Wild Card Tourism

By Marlijn van Berne

It is highly likely, that like me, you will have done something totally off-the-charts!! Come on! Let’s be honest. We may not want to admit to it, but some of our ‘out-of-the-box’ experiences are usually the ones we are most proud of (and I am not talking about the really dubious ones – those you keep to yourself. Thank you very much). So what mind-boggling, hair-raising, finger-licking, plain crazy, yet strangely comforting (for some), exhilarating and exquisitely beautiful, Tourism Treats does Durban have to offer?

 

Visit the Sharks Board and head out to Sea

The guys and girls from the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence in Durban, have their work cut out for them. The KwaZulu-Natal coastline is the only coastline with 37 beaches equipped with bather safety gear owned and maintained by Sharks Board; a global leader protecting surfers and swimmers against sharks while minimising environmental impact and promoting tourism.

Where? 1A Herrwood Drive, Umhlanga, Durban, KwaZulu Natal.

When? Displays and curio shop open from Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 16h00,        Audio-visual presentation and shark dissection, Tuesday to Thursday at 09h00 and at 14h00, Sundays at 14h00. Closed all Public Holidays.

How? Call +27 (0)31 566-0499

Join the team for a dynamic audio-visual show and shark dissection in Umhlanga, or, if you are up for it, join an early morning trip out to sea and observe staff at work as they check the nets and safety gear. If this is more your thing, you’ll have to be at Wilson’s Wharf at the Durban Harbour at the crack of dawn. Bring something warm; a thermos of steaming coffee will do the trick, and bring a camera; this is the time and place to snap Durban Harbour and coastline at its most beautiful. Not to mention some of our more inquisitive marine friends such as dolphins, turtles, and rays.

 

Aquarium Diving

Staying with the wet and wonderful – why not try scuba diving at Durban’s Ushake Marine World. For this experience you don’t have to travel out to sea, but can rather descend under the waves in the comfort of this Durban-based aquarium. Count on getting up close and personal with a wide variety of marine animals through one of three adventures on offer: There is the Snorkel Experience where there is little for you to do except float, breathe and look; there is The Oceanwalker Experience, which allows you to walk among the sea’s beautiful creatures using an innovative device called an ‘Oceanwalker’; and for the really brave, you can test your mettle with The Xpanda Shark Dive and a close encounter with Ragged Tooth sharks and Brindle bass at close range.

 

Moses Mabhida Stadium- the Big Swing

Looking for an adrenaline rush with a view, this is just the thing for you! ‘The Big rush, big swing’ at the Moses Mabhida Stadium allows you to jump over the world cup football pitch, 106 meters above the ground, and swing out at 120 kph, in a massive 220 meter arc.

Website: bookings@bigrush.co.za,  Tel: 031-312-9435

 

Up, up and away!!

If you would like a really good bird’s eye view of Durban and its surroundings then a flip in a helicopter or a tandem paragliding flight is truly the “over the top” experience you will never forget. If you have just over an hour and would still like to see as much of Durban as possible, then an exciting helicopter tour is just for you. If you don’t mind the idea of being suspended high above the ground in a harness, then tandem paragliding is an adventure you will never forget! Take off running with a licensed tandem rated Paragliding Instructor until airborne and then just sit back and enjoy the view!! Tandem flights usually last between    15 to 20 minutes flying time, although you can book them for longer periods if arranged. Nonetheless, you should plan to spend at least a half day or full day in flight mode, to accommodate both travelling, weather/flying conditions and pre-flight checks and preparations.

For a helicopter flip, contact Durban Helicopter Tours:

Tel: 0079 887 8033   Cell: 079 887 8033

For Tandem Paragliding flights contact Skyguide Paragliding:

Tel: 031 701 5774      Cell: 082 904 1020

 

Walk Among “Living Fossils” at the Botanical Gardens

For a more sedate but equally exciting experience, I can highly recommend visiting our beautiful Botanical Gardens, which you will find a few minutes’ walk from bustling Warwick Triangle at 9A John Zikhale (Sydenham) Road, Greyville. Africa’s oldest surviving botanical gardens were founded in 1849, and house one of the world’s top collections of “living fossil” plants or Wood’s Cycads. Extinct in the wild, this extremely precious plant is named after John Medley Wood, earlier curator of the Botanic Gardens, who discovered the plant in Ngoya Forest in 1895. The Garden also has a unique selection of more than eighty heritage trees from all over the world, some of which exceed one hundred years old. Walking alongside such splendour it is easy to get transported to another era – described by some as “stepping onto the set of Jurassic Park.” But that is not all.. the Durban Botanic Gardens offers additional excitement as it also rocks the music scene! Kicking off your conference, music lovers can listen to Blues Rock at the Gardens, on Sunday the 17th of July!

Featuring DAN PATLANSKY, ALBERT FROST & HEZRON CHETTY, the event starts at 14:00. Tickets (Adults): presold R140.00 or R160.00 on-the-day, while kids (8 – 12 years) are R60.00.

Available online at: https://www.webtickets.co.za/events/featured/old-mutual-music-at-the-lake-series/4612264 or at the Information Office at the Gardens. Gates open: 13h00 for presold ticket holders / 13h30 for on-the-day sales.

 

City Cycle Tour of Durban

I love cycling!! Having been raised in the Netherlands, cycling is second nature – and not only is it a good way to get fit, it is also a great way to get around! Enjoy Durban’s top sights at an easy pace and with input from an expert guide. From Snell Parade to Durban’s lovely beachfront promenade, get the wind in your hair and the sea breeze in your face. Chosen to ensure safety and ease of travel (it’s flat!) the route takes you past some of Durban’s most prominent and beautiful monuments. So what are you waiting for? Read more about this absolute ‘must do’!!

City Cycle Tour with Viator at: http://www.viator.com/tours/Durban/City-Cycle-Tour-of-Durban/d315-17696P1?aid=vcps

 

Horse Rides on the Beach

If however, you are dreaming of cantering across a wide expanse of sandy beach and enjoying an adventure on horseback, look no further! Enjoy the wind in your hair as race along the beautiful Reunion beach, just south of Durban. This beach ride has to be one of my all-time favourite rides – although Horseback Beach Adventures also offer sunset rides and bush trails. They cater for everyone, tailor their rides to suit your needs and have at least one experienced guide to look after you. The trails on offer are between 2 and 7 hours long with afternoon, sunset and evening trails. There are mini-endurance trails and swimming with the horses for the more advanced rider, as well as advanced or beginner trails and romantic adventures for couples.

For more information or to make a booking, please contact Terrence or Amelia on: 0844670752 or 0814779348 or email: horsebeachrides@gmail.com

 

My Favourites

Visiting Durban can be a crazy, wonderful adventure! There are so many not-to-miss attractions and probably just not enough time to enjoy them all.. which leads me to the fact that you will just have to come back to enjoy it a bit more! However, in the mean time, let me share a few of my favourite past-times with you:

Live Music

Ask anyone and you will most likely get the same answer: for live music in Durban, do yourself a favour and take a taxi to the Rainbow Restaurant and Jazz Club in Pinetown. This joint plays host to some of South Africa’s biggest names in the genre and never disappoints.

Address: Stanfield Lane, Pinetown, Durban, South Africa

Telephone: (031) 702 9161., Website: http://therainbow.co.za

For classical music in Durban, take a night off with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. There are weekly performances at the City Hall and there is an interesting spring concert programme to choose from.

Address: West Street, Durban, South Africa

Telephone: (031) 311 1111. Website: http://kznphil.org.za/calendar/

 

When it comes to adventure, scenery, food and music, Durban offers a breathtaking, lively and vibrant smorgasbord of exhilarating experiences that one can indulge in, for sure. The city has since undergone a number of face-lifts over time, and it may be quite an overwhelming experience for the first timers who may have some difficulty on deciding where to go and what to do. Don’t be shy, just ask! Word of mouth is often the best recommendation and you don’t want to miss out on this great city and its many beautiful attractions!