DURBAN GUIDE

#DurbanChallenge


Last week I took part in the Durban leg of a challenge put together by Travelstart, which included myself and 3 other Durban influencers, taking part in an Amazing Race style event around Durban.

I was so amped to showcase my city to its full extent and we were given GoPro’s to document the day which started at 9am and ended at 5pm – a long day of running around!

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to choose what we wanted to showcase and the challenges were prescribed for us. We started at uShaka and each picked a card which took us to a different part of the park. I got the snorkel lagoon and had to take a pic of a milk shark whilst swimming in it – which despite it being a milk shark, was still a shark to me and I was flipping nervous.

All went well though and I got a few great shots of a few of them, as well as some beautiful fish.
Unfortunately though, none of this footage made it to the videos we were asked to make between challenges, as the GoPro I was using was faulty. Still think the shots I did manage to get off it were great and I was quite proud to have donned a cozzie and submerged myself in a lagoon!

This is the part though, where I unequivocally state that uShaka is not a place I would recommend to people visiting Durban. I am vehemently against animals being kept in captivity and it’s my personal choice not to support venues that do. I would far rather recommend you take yourself on a dive tour out to Aliwal Shoal and observe these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. And if you want to go snorkelling, check out Calypso Dive Centre and join a tour of Vetch’s Pier or the Harbour Wall.

The next challenge required a ricksha ride from uShaka to the amusement park, where we had to jump on one of the rides. I hadn’t been in a ricksha since I was a child and the 4 minutes in it confirmed I will doubtfully be in one again. Poor chaps also wanted to charge R300 to take us there, so we tipped them R100 and got out, opting to drive to the amusement park instead, which was closed, except for those red sky chairs.

Not all teams even went on a ride, but we hopped on the chairs and buckled up. The view from up there is pretty cool, if you don’t look down. Not because it’s scary, but because it’s a desolate wasteland of discarded ride parts, broken mannequins and a general den of iniquity, which I know has seen better days. One more spot I would not recommend to a visitor coming to Durban.

Do yourself a favour and rather hire a bicycle from the skate park further down the promenade, next door to Circus Circus and cycle our beautiful Marine Parade in your own time. Stop off at Afro’s Chicken Shop or Surfrider’s Cafe and watch the sights go by, over a delicious burger and a coffee.
And if you’re going to buy curios, head further down towards Snake Park and support the traders at the Amphitheatre – they’re a much nicer bunch and the stuff is pretty much the same.

Luckily the next challenge was set at Moses Mabhida, definitely somewhere I’d recommend to a visiting tourist. We were scheduled to do the Big Swing, but that was cancelled due to a concert being set up (YAY!), so we hopped on to segways instead and went on a beachfront ride from the stadium to North Beach and back. You get a decent practice session and they’re pretty easy to ride if you know how to balance. Heading away from the stadium toward the beach is a beautiful avenue of palms and you feel pretty cool racing along on a segway. The tour can also be taken inside the stadium – I’d like to try that one day too.

If this seems like too much hard work though, then I definitely recommend a trip up in the Stadium SkyCar, which gives you a 360-degree view across from the harbour, inland to the Berea, across to Umhlanga and then the sea in front of you. On a clear day, it’s pretty spectacular.

We’d been told that during our challenges we’d have to find and eat a bunny chow, a renowned Durban meal, consisting of a hollowed out half-loaf of bread filled with curry. It was now almost 3pm and we’d had nothing to eat or drink since starting, so it was time to hunt one down! We headed to Blue Lagoon, to Danny’s House of Curries and sopped up bunnies and glugged down creme soda – well I did anyway – it was spicy and tasty.
My recommendation is either Brittannia Hotel or Gounden’s, so add these to your list if you’re going to try a Durban bunny chow.

After eating it was time for the last challenge – we had to head to Gateway and take a selfie with 5 random people. No idea how this fits into showcasing Durban, as the last place I would send someone is to a mall. For me, Durban is about culture, food, outdoor spaces and entertaining, so a mall is way down the list of recommendations for me. I decided to kill 2 birds with one stone though and if I was having to go to Gateway, then I was finally going to do the Cupcake Challenge at So Whipped. If any of you caught this on my video – sorry! One cupcake, one bite, one big mess…

Right, so where would I recommend instead of a mall?
The list is endless and I’ve mentioned quite a few places on this blog over the years. Rather support small and head to one of the curated stores mentioned in my Black Book (yes one of them happens to be in Gateway, but it’s a clothing store owned by Kathrin Kidger who is a 100% Durban born-and-bred designer), or take your palate on a culinary journey and eat at one of our amazing restaurants. Better yet, get hold of the guys at Streetscene Tours and discover places like Victoria Street Market or KwaMashu and if you time your trip right, you could even catch a Beset Durban Walk. Check out the Durban Art Gallery or our Natural History Museum, or head to The Oyster Box and enjoy a drink on the Ocean Terrace with views to rival most coastal cities in the world.

Durban has so much more to offer than the obvious, I do hope you seek it out if you’re visiting.
You can see the videos I made on the day using QUIK on my facebook page.

Thanks to Travelstart for including me, although for some reason all of the info on participants in this challenge has been removed from their social media feeds, except for the winner – well done Lawrence from Digital Street. It was great to finally meet Ceece and see Sandy Nene again too.

Thanks to Sean at GoPro for the lesson – new toy to add to the list of gadgets I’ll be looking into in the future. It really is a rad way to capture any adventure and the fact that it can move from underwater and out seamlessly, is a huge bonus. Such a pity most of the footage I took on the day was inaccessible during challenges when we were meant to upload. I’ve managed to get some of it off since though and will share a final edit over on facebook.

For more details on Travelstart
Website | Facebook
and GoPro South Africa:
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Disclaimer:
This is a sponsored post.
However, this was written by Nicola Ashe in her own voice and is representative of her own views, opinions and experiences, of or with a brand or product, whether or not payment or trade exchange occurred.

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