After picking up C’s cousins on the way back from Sun City, we headed back to The Vaal for the night. We went out for dinner and then drinks at a little bar called Manhattan’s. After another one day stopover, we packed our things and headed out in cars for Durban.
The thing with South Africa is that to someone like me having grown up in England, everything is so far apart! It was a 9 hour car journey to get to Durban. We stopped off at many a gas station (one of which had a glass wall looking onto a Rhino enclosure) and plenty of fast food drive ins. For the most part, the drive was quite scenic and pleasant.
After probably the longest car journey I have ever sat in, we arived at the villa we were renting from a friend. We picked rooms, unpacked and had a little look around. At the bottom of the garden was a gate and a little secluded pathway lined with trees that lead straight to the beach.
We had a little wander around and then headed back to get a braai started and dinner ready. In the evening we relaxed outside with drinks and card games.
The following day after breakfast we headed straight for the beach. We sunbathed and swam. I was the only one who wouldn’t swim out of my depth because there had been sharks spotted there recently and Jaws really scared me as a child. After a while the three of us girls sat and sunbathed on the beach while the guys all mucked about doing back flips and rugby tackling each other into the waves.
On the way back to the villa I somehow got separated from the rest of the group and sparked a mass panic/search party as everybody thought I had been kidnapped.
(Unfortunately, as much as South Africa is a beautiful country with a lot of friendly people, the crime statistics are very high. People were genuinely very concerned for my safety).
Other than that little episode it was a lovely day!
After we had showered , changed and grabbed some food we headed down to a bar called “Rock Bottom”. The actual bar itself is quite small. It was quite dark inside with fluorescent paintings in a myriad of colours on the stone walls, of swirling spirals and mushrooms. The bulk of the seating was outside though still under cover. The first night at Rock Bottom we sipped Savannah cider and had a good laugh. it was a great atmosphere there so we knew we would go again while we were still in Durban. We headed back to the villa – after having spent a fair amount of time convincing C’s cousin to return with us rather reluctantly. He had become drunkedly enamored with a hippie girl he had met at the bar and at first had been less than eager to leave. Once we at last got back to the villa, I fell into a deep sleep to the sound of crashing waves.
The next morning we headed up to Ramsgate and to a much raved about restaurant – “The Waffle House” for lunch. Sweet and savory, their menu consists of any type of waffle topping from lemon meringue to chicken curry.
We then wandered around the beach there. On our way back from Ramsgate, driving past sugar cane fields, we stopped off at a market stall selling fresh fruit. They cut some open and sliced off bits of fresh fruit to try. We bought a box full of fresh fruits of all varieties, including pineapples,mangos, and lychees. The fruit there is usually much bigger and sweeter than in England. Quite often in the South African supermarkets, I would see watermelons that were the size of a small child!
When we got back to the villa we were joined by R’s friend and his fiancé. That night we decided to head to Rock Bottom again as we had liked it so much the previous time. There were bands playing as well which made us all more eager to go. When we arrived we grabbed a table and some drinks.
The first band that played were pretty good and played some quality songs but the next band completely blew us away! AVADE had such an amazing energy and stage presence, they played a fantastic set and had us all dancing from start to finish and then begging for more songs. At one point the lead singer was up on the tables playing guitar and then among the crowd and it was just amazing. Honestly, if they are playing in your corner of the world, I would definitely recommend taking the time to go and see them play!
They kindly let me use some of their photos from the gig…
The next day we found out about another water theme park, so obviously we grabbed our things and headed out the door. I already mentioned previously how much of a big kid I am when it comes to water theme parks.
After a little road trip to the soundtrack of our beautiful singing…
We arrived, got changed, picked a spot on the grass for our stuff and headed for the slides.
There were some fantastic slides, though as a Brit you can’t help but notice the significant difference in health and safety standards! There was a slide that was shaped like a skateboard ramp that you slide down in rubber rings, and at one point I was convinced I would fly right over the top and crash on to the shack behind it! You may laugh, but there were no safety nets to prevent it!
There was another slide where you stand in a capsule with your arms and legs crossed, there is a countdown from 3 and then the floor suddenly disappears and you shoot down the tube like a bullet! After we had swam and been on the slides, we lounged in the sun on the grass.
All in all we had a pretty good day, we stopped at a Wimpy for lunch. I have only ever seen two Wimpy restaurants in my entire life in England but in South Africa they are everywhere!
After making our way back, and washing off all the chlorine, we relaxed in the garden and watched the sun go down.
On our final day in Durban we went for a wander here, there and everywhere! The boys went go karting, we stopped at a few shops, we had a little drive around and went out for lunch.
We returned back to the villa for a last little bit of sunbathing on the beach and in the evening we had a bonfire to mark our final night in Durban…