We only did an overnight in Durban and a full-day excursion outside the city to Shakaland before being transferred to the airport for our flight to Cape Town. Therefore, our exploration of Durban was limited to what we saw out of the shuttle van windows en route to and from the airport. However, our Shakaland visit was wonderful. We learned about the Zulu culture and history through hands-on experiences in this recreated village.
Durban kind of reminds me of South Florida with its beaches lined with palm trees. The city also has a very busy harbor. We could see the huge cargo ships lined up in the Indian Ocean waiting for their turn to enter the port.
The similarity with Florida ended as soon as our van turned away from the beach and entered the concrete jungle of this metropolis. It was the afternoon rush hour with people and cars going every which way. However, like in most of the cities we visited in South Africa, everything but the restaurants seems to close at 5 PM.
Our lodging for the evening was the Hilton Durban Hotel located downtown next to the Durban Convention Center. It is a first-class hotel with amenities galore - shops, fitness center, business center, restaurants, etc. Traci and I had a nice, spacious room with a queen-sized bed, refrigerator, and marble bathroom counter tops. Although our room overlooked the parking lot of the convention center, it offered a nice view of the Durban skyline.
streets of Durban near the beach
our room at the Hilton Durban Hotel
the view from our room
The bellman brought our luggage to our room and then asked us if we would like a tour. Anticipating a tour of the hotel facilities, Traci and I agreed. Instead, the guy came into the room and began: "This is the television. This is the remote control. This is the bathroom. This is the telephone..." This wasn't quite the tour I was expecting. Nonetheless, we followed him around the room trying to keep a straight face. Despite his short tour of the obvious, the bellman did manage to pass on some useful information - namely, the location of a spare electrical outlet and which converter to use. The converter I brought with me could fit the receptacles in Johannesburg and Kapama; however, it would not fit the ones in Durban, Cape Town, or Sun City. The bellman went downstairs to the front desk and brought us the correct converter that allowed us to recharge our camera batteries.
The thing I will remember most about the Hilton Durban is the fabulous buffet dinner we had in its Rainbow Terrace Restaurant. This place had everything from ribs to caviar. There were carving stations, a grilling station, and a stir fry station in addition to salad and vegetable bars. There was also a section of delicious Indian food. Durban has a huge population of Indians due the Indians that were brought to the city as laborer in the late 1800's. There were three dessert tables and, if these dessert tables were not enough, there was also a waitress coming to each table to make crepes for everyone who wanted them. We had a great time trying all of the delicious foods on this buffet. Unfortunately, Susan did not join the rest of us during this marvelous meal. She had been suffering with a cold since we first landed in Johannesburg. She was feeling lousy by the time we got to Durban. We all felt sorry for her. Fortunately, she began to feel better by the next day.
Traci is trying caviar for the first time...
I don't think she likes it.
...but the ribs were da bomb!