Tag Archives: durban

Memorials, Trees and a Chapel at The Old Fort in Durban (2018-02-07) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 09 FEB 2019

Durban’s Old Fort (just next to Kingsmead Stadium) has had a long history tied to military action – the site having been first established as a military camp by the British back in May 1842, when 237 men of the 27th Regiment and Royal Artillery under Captain Thomas Charlton Smith were sent in to respond to an imminent Boer threat.

Following the ensuing retaliatory siege by the Boers after the failed British attack on Congella (lifted only be the arrival of the schooner Conch and the frigate HMS Southampton), a permanent fort was built on the site and a permanent British garrison was based there with a larger force being stationed outside Pietermaritzburg at Fort Napier.

Over the years a number of British Regiments did garrison duty in Durban and eventually the fort was later leased by the War Office to the Durban Light Infantry where it was at last converted into cottages for veterans. (Incidentally, the magazine was converted into a chapel and given the tranquil, lush nature of the grounds, the chapel has proven to be one of the city’s most popular wedding venues over the years!)

These days the grounds are open to the public, providing a quiet green space within the bustling city. There are old military relics scattered about to discover, and if you are somewhat of a military nerd, then the hugely informative Warrors Gate M.O.T.H. (Memorable Order of Tin Hats) Museum and Shrine (situated on the grounds) is an absolute must.

Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in South African military history then.

Related Link: The Old Fort | Durban

A City within a City at MiniTown in Durban (2018-02-07) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 06 FEB 2019

Small buildings, check. Small boats, check. Small cars, check. Small planes, check. Small trains, check. Big smiles, check. Yup, we’re definitely in MiniTown, the smallest city within the city.

Amazingly, this miniature marvel (situated right on the beachfront) has been operating in the city of Durban since 1969. The structures are all built to a scale of 1:24, and the mini town boasts a large network of road, rail and water ways, complete with moving models and a large number of iconic Durban buildings.

With all the bright colors, moving boats, planes and trains, you’re pretty much guaranteed to walk out of there with a big grin on both your and your kids’ faces.

Also, they do host kids birthday parties in case you were wondering.

Related Link: Mini Town | Durban

Printing Badges with Kinetica at the KZN Construction Expo in Durban (2018-02-06) My Life | Photo Gallery 03 MAR 2018

I got to enjoy one of those rare occasions that Touchwork sends me out of the office at the start of February, sending me on a trip to Durban for a meeting with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (whose guest survey system runs atop our Kinetica platform) at their head office in Pietermaritzburg.

That part of the trip went pretty smoothly mind you. I slept over at my brother Ryan’s place in order to catch an early lift to Cape Town International, where the Mango flight to Durban went well, letting me touch down in the sweat inducing humidity of Durban right on scheduled time.

Kagiso from 3T Business Fusion joined me in my little hired Kia Picanto (which isn’t really that bad of a ride – much better than the little Honda Brio that I received the last time I needed to go to Pietermaritzburg), and following a non-eventful drive along the scenic N3, we made it just in time (literally) for the meeting, which pleasingly also went rather well.

However, that was just part one of my little business trip. As things worked out, Touchwork was once again deploying its Kinetica platform as Hypenica’s expo badge registration system for their 2017 edition of the KZN Construction Expo, and seeing as I was in the area, I was asked to join the team to make sure that everything ran smoothly in terms of the badge printing process on the day.

(Not a problem, especially if you consider that the team was to be based in the fabulous Hilton Hotel for the duration of the event! In case you are wondering why, it made logistical sense – literally next door to the Durban Exhibition Centre, where the expo was being held.)

Fancy hotel stay (and dinner arrangements) aside, the expo itself went very smoothly, my Kinetica system worked a charm (as per usual), and I of course made sure to saunter off every now and then to get some much desired sightseeing whenever I got a chance, resulting in strolls around the Gugu Dlamini Park, the Warrior’s Gate M.O.T.H. shrine and military museum, and the Old Fort grounds.

Oh, and for some reason I also slotted in a quick visit to Durban’s Mini Town, but only because there wasn’t any cricket scheduled at Kingsmead right next door.

So, a successful business trip then – though I would have felt a lot better had I not forgotten my long pants back in Cape Town…

(Oh, and not having a 2 hour delay on the flight back home would have been rather nice as well.)

Related Link: KZN Construction Expo | Touchwork | Durban

Things to See in South Africa: uShaka Marine World in Durban Travel Attractions 13 OCT 2016

One of Durban’s premier attractions is without a doubt the sprawling 16-hectare large uShaka Marine World theme park, home to one of the world’s largest saltwater aquariums as well as the highest water slide in the Southern Hemisphere!

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Opened in 2004 as one of the first phases of the Durban Point redevelopment project, uShaka Marine World comprises of five main sections, namely uShaka Sea World (the aquarium), uShaka Wet ‘n Wild (water slide theme park), uShaka Beach (a beach), uShaka Village Walk (a shopping and dining area), and uShaka Kids World (kids entertainment area).

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Entertainment options are almost limitless, with plenty to see and do throughout this amazing place. You can watch the penguins at the Penguin Rockery, be entertained by the dolphin show at the Dolphin Stadium, and laugh at Seals at the Seal Stadium. You can dive with the sharks, snorkel with the turtles, zip about in the Chimp & Zee rope adventure course, soak up the rays on the beach, or get wet on the multitude of water slides in the Wet ‘n Wild section.

Shopping, dining, and plenty of children’s entertainment means that this place is definitely worthy of a full day visit!

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The uShaka Sea World aquarium is very impressive the first time you visit (I think that I’ve been there twice already), and visiting it and its magnificently themed salt water tanks is reason enough to visit uShaka Marine World if you get the chance!

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So, basically, if you are a tourist in Durban, then you should definitely make the effort to spend at least one day at uShaka Marine World!

As per usual, here’s a handy map:

Related Link: uShaka Marine World | Wikipedia

Things to See in South Africa: Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban Travel Attractions 09 OCT 2016

Current home of the AmaZulu F.C. football club, the 2010 FIFA World Cup purpose built Moses Mabhida Stadium has become an iconic part of Durban’s skyline.

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This multi-use stadium is named after Moses Mabhida, a former General Secretary of the South African Communist Party and freedom fighter during South Africa’s Apartheid era.

Built on the grounds of the old Kings Park Soccer Stadium in Stamford Hill, the Moses Mabhida Stadium sports a strikingly clean and elegant design, punctuated by its iconic arch that is representative of a once divided nation finally coming together.

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Known affectionately as the hand basket stadium, the Moses Mabhida stadium has a variable seating design, that allows it to change spectator capacity to match event demand. This is achieved through the use of two permanent tiers of seating, with the ability to add temporary tiers if required.

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The stadium roof consists of Teflon-coated, glass-fibre membrane which produce a translucent glow when the stadium is lit. These are attached to the arch by thick steel cables, with the ‘roof’ covering around 88% of the seats.

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The stadium is primarily a sports stadium, having played host to games for both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2013 African Cup of Nations football tournaments. Outside of the local AmaZulu football games, the stadium also hosts the odd T20 international cricket game, and has even been utilized as a venue for the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Top Gear Festival live stadium shows.

It now eagerly awaits 2022, as Durban was awarded the rights to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which no doubt will add yet another feather in this beautiful stadium’s cap.

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The stadium also caters for tourism, offering guided stadium tours, the SkyCar – a funicular that travels up the arch, the People’s Park public space, Segway Gliding Tours, the Sky Walk, which is essentially a walk along the arch, and for those seeking a bit more adrenaline, the Big Rush Big Swing which allows you to swing off the arch itself! (The Big Swing is in fact the world’s only stadium swing, and also happens to be the largest swing of any kind anywhere!)

The Moses Mabhida Stadium has already won a number of awards for its design and innovation, and continues to be one of South Africa’s most beautiful stadiums.

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A handy map for if you want to seek out this stadium yourself:

Related Link: Moses Mabhida Stadium | Wikipedia

Things to See in South Africa: The Dick King Statue in Durban Travel Attractions 11 AUG 2016

Situated on the north shore of Durban Bay, the Victoria Embankment, also know as Esplanade, is Durban’s main promenade, stretching all around the waterfront and offering great views of the harbour. More or less at the center of this promenade you will stumble across a beautiful bronze equestrian statue dating back to August 1915 – the statue of Dick King.

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The statue commemorates Dick King and his heroic journey that is entwined in the history of Port Natal (now Durban).

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Port Natal was a British trading station in the region now known as KwaZulu-Natal. Richard ‘Dick’ King was an English trader and colonist based there, who became famous following his epic horseback journey that saw him cover a distance of 960 kilometres in 10 days (a journey that would  normally take 17), in order to request help for the besieged British garrison barricaded in at Itafa Malinde (now the Old Fort) of Port Natal from the British military outpost of Grahamstown.

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25 May 1842. Having successfully slipped out from a ship moored in the bay and escaping the Boer republic of Natalia’s Andries Pretorius (who was spearheading the siege), Dick King, accompanied by his 16-year-old servant Ndongeni, set out into the wilderness on horseback, fording  120 rivers and dodging attacks from both Zulu and Boer forces alike.

Without a saddle or bridle, the young Ndongeni could only make it halfway, but Dick King pushed on, covering the distance in a mere ten days, but arriving in a state of complete exhaustion. His message was heard, and a month later King returned aboard one of the British vessels carrying the relief parties, arriving in time to save the Port Natal garrison from imminent surrender or starvation.

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Later, Ndongeni would receive a farm at the Mzimkulu river and the humble King a farm at Isipingo for their services. On the 14 August 1915 this beautiful statue commemorating Dick King and his horse Somerset’s epic journey, and thus important piece of Durban’s history, was unveiled.

Related Link: Wikipedia | South African Guide | Mole’s Genealogy Blog

Meeting Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in Pietermaritzburg (2016-04-12) Photo Gallery 08 MAY 2016

We’re currently working on implementing my Kinetica feedback system for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (we’ve have been running SANParks on one of my systems for years now), and they needed a technical lead at the project initiation meeting – which naturally meant that I got to pack my laptop and join our sales lead Athi Myoli on a trip through to their Pietermaritzburg stronghold for the engagement.

Touchwork VERY seldom ever needs me to go out on business trips, in fact, up until April this year (seven and a half years in) I’ve only ever been to a handful of trips to Distell in Stellenbosch and two outside of the Western Cape (both to Johannesburg now that I think about it).

In other words, I genuinely was looking forward to the outing!

IMG_20160412_1 Cape Town International Airport early in the morning

The cheapest tickets are of course the earliest, which meant that just after 05:00 on Tuesday morning, I found myself milling about Cape Town International waiting on our Flysafair plane that would shortly be winging us to Durban.

Despite the relatively full airplane, I struck it lucky and got an aisle seat with no one directly next to me, meaning that I had ample amount of space on either side of me. Combine that with Flysafair’s slimline seats, and I enjoyed quite the comfortable flight.

(Though I do feel a little sorry for the lady and her baby sitting at the window seat of our three seat row – I still get quite excited by the prospect of flying, meaning that I’m forever straining to look out the window at all the sights!)

IMG_20160412_2 Landing at King Shaka International Airport in Durban via a pink and white Flysafair boeing

We landed at King Shaka International to a sunny and warm Durban without incident, where next we headed off to pick up our rented car – only to discover that Meghan hadn’t actually organised it yet! Luckily, sorting it out didn’t take long, and pretty soon we were taking possession of our good looking, blue Honda Brio.

As you might gather from the above sentence, I actually quite like the styling on the plucky little Honda, with the cabin being surprisingly spacious and the car pretty easy to drive. However, that said, the Brio is absolutely useless on the highway – it literally has no power whatsoever!

IMG_20160412_3 Hiring a Honda Brio car rental at King Shaka International airport durban

The drive through to Pietermaritzburg from Durban remains a beautiful, lush affair, and I thoroughly enjoyed the scenic trip – even without the ability to actually overtake anyone on the road. Google Maps handled all of the navigation, and outside of one small incident at the start where I changed lanes without spotting a Land Rover bearing down on me, the drive was pretty uneventful.

We did however hit a snag once we finally made it to the leafy entrance of Ezemvelo’s offices – we were a good two hours too early!

IMG_20160412_5 Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife headquarters in pietermaritzburg

Luckily for us though, the nearby Victoria Country Club, usually only open to golf club members, took pity on these two unusually on time Capetonians and allowed us to sit and enjoy breakfast in the otherwise deserted restaurant – somewhat of a treat when you consider the jaw dropping scenic beauty that the 120+ year old country club’s balcony tables deliver!

IMG_20160412_9 View from the restaurant at Victoria Country Club in Pietermaritzburg

Plus, breakfast was particularly delicious.

IMG_20160412_10 Athi Myoli eating breakfast at the restaurant at Victoria Country Club in Pietermaritzburg

Now thoroughly sated and relaxed, we returned to the leafy gates of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (situated in the Queen Elizabeth Park nature reserve) where the meeting went well and the day therefore a success.

With time to kill before we needed to be back in Durban for our evening flight back home, I convinced Athi that we simply HAD to go to the KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden, which she reluctantly agreed to despite her high heel shoes.

Following a brilliant stroll through some beautiful and exotic gardens (which I’ve already documented in the link above), we left the sadly slightly rundown Pietermaritzburg and made the long scenic drive back to Durban – though this time around it was a lot more excruciating thanks to the peak hour traffic we were caught up in!

IMG_20160412_15 Cattle sculpture Outside King Shaka International Airport in Durban

After some beer and ice cream at King Shaka Airport’s Spur franchise of all places, we accidentally nearly missed checking in for our flight, but following that everything ran smoothly as we returned safely to the arms of the Mother City.

(Pleasingly, my leg held up nicely for the full day of sitting, flying and walking about, though Athi did complain that it was like strolling around with an old man the entire day. I on the other hand complained non stop about the humidity and heat that is Durban/Pietermaritzburg.)

Sadly, due to misunderstanding how the Huawei P8 stores photos when launching the camera directly from the lock screen, I lost a lot of photos taken on the day, so there goes that. Luckily for me though, these few were posted to Facebook (thankfull, I’m pretty good with that), so something was at least salvaged for you to see:

(Note. All of this now reminds me that I still have a year old post regarding to last year’s trip to Sandton sitting in my Drafts folder! Guess I should actually get around to publishing that one day as well…)

Related Link: Touchwork | Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Photo Gallery: uShaka Marine World (2010-05-11) My Life | Photo Gallery 11 MAY 2010

One of my favourite spots to visit in Durban is of course the famous uShaka Marine World, a giant oceanarium that houses a remarkable variety of sea life, all presented in a brilliantly thought out wrecked ship theme.

This particular photo set arose out of our surprise trip to the Drakensberg in celebration of my 30th birthday (where the biggest surprise would of course be Chantelle revealing to me that she’s pregnant), with the new King Shaka airport in Durban being our point of entrance into that part of South Africa (Just in case you were wondering what we were doing in Durban if we were in fact off to the Drakensberg).