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Cruise Port: Durban, South Africa

Cruise ships come into the Ocean Terminal, in the all purpose port of Durban in Natal Bay. Containers dominate one side.

The city sits on the other side.

Local entertainers greeted us with native dances.

The South African government requires a face-to-face immigration procedure that was carried out on board so even though the passenger terminal is large we never entered it.

Passengers were not allowed to walk in the port for safety reasons.

Free shuttle buses and taxis were immediately available.

The free shuttle bus took passengers to UShaka Marine World in the eastern area of town, a 20-25 minute ride through the city.

For more on this area see below, UShaka Marine World, under Sites, Beachfront

Sites

The main areas of Durban are the city center, the Indian District, and the beachfront Golden Mile.

City Center
The city center is considered a bit rough and should be visited with care. There are some historic buildings there and a large shopping mall, The Workshop that is in decline. In addition:

Kwa Muhle Museum (also known as the Apartheid Museum)
A visit here will give you an understanding of apartheid and modern South Africa. Monday-Saturday 8:30a, to 4pm, Sunday 11am-4pm. Free

Indian District
A 20 minute walk from the city center, the Indian District is one of the oldest areas in Durban.

Victoria Street Market
Includes over 170 stalls selling all kinds of trinkets , leather goods, spices, and fabrics. Food stalls upstairs serve up a variety of delicious foods. Beware of pickpockets.

Beachfront

UShaka Marine World is the largest aquarium in the Southern Hemisphere. It includes an oceanarium, amusement park, a private beach and mall.

It has lot of shops for buying souvenirs from beaded jewelry to ostrich skin shoes and zebra hides.

An ATM machine makes paying simple but most shops take credit cards.

The beach and The Golden Mile lies just beyond.

Shops offer bikes for short-term rental and others where you can hire instructors and equipment for water activities such as scuba diving, surfing, boogie boarding, and swimming.

Rickshaws rides along the Golden Mile are also available.

Restaurants and bars are situated along the beach and provide a beautiful view with sea breezes.

One offered a seafood special for two that included a bottle of wine for US$ 40.

The seafood platter turned out to be enough for three or four. It included mussels in curry sauce, prawns, fish fillet, calamari, a green salad with tomatoes, French fries ,spicy rice and rolls.

Free face painting came with the meal.

Background

The origin of Durban goes back to 1824 when twenty five men under the command of British Lieutenant F. G. Farewell arrived from Cape Colony to establish a settlement on the Bay of Natal near today’s Farewell Square in the center of the present city. The new town was named after the governor of the Cape Colony, Sir Benjamin D’urban and became a British colony twenty years later. Settlers emigrated from Europe and Cape Colony and thousands of laborers from India came as indentured servants to work in the production of coffee, sugar, and cotton. After the war with the native Zulus, and later with the Dutch settlers, Boers, British rule became firmly established until 1910 when the Union of South Africa was created. Racial problems and apartheid have taken their toll on Durban but it is now a thriving city with a population of about one million. It is the third largest city in the Union of South Africa and is considered the busiest port in Africa.

The unit of currency is the South African Rand. Banks are open Monday to Saturday 8:30 am to 3:30 pm with early closing on Saturday at 11 am.

To buy books about South Africa from Amaon.com click here.

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