Durban and St. Lucia

After leaving the Drakensburg area we met up with Shenid and Lori in the city of Durban for the weekend. Durban is known for its Indian population and as the busiest port in South Africa (and the 9th busiest in the world!). In the 1880's thousands of Indian contract workers were imported from India to work in the booming sugar cane fields. Included in this group of immigrants was a young Mohandas (Mahatma) Ghandi. He arrived at the age of 24 in 1893 and set up his law practice in Durban. He stayed until 1914.

Durban is a modern, bustling city. It has a great waterfront area, pictured here.

Many signs similar to this one are posted on the beaches.

In case you can't read it it is a shark warning. The warm currents provide a healthy environment for Great White sharks. The City of Durban has installed shark nets around the city due to a number of attacks in the 1950's.

The highlight of the stay in Durban was the opportunity to watch traditional Zulu dancing. As mentioned earlier, Lori is doing a book of photographs on traditional African dancing. At the run-down YMCA in Durban dance contests are held every Saturday night. They start at 10pm and don't end until 9am. Lori knew one of the judges and went inside to talk to him before we went in to make sure it would be safe. After she told him she had a group of Americans who wanted to see the dancing they gave us the royal treatment. The put seats right up front for us and brought us cokes. They were very nice and hospitable. Another 'authentic African experience'. The African people can be so, so nice. The dancing and singing was really neat. Groups of men come in from the villages to compete. The women would walk up to the front of the room where they were and make cryptic signs that we learned meant things like "this man is mine" and "I've got a secret about this one" and other similar messages.

I regret I didn't bring my flash so I couldn't take pictures.

There is a great Indian market in Durban. The animal parts you could buy there!!! Still fresh in my mind is a large table covered with goat's heads. Also tripe and brains and many other organs Americans don't generally eat.

I did buy some authentic curry and some Breyani (another Indian spice combination).

From Durban we travelled through Zulu country to the nature preserve of St. Lucia. We had envisioned this as merely a stopover on the way to Kruger NP but there was a lot to do there. Due to time constraints we couldn't stay longer but would plan on more time there if I go back.

It was here that we started seeing wildlife, like this warthog and the monkey below.

The monkey was spotted on a quick morning hike we took where the following sign was posted at the trailhead.

If you can't read it it says in part "Please note that the area is not fenced in and that you may encounter dangerous animals such as black rhinocerous, hippos, buffalo (water), leopards, and crocodiles". It also says "Children under the age of 12 (twelve) are not allowed on this trail"! In other words, the dangerous animals really like kids that size.

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