In my first drive, I somehow managed to get myself within a few blocks of the first hotel of the trip along the Northern Beaches of Durban, and since it was still fairly early in the morning, I found a place to park and took a walk around the area.
Sitting on the shores of the Indian Ocean, Durban features a waterfront area along its Northern Beaches called the Golden Mile that had been revamped in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup as Durban was one of the host cities for South Africa. The walkway stretches from the Suncoast Hotel and Casino to uShaka Beach and features a variety of restaurants and attractions.
One of the said attractions along the Golden Mile is Mini Town. This is a walk-through attraction features miniature models of various buildings, several of which can be found in Durban.
One of the neatest features of Mini Town is the inclusion of some operable portions of the models including a working train line that circles a large portion of the space, vehicles driving down a roadway, a drawbridge that raises and lowers to allow for the train crossings and boat passages, a working carnival with several rides, and a plane that taxis around the runway of the model airport.
Just down from Mini Town is the Sunken Garden. The garden sits inside of dip in the ground, and there are a few stories about how it came to be. The most interesting perhaps being that during World War II, Italian prisoners of war captured in Northern Africa were kept in Durban, but since Durban did not have the means of building a proper fortified prison camp, the Italian POW’s were given a gentleman’s agreement that if they were not to flee from Durban, they could freely roam the city. Because of this gesture, they built the gardens as a way to say thank you.
Along Durban’s Golden Mile, several locals work on some incredible sand castles and sand artwork. The level of detail is really impressive, and with a little bit of a tip, they gladly welcome you to take pictures of and with the work.
One of the artists will even make a personal touch to theirs.
Further South on the Golden Mile is an area known as the Marine Parade, which featured a play pool that includes a unique set of stepping stones you can walk on it and a water slide in the center pool. Alongside of the pools there is a small amusement park called Fun World, however I did not go as there as with the exception of the sky ride, most of the other rides did not seem to be running either due to no riders or because some of them were in a non-operable state (and no, there was not a roller coaster in the park).
But the highlight of this portion of the Golden Mile was being able to walk out on the pier and take in the views of the waterfront.
During this time before checking into my hotel, I also took a drive out to Moses Mabhida Stadium, which was the venue for World Cup Matches hosted in Durban. The arch that spans from one end of the stadium to the other is what really makes this stadium stand out. The arch helps to hold up the canopy that covers a large portion of the seats from the sun.
The stadium also features several restaurant and shops that are open on a regular basis. There is also a free exhibit that features the stadiums Namesake, Moses Mabhida, who was considered to be a prominent member of the movement to bring an end to Apartheid.
After doing some exploring, I would get checked into my hotel for the next two nights, the Blue Waters. As luck would have it, I was able to find a great deal on an ocean-view room and would be given a room on the 16th floor that offered an amazing view! This would especially play dividends the next morning.
At this point, I discovered that I was still suffering from a bit of jetlag as I had intended to take about a 20-minute nap, and it turned into a 3+ hour off and on snooze. Because of this, I decided to make it an easy night so that I could do more exploring the next day and went down to the hotel Lounge known as the Blue Dolphin to enjoy a beer and one of their hand made pizzas. The lounge has both indoor seating and an outdoor patio that surrounds the pizza cooking area. For dinner, I decided to get the Eastern Hawaiian which was a ham and pineapple pizza. While I’m not sure of the type of cheese they used, it was a delightful pie, with the ham essentially melting in your mouth. A great way to cap off the end of the first day in Durban.
With that, it would be time to head to bed to get ready for another day in Durban.
See more of 2018 South Africa Trip:
1: Flight to Atlanta & Delta Flight Museum / 2: Arrival to South Africa / 3: First Day in Durban /
4: Second Day in Durban / 5: Last Day in Durban / 6: V&A Waterfront / 7: Cape Town City Sightseeing Tours /
8: Table Mountain / 9: Ratanga Junction / 10: Rugby at Newlands Rugby Stadium / 11: Cape Town Walking Tours /
12: Cape of Good Hope / 13: Boulders Beach Penguins / 14: The Last of Cape Town / 15: Cape Town Water Shortage /
16: Sightseeing Around Johannesburg / 17: More Johannesburg Sightseeing / 18: Botswana Day Trip /
19: Kruger National Park, Day 1 / 20: Kruger National Park, Day 2 / 21: Kruger National Park, Day 3 /
22: Gold Reef City Resort & Amenities / 23: Apartheid Museum & Rand Show / 24: Gold Reef City Theme Park /
25: The Return Home