During our cruise around the coasts of South Africa and Namibia, we dock at the port of Durban at noon. First we drive along the coast. We see the mouth of the Umgeni River, the Moses Mabhida Stadium and the expansive beaches. It's a beautiful setting.
The pilot comes with the helicopter
Durban has a natural harbor in a sheltered bay. Access is considered difficult because of the currents. So it is not surprising that the pilot arrives by helicopter instead of in a boat.
Durban - the pilot comes with the helicopter
He is abseiled above our cruise ship. We have not yet had a pilot who is brought to the ship by helicopter. A real experience.
The KwaZulu Cruise Terminal was only completed in 2021. It is architecturally very appealing and the most beautiful so far during this cruise.
We use our 8-hour stay for a trip inland. A total of 40 fellow travelers take part in the tour. The program includes the Nelson Mandela Capture Site and Howick Falls. The weather suits our trip: it's a sunny, warm day with a blue sky. Passing Pietermaritzburg, the capital of the province of KwaZulu-Natal, we drive 125 kilometers to the foothills of the Drakensberg.
The roads are well maintained and the countryside is lush green. The varied stock of trees is particularly striking. We drive up to an altitude of 1160 meters above sea level.
Nelson Mandela Capture Site
The Nelson Mandela Capture Site is located on the spot where Nelson Mandela was arrested by South African police in August 1962. It was the beginning of his 27-year captivity. The vehicle with which Mandela got into the roadblock is on display in a museum. Many exhibits come from Mandela's private collection. However, the significant space of the museum is occupied by the history of the struggle against apartheid and the contribution of Nelson Mandela and other freedom fighters.
Outside the museum, a path leads to an impressive sculpture of Nelson Mandela. On this “long walk to freedom”, each of the panels installed symbolizes one of the 27 years that Nelson Mandela spent in captivity. The path ends at a sculpture made of 50 steel bars arranged at different angles. From a distance it looks like a portrait of Nelson Mandela.
The Nelson Mandela artwork
The entire visitor center is very well maintained. Outside the museum, a café with a terrace invites you to linger.
It's not far to Howick Waterfall. After about 15 minutes our bus stops. It's only a few meters' walk from the parking lot to a wide viewing platform. Howick Falls is a surprisingly tall and very wide waterfall. The information on the height varies from 95 meters to 110 meters.
The water tumbles into a gorge of the Mngeni River, to which hiking trails also lead. However, most tourists come, like us, to look and take photos. Howick Waterfall is one of the region's tourist attractions and is well worth seeing.
Driving through Durban
On the way back we see something of downtown Durban. We pass the town hall, the main post office and the courthouse. There are only a few historical buildings and some colorful houses on the busy streets. Otherwise, Durban is a modern city.
After the tour we stay at the cruise terminal. It's too late for a walk to town or to the beach, which are within walking distance. Tourists should avoid walking in Durban after dusk.
Conclusion of our shore excursion
We really enjoyed the tour in Durban. Our tour guide Bongie convinced us with her comprehensive knowledge of the country and its people. She explained the sights in detail. And for those who didn't speak English very well, a fellow traveler translated. From the coast of the Indian Ocean through the Midlands to the foothills of the Drakensberg, South Africa's landscapes are stunning. We can recommend this tour at any time.
The Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal