This mama was getting ready to give birth, probably the next day. She was settling into this groove and didn’t seem to appreciate our guide, Tim’s efforts to get her interest.


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Look at them all trying to get the last rays of the sun…


Here is Tim with Junior and Junior’s girlfriend, Juliet, on the left.

Junior is a big, big boy! Crocodiles can live for up to 140 years, grow up to 6 metres long and weigh over a ton. Junior was born in 1905, is 4.3 metres long and weighs over 600 kg.


Juliet’s mouth inside was a mottled blue and yellow. Very pretty! She is just a baby at 60 years old and will continue to breed until she dies.

Yes, there is a croc here, but look at that view!

Tim is a herpetologist and has been working with crocs and snakes since he was a young boy in Botswana. This guy/girl is saying “back off!”

Once they open their mouths, they keep them open for a while. Conserves energy, I guess, in case they have to open them again.

New houses being built. Won’t they have a spectacular view? OK…enough of the view!

A biggie turtle…

I forget the name of this tree, but if the female bird doesn’t like the little nests, she will tear the tree apart and the male will have to do it over. Sound familiar?

And on to the snakes…this green mamba is a beautiful colour. It is found in the tree tops and hunts birds and animals. Paralysis sets in 30 minutes after a bite and, without treatment, death can occur within 9 hours.

This snake rose up to greet us. A lot of the animals have been brought here for rehabilitation after being injured.

A biggie python…

Not getting too close, but willing to touch!

It weighs 90 lbs…Jeff tried it on for size. It seemed to like him!

This little guy can’t be too harmful…right?

My face says “take the picture already!"

You wouldn’t believe how strong he was. He started twisting around and I started freaking. Notice how quickly Tim’s hand appeared. Look at my white knuckles on his tail. That’s probably why he was twisting!

And with that lovely day, we headed back to the ship. Lots of traffic going the other way. I’m glad we aren’t!

These vans are all taxis...

All those little specks are cars. Cars are both imported and exported out of Durban as many brands (like BMW) are assembled here. Lots and lots of cars…

Going on to these huge ships…

We had a lovely dinner on the back of the ship as we sailed away. Durban was very beautiful and we really enjoyed our day and our tour!

And we’re on to Mozambique!

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