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14/09/2018

The Warmest Place To Be

Durban, 'the warmest place' is a popular tourist destination. However, when visitors arrive for a holiday, a question that is often asked is "What should we do today?"

Recent family visitors, on a ten-day visit, to our beautiful city discovered that there are plenty of attractions:golden beaches, Zulu culture, the Victoria Spice Market, heritage trails and sporting activities. An overnight stay in a game reserve offered memorable animal encounters.

We travelled a little further to spend a few days in the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains.

Day One
For a start, we decided our guests needed to be Durbanites and join us for an early morning visit to the beachfront to cycle along its world class promenade, followed by a swim in the ocean.

After parking at the carpark at Addington Beach (next to uShaka Marine World), we took a walk along the uShaka Pier to enjoy the sunrise. Watching the swimmers, surfers and stand up paddlers relishing the warm Indian ocean waters meant that our guests were soon longing to be able to catch the waves.

Nearby, Ocean Ventures offers surf boards and kayaks for hire and lessons if required. They offer dolphin and whale viewing on a rigid inflatable boat as well.

Xpression on the Beach, situated above Surf Riders Café, also offers paddleboards, surfboards and bodyboards to hire and lessons.

But today, a bicycle ride had been proposed. However, coffee and breakfast were first needed to fuel the ride.

While the promenade offers a wide range of restaurants and coffee spots, our choice for the morning was Surf Riders Café. The relaxed eatery offers great poached eggs or granola and yogurt amongst its breakfast selection - which lived up to expectation.

After watching the endless stream of cyclists (walkers and joggers, of all ages, including dogs on leads) passing by, our guests were happily up to the challenge of hiring a tandem bicycle.

With a few false starts, much laughter and some nervous peddling, we were off to explore the promenade further. The brick-paved promenade stretches 5.6 km north from uShaka Marine World, past the Suncoast Casino to Blue Lagoon at the Umgeni River mouth, a total distance of 11.2 km which makes a great opportunity for a leisurely and safe cycle while enjoying the "Golden Mile".

The promenade is currently being extended further south all the way to the harbour entrance at North Pier.

Cycling north, we stopped to watch several families with small children enjoying a splash in the paddling pools. Above us, the cable car located at the amusement park provided tourists a scenic view of the Durban beach-front.

The various sandcastles dotted along the beaches entertained us with their brand endorsements, happy birthday messages and even marry me proposals! We cycled passed the amphitheatre and stopped next to the beautiful Sunken Gardens, which invite a stroll through.

Another stop was alongside the skate park, in front of the Bay of Plenty, where skateboarders, roller-skaters and BMX riders test their skills. Alongside, the popular restaurant Circus Circus was being well patronised.

We cycled passed Minitown, which provides an interesting perspective on Durban's landmarks at 1:25 scale.

A slight incline took a bit more leg power, but the flat was again soon reached. The promenade has a total ascent of 9.78 m and has a maximum elevation of 19.42 m.

Cycling passed the Suncoast Casino revealed much construction activity as renovations and massive expansions are underway - to provide more entertainment options for Durban's visitors! We admired the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium as we continued cycling past Country Club Beach and glided effortlessly down to the Blue Lagoon pier, which is a popular fishing spot.

A quick turn around and we were on our return journey. After a slight hill to climb, we are beginner cyclists, the Bike and Bean (also a bike hire outlet) was a good place for a pit stop for a refreshing cooldrink.

A bit more peddling and too soon, we were back at Ocean Ventures to return our bikes well satisfied with our 'exercise'. A refreshing swim in the sea was now in order!

(Read Day Two in What Works edition 2)

 The Warmest Place To Be.JPG
 The Warmest Place To Be.pdf


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