It was becoming obvious to me that my sleeping pattern was still out of whack as I woke up around 4:30 in the morning and didn’t feel like I was going to be able to get back to sleep due to my multi-hour snooze the day before. Luckily though, I was able to take the time to enjoy the sunrise from my ocean-view room as the morning came upon the shores of Durban.
While it was relatively quiet at first, it wouldn’t be long before the morning activity would begin with the occasional runner or cyclist passing on the Golden Mile below. It was also interesting to watch what was going on as there appeared to be some kind of a religious or spiritual ceremony taking place in the waters of the Indian Ocean.
As the sun started to get brighter, more and more people began to make their way onto the Golden Mile. It would get even busier thanks to the fact that this day was Human Rights Day, which is a recognized public holiday in South Africa. So that meant a lot of people had the day off, and decided to come and spend it with friends and family on the shore.
Another popular morning activity was that of surfing. There were quiet a few people who came to enjoy the early morning waves of the ocean, some of which were large enough to splash well over some of the piers.
Before long, the sun was now starting to climb above the distant ocean clouds and brighten up the day.
It was at this point that I decided I wanted to take advantage of the early wake-up and go for a swim in the ocean before it was really hot. With my hotel being located right across the street from Battery Beach, it only took but maybe five minutes from the front door to the shoreline sand, which included utilizing the stairs of one pier that had steps in the water from the occasional wave. This called for taking off the shoes and going right into wading mode until getting to higher ground, and finding a place to put my shoes and towel.
This was a great spot for a swim, and because it was early it wasn’t crowded as there were maybe 5-10 people in the immediate area where I was, other than the suffers who were much further out in the water. The water was much warmer than I anticipated, which made jumping right in quite pleasant. I wouldn’t go for long as the waves were pretty strong, but along with the sunrise, it made for an very enjoyable start to the day.
Heading back to the hotel, it was time for breakfast, and with the booking of my room, it was included. The breakfast spread had a great variety including an omelet station, a variety of meats and fruits, and even a waffle making station, with staff on hand to make many of the items for you. The view in which I had to enjoy breakfast was also pretty tough to beat thanks to nearby Moses Mabhida Stadium in the background.
As I set out to explore Durban, I was intending to go and visit a few attractions in the city but found that some of them were closed due to Human Rights Day, so I would end up taking a stroll around one of them. The Old Fort was a former military base utilized by the British when that had South Africa as a colony. Inside of their shorter walls is a beautiful green space that features open space, a large number of shady trees, and a few pieces of military equipment. While it was easy to see over the fencing from the outside, I wish that the fort was open so as to be able to explore more, but I figured that I could always come back the next day.
With my discovery that most museums I had an interest in were closed for the holiday, I decided to take advantage of the car, and take a drive to an area called the Valley of 1000 Hills, which sits about 30 minutes of drive time to the West of Durban. This area can be best described as an absolutely beautiful part of the greater Durban area, as there are some incredibly large hills covered in green from the grass, trees and plants of the area. Part of the drive taken through the heart of the valley involved driving on some crazy winding roads that had some decent climbs and descents, but the added challenge to the drive was well worth it for the views.
Along the way, I took a break and stopped for a beer or two in the town of Drummond at the Drum and Bell Country Pub. This place felt like it could have easily fit right in if it were back home had it not been for the different brands of beers and the accents of the visitors inside. This stop was also made more enjoyable because of my conversation with the bartender (whose name I unfortunately did not catch) and a few of the patrons inside. The topics of conversation ran all over the place from things to do in South Africa, to Nelson Mandela, to the differences between the US and South Africa when it comes to pricing. This, along with the drive here, was truly a treat for this absolutely beautiful day!
On the way back to Durban, I continued on the same road until it came back towards to N3 highway, essentially making a loop, and I would hop back on it to go back into town. There was a few stops made, however, because of farm animals in the road. They were not in my way as I drove, but I had not anticipated actually seeing it while in South Africa because I suppose I had assumed that was something more likely to happen in other parts of the continent, yet there they were, just chilling out right beside or on the roadway.
When I got back to the hotel, I took a few moments to admire the beautiful day from the deck now that the sun was really out, although as time went on, the clouds started to roll in with the threat of rain that would really hit the next day.
It was at this point that I decided to go for a walk along the Golden Mile toward the North and make a visit to Suncoast Casino. I’m not a huge gambler, but it can still be fun to go into a casino and see what games they have, and maybe play with a little bit of money. This casino offers a few things I had not seen at other casinos, such as a food court with a lot of chain restaurants (most of which were South African chains if I am not mistaken other than KFC), there was also an 8-screen movie theater which was showing Black Panther (Not gonna lie, I thought about going to see it just so I could say I saw the movie IN Africa, but I decided to take a further walk on the Golden Mile instead).
As for the actual gaming areas, it seemed like it was a smaller part of the whole complex than what you find at most resort casinos in the states. It was also interesting to see that the most popular table game was Roulette, as it had the most players and the most tables. They also have a wide variety of slot machines to play, as well as blackjack and a table game variation of poker. I did play a little bit of roulette, and ended up doubling the money I had put in. It wasn’t much as I started with R100 and ended with R210, but at least I ended on a positive. I did come back for a little bit the next day and did even better as I started with R100 and ended with R240
In walking to Suncoast, I had discovered this sign in which it warned about not feeding the monkeys that lived in the area. I figured that it was one of those things where maybe you would see one, but didn’t expect that not even 10 steps later I would see a few of them in the area.
When I finished at the Casino, I walked back toward the South, going as far as the Fun World amusement park, and along the way I found even more monkeys! This time there was at least twice as many if not more.
But the best part of all was seeing a momma monkey with it’s little baby still riding along with her as she went about the area. There was a point in which baby started to go on his own climbing around, usually while chasing a younger friend.
After the walk, it was back to the hotel room for some unwinding and relaxing as I was hoping to get back on track with somewhat of a regular sleeping pattern. There was still one more day to explore Durban before getting onto the plane for the next stop in Cape Town.
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