It was refreshing to see a modern city as we coasted into this port, the first since Dubai. But, while the infrastructure is superior to the previous cities we visited, it still felt primitive in comparison to western cities of comparable size.
We took the shuttle across the port area and then caught the “People Mover” a bus service for which you can purchase a daily pass and hop on and off wherever/whenever you want. It’s not just for tourists, locals use it also because it is cheap and convenient. The ship was only docked for half a day in this port so, unable to walk the city, this provided us with a bit of an overview in the short time that we had.
Our first stop was the Victoria Indian street Market, recommended by our guide from the previous day (a Durbanite). It was an interesting market but we actually enjoyed the rougher and dirtier market across the street (that wouldn’t have been on the cruise-line tours!) more. There we saw everything from 50s-style dresses to unwrapped rolls of toilet paper for sale. It was, at the same time, sad and homey.
It being a Saturday, the streets were teaming and we enjoyed the various local people, produce and goods along the street back to the bus stop. Then we headed to where I think half of the city of Durban (total 3.5 million) were spending their day off…the beach!
It was such an amazing mass of humanity – it really blew us away! People (probably 99% black) completely obscured a few sections of the beach where they seemed to be playing a game of ‘dare the waves’. The sound as they all raced into the surf was loud and happy and friends and family watched with delight from further up the beach. Some lucky families huddled under tall thin palms for the meagre shade they provided, others stuck colourful umbrellas in the sand. Young children paddled in the large wading pools which offered reprieve from the extremely hot sun. They were all having the time of their life!
Cape Town next…and then to see the big 5!