Durban, South Africa

February 26, 2010

Durban was our final South African port.  We were scheduled to go to the Tala Private Game Reserve.  The countryside around Durban is much different from Cape Town; it is more tropical in nature near the coast, and when you get to the game reserve, the land is covered with grass and acacia trees, which make it look more like the veld you see in photos and videos of safaris.   Our bus gave us somewhat of a tour of the area on our way out to the reserve.  Durban is a large city with lots of suburbs; all the ones we saw looked very nice.  The primary agricultural products in the area are sugar cane and chickens/eggs.  Durban is also the busiest port in South Africa, as well as the busiest container port in the southern hemisphere.

Our time at the game reserve started out with great promise.  Before we even got off the bus we saw an Nyala (pronounced En-yala), which is related to the Greater Kudu.  We also saw a couple of Giraffe.  After we boarded our vehicles, we almost immediately encountered several Warthogs, followed by a group of Giraffe right by the road.  We watched them for a while and enjoyed watching them eat the very thorny acacia trees as well as watching a couple of youngsters cavorting.  Our next sighting was a group of male Impala and a Vervet Monkey, followed by a couple of Ostrich and several Wildebeest.  We saw a few White Storks and then three Rhinos (all Rhino sightings are of the white-lipped variety unless otherwise specified) and a bunch of Burchell’s Zebras (a different kind than what we saw on the last game ride).  The Zebras apparently enjoy creating road blocks, and this is not just imagination.  We have video of four Zebras on the road - three in a line and a fourth facing perpendicular to the others.  On the video that fourth one nudges one of the others out of the way and moves into the line, so there is a line of four Zebras extending across the road.  They also created a road block on another road we were supposed to take.

We saw a number of interesting birds, and then more game animals, including the Greater Kudu, Blesbok and Elands.  The herds of Wildebeest stampeded for us a couple of times.

Our much-touted viewing of hippos was a disappointment - we barely saw the eyes and one ear of one hippo at quite a distance.

But that disappointment was more than made up for by the variety of birds in the area, especially the the Southern Red Bishop, which is quite small, but stands out because of its bright color.

We finished our day by taking the shuttle to a shopping center to look for souvenirs, and found what we were looking for.   In the evening we completed our visit to South Africa with a local folkloric show of young male dancers; one group did gum-boot dancing, while another did some dances that involved very quick movements of their hands and feet.  Their coordination was remarkable.

We were very pleased that we got to visit South Africa and are looking forward to a return visit.

Note that there are a lot of extra animal photos (especially birds) in the album.

                                                2010 World Cup Soccer Stadium

© Susan L. Stone 2015