Durban – The East coast

After a magical stay in Knysna, we hit the road to Durban.

Before reaching our final destination, we made several stops to visit the south coast.

Port Elizabeth

This city is called “P.E” or “friendly city” (with 312,400 inhabitants) by the locals. We really felt a cool and relaxed vibe in this town. P.E is a large car manufacturing platform (Ford, GM, Volkswagen) combining large companies and beautiful beaches.

P.E Beaches

We arrived at night at our couch surfer Gregory.

Greg lives in a cozy apartment above a school and art gallery. We spent the evening with his friend Danny and they prepared a special meal for dinner, a Thai Satay with a glass of Gin Tonic. Thank you Greg.

The next day Danny took us to visit “Happy Valley”, a pretty valley situated just behind Greg’s home. Then we went to the beach and Mac Donalds!

Danny & Angie

After this short stay at P.E, we hit the road to East London to spend a little night at our Couch Surfer Guy in a beautiful house close to the beach. The next day, no time to visit, we quickly took the road to Durban with a challenging 9 hours drive.

Durban

Between East London and Durban there are 600 Km but in order ro reach your destination, you need between 8 and 9 hours of driving! Indeed if you want to get to the third largest city in South Africa (595 061 inhabitants), you have to go through several small villages, situated in the middle of many big hills, with a massive amount of truck driving ridiculously slowly. As soon as we got close to Durban we discovered a very exotic part of South Africa with a lot of big trees a tropical vibe.

We arrived in Durban around 7pm for our new couch surfing at Jessie’s. But when we got the address, we realized that Jessies’ place was in fact, a backpacker accomodation! The backpacker is named “AWE Africa”

“Awe” (“awesome”) is a word often used by the South Africans in many cases. For example at a petrol station, after they have filled up your car you say « awe » to thanks them.

We met the owner, drank a beer on the terrace, played pool and slept in a dorm with other travelers. A great time in a stylish place with a very very cool atmosphere and high people.

The view from the Terrasse
The Backpacker’s swimming pool

We were able to enjoy the city only on Saturday morning as we planned to go to Johannesburg straight after (5 hours drive). Durban is situated in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is a place with a unique atmosphere, large buildings along the beaches and a shopping district with an Indian vibe. Indeed there is a large Indian community in Durban. It is mainly due to the arrival of migrants from colonial India in the early 20th century. They are called the Natal Indians.

Many surfers come to Durban to enjoy the waves

We managed to admire the great beaches and surfers who come to enjoy the morning waves. We walked in the streets where the Victoria Street Market is located (we felt like we were in Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius). In Durban city center, you can find little shops. Then on the street there are vendors, offering / screaming a wide variety of products (food, jewelry or witchcraft products… You can find everything!). We tasted one of the city’s specialties, the “Bunny Chow”, a square bread emptied then filled with a curry. The origin of it would be, that at the time when the Indians arrived in South Africa, they could not eat their famous roti (a kind of Indian crepe) to accompany their dish, and also they needed a way to transport the curry.

Victoria Street Market
Stand de sorcellerie
Vente d’épices
Noe ordering a Bunny Chow

After this lovely morning, we went to the uShaka Marine World Aquarium, the largest aquarium in Africa and the 5th largest in the world. We have unfortunately not been able to do all the activities that this large park offers (diving with sharks, watch dolphins and killer whales …) But we still managed to enjoy the aquarium and all their incredible marine species.

And our stay in Durban was already finished, we had to hit the road to Johannesburg and enjoy a family moment in the largest city of South Africa.

 

 

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