Durban - Burn, rain, rain, rain.

Trip Start Dec 27, 2008
Trip End Jun 27, 2009

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Where I stayed
Hippo Hide Lodge And Backpackers

Flag of South Africa  , KwaZulu-Natal,
Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mention Durban to any South African and be prepared to hear the warnings, rightly so. Still a vibrant and exciting city but it doesn't feel as safe as it did last time I was here. We hear the Golden Mile is newly named 'Muggers Mile', great! Our hostel, Hippo Hide is in the Berea, a pretty safe neighbourhood. The place itself seems really secure and is clean, comfortable and reasonably cheap.

When we woke up on our first morning it was sunny! The weather up to now has been so changeable but despite it being the rainy season the weather here tends to be hot, sticky and humid up until around 3pm then gets stormy in the evening. We had heard that the Victoria Street Market is a really cool place for the traveller type, quite bohemian with ethnic craft and food. All we found was ten-a-penny curios and Indian Spices. As nice as the curios are, we really don't have room for them in the backpack and the spices would just make it smell. All in all, we spent about ten minutes there. The racist taxi driver who took us there had also warned us about muggers, "The Blacks'll just stab you and walk off, they don't run anywhere .... and the Indians, never trust an Indian" he ranted. In an act of instant karma his tyre burst just after he picked us up, he insisted on driving on it despite me telling him not to. It completely shredded. Annoyingly, this meant he had to drop us in a dodgy area, streets lined with folks selling fake ID. Walking along even in the middle of the day was a bad idea. Eventually we made it to the beach, phew!

Second day we went to Ushaka Marine World, a huge complex by the beach with aquarium, aquapark, shopping complex, surf school and private beach. It was only when we got there that we were told the aquapark is closed monday/tuesday, so instead of paying just for the aquarium and coming another day for the aquapark (a combo is cheaper) we made use of the private beach and shops that don't require any payment. The private beach is stunning and the weather was sublime so we just chilled there for a while and boy did I burn! I swear I put on half a bottle of spf30, but we didn't take much shade and the wind was incredibly strong, such is the climate of Durban. I'll never make that mistake again.

Then came the rain ...... Constantly ....... for three days. Enter Kag in a bag. Much of the rest of our time in Durban was spent in shopping centres, cinemas and the hostel. We managed to get to Gateway, the biggest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere which has a waverider and a climbing wall. This was all very impressive but was a massive drain on our daily budget, the taxi alone cost R400 return. But I moan too much, Durban is cool (actually it's very hot or very wet).

 Sorry about the lack of photos!
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