The Cities of South Africa: Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town
2023 HAL World Cruise
Friday to Wednesday, March 10 to 15, 2023
We have just spent nearly a week in South Africa. Upon arrival in Durban, we presented our passports and were welcomed. This was on Wednesday morning. It was a quick process that none-the-less took several hours simply because there are so many of us on board. But once we had completed our face-to-face introduction to the customs officials, we were free to exit the ship and go out to explore!!! We did so, promptly!!!
…..According to Wikipedia, quoting archaeological evidence, “…the Durban area has been inhabited by communities of hunter-gatherers since 100,000BC.” Wow, that’s impressive!!! Those original inhabitants are now called the KwaZulu-Natal people. Surprisingly, there is no written history of the area prior to the arrival of Vasco da Gama in 1497. There was, however, an oral history passed down from generation to generation of the Zulu inhabitants prior to the arrival of the Portuguese colonizers. Interestingly, once Vasco da Gama reached this area, right around Christmas in 1497, the area was on the way to becoming the chief seaport of South Africa.
The modern city of Durban that exists today was founded in 1824 as Port Natal by the British; in 1835 it became the capital of the Cape Colony and was named “D’Urban” after the serving governor, Sir Benjamin D’Urban.
…..is a small city on the Southeast coast of South Africa. It lies on the Indian Ocean coast, between the Buffalo River and the Nahoon River. It is the country’s only river port. And it is important for the export of citrus fruit, mineral ores, and wood. The first documented vessel to arrive in these waters was in 1688 while searching for survivors of a shipwreck. In 1848, the area was annexed into the Cape Colony. The town’s small museum contains the world’s only surviving egg of the extinct dodo bird!!! But we did not see that. Our stop in East London was cancelled due to anticipated bad weather and rough seas.
….. is located half-way between Durban and Cape Town. It is a major seaport and tourist destination on the Indian Ocean and along the shores of Nelson Mandela Bay. The community has few attractions of note but is surrounded by charming countryside. And that is what we set out to visit!!! For less than $150.00/per person, we toured the Amakhala Game reserve for 3 hours, followed by a lovely lunch, on Sunday, March 12th. We were lucky!!! We had the pleasure of seeing 4 of the Big Five African Animals once popular with big-game hunters. Back-in-the-day, the term “Big Five” was coined by the hunters and refers to the five most difficult and dangerous animals in Africa to hunt on foot. Today, they are highly desired by professional photographers and tourists with cameras!!! We were no exception!!!
…..It was still dark the morning we arrived in Cape Town for a 2-day stay. We stepped out on the verandah to admire the lights of this large, cosmopolitan, vibrant city awakening to a new day. We spent Day 1 shopping for a few things we needed and then stopped for our usual lunch and libation. We lingered for a while watching Table Mountain disappear under a cloud. The locals call this phenomenon Table Mountain’s Tablecloth!!! Later that evening, we joined friends at the Gold Restaurant for a traditional African dinner and a folkloric show. The food (including ostrich stew) was exceptionally good. And no, ostrich does not taste like chicken—it tastes like steak!!!
Day 2 in Cape Town was a total joy as we spent the entire day touring the Stellenbosch Wineries!!! Five of them to be precise!!!
We are working our way up the western coast of Africa.
Next, we’ll visit Luderitz and then Walvis Bay, both in Namibia.
6 thoughts on “The Cities of South Africa: Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town”
That was a great review!!
Tablecloth was pretty amazing!!
Wines looked fantastic!
Thank you, Tony
Cape Town is one of our favorite destinations!!! There is something special abut this city that simply makes it feel cozy and welcoming. Obviously, it is a big city and has its fair share of big city problems, but the people who live here appear to be happy, and are certainly friendly. And the wine ain’t too shabby either!!!!
Enjoyed this segment, actually enjoying all your blogs very much. Wines look great. Hope David and Shirley are bringing some home to share with friends. 😏
Continued safe travels,
Thank you for the kind words, Jackie!!!
We do believe David & Shirley May have a few bottles of wine in storage!!!
Looks like a great trek and getting better. We spent 3 weeks in South Africa several years ago. Great place. We drove around for 3 weeks and partook of a lot of wine. Great food as well. Just home from 4 weeks in New Zealand and enjoyed your post from Down Under. I guess we were a bit more under.
Keep up the great posts.
We are finding Africa to be a continent of contrasts. This is the first time we’ve been immersed in the variety of cultures found here; who’d a thunk they’d be so different!!!