Durban Delights!

April 20, 2010

durban seafront

We often talk of Cape Town and Johannesburg, but Durban may just be that hidden gem we’ve forgotten about. With the largest Indian population outside Asia, the largest Shopping Mall in Africa, and a fascinating Aquarium – Durban is a cool place!

Lets take a peek at some fascinating “Durban” facts.

* Take a guess at how many Indians Durban has. A few thousands, you said? No. 6 Lakhs is the number. 🙂 Which means Durban has more Indians than Jammu and Dehradun! And it has more Indians than there are people in Atlanta and Las Vegas. Well?

* Durban has Africa’s largest Marine Theme Park – the uShaka Marine World. The cool thing about this “aquarium” is that  a spectacular sea wreck has been recreated here! And to add to that there are also some mind numbing dolphin shows. uShaka Marine World also boasts of a huge quantity of water: 7500 cubic meters of it! This much water could sustain an average Indian for a whopping 320 years. Interesting? Here’s a picture!

uShaka Marine World

* Durban’s Indian connection has been there since, well quite a long time. Where did Mahatma Gandhi set foot, when he came to South Africa in 1893? No prizes for answering – Durban. He also lived here with his wife Kasturbha for more than 19 years and espoused the causes of the Indians here. Durban pays tribute to the great leader today with a statue at Phoenix Settlement. There is also a street named after Mahatma Gandhi.

* What does Durban have to do with sports? Everything. Many games from the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup were held in Durban. Durban then played host to the ICC Twenty-Twenty Cup in 2007. And then came the Indian Premier League in 2009! And yes, it is one of the venues for the FIFA World Cup, 2010. 🙂 Are you coming?

* Durban is pretty “empty” when you compare it to cities like Mumbai and Delhi. In one square kilometer, there are 15 times as many people in Mumbai as in Durban! How many people do you generally see in one glance at a railway station in Mumbai? 100? In Durban you will see 100/15 = 6 people!

Isn’t Durban fascinating? You might like looking at an intriguing Durban Tour here.

I’ll end with an event that hardly any Indian will ever forget. It happened in Durban. It was stunning beyond doubt.

Yuvraj Singh, hit 6 sixes in an over at Kingsmead in Durban. 🙂 Here’s the video. Enjoy.


In the Lap of the Wild: Kruger National Park

April 3, 2010

kruger lion

What do you associate most with South Africa?

There are no second guesses. It has to be wildlife.

And where wildlife is concerned there is no place in South Africa second to Kruger National Park.

Just for the numbers, Kruger has 114 species of reptiles, 147 species of mammals, 517 species of birds, and 1982 species of plants! We’re not talking about the number of animals or birds or plants here. We are talking about the number of species. No wonder then that the Kruger Park has more species of mammals than any other Park in Africa. In fact, it had such a huge population of elephants in 1995, that elephants were given contraceptives to reduce their birth rate!

Have a look at this video showing you what to expect at Kruger National Park.

Isn’t life in the wild beautiful?

Here are some interesting titbits about Kruger Park.

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* We know the Kruger National Park is huge. How huge? Its area is approximately the same as the Indian state of Mizoram which is the same as Israel’s land area. It is literally a “wild country!”

* How old is Kruger? It was established 112 years ago by Paul Kruger. Yes, it is South Africa’s oldest National Park.

* How many Lions do you think the Kruger National Park has? The latest Census reports that there are 1500 lions, 5000 giraffes, 900 leopards, 3000 hippos and 7500 elephants at Kruger!

* Kruger has more than 13000 kilometers of roads running all through it.  The total length of roads in Israel, which has an equivalent area  is about 6500 km. The total length of roads in Mumbai is  about 1900 km. Well?

* The world’s longest ongoing research on wildlife is being conducted at Kruger Park.

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In a world where we keep hearing “animal extinct” news every other day, Kruger seems like a breather.  When are you visiting? 🙂

By the way, you might like these reading through these  interesting “Kruger” travel itineraries. Do tell us what you think about them!

For Those Who Think Soccer Fans are Crazy

March 29, 2010

In a world where Soccer is the dominant religion, there exists a small minority of “nerds”, “geeks” and simply “I don’t want soccer” weirdos who aren’t exactly awaiting the World Cup in South Africa. I am one of them. 🙂

This year, however, for people like us, there IS something to look forward to in South Africa. It’s the Knysna Oyster Festival.

This festival, which will be held from July 2 to 11, 2010 (yes, despite the World Cup!) promises interesting events like the Navigation Drift Dive Challenge ( a scuba diving adventure), The Night of a 1000 Pictures ( a fascinating photography exhibition), the Wade Bales Wine Festival , the Geo Oyster Geocaching Competition (a fun adventure involving navigating around the Knysna basin), a Forest Marathon and hoards of other food, wine, adventure and sports events!

And guess what, Knysna Tourism has been working with its members to ensure that there will be accommodation available at reasonable rates over the period of the Oyster Festival! This means that despite the sky rocketing prices because of the World Cup – you will still be able to find reasonably priced hotels if you make it to the event. Cool.

Here’s a video of the Mountain Biking event in the festival. Enjoy. 🙂

If you love to experience new cuisines and fine wine, you might also love reading through this food and wine write-up!

Ah, there is still hope for the world. 😉