Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Gibela Backpackers Durban South Africa - Guest Comments

It was the first backpacker in our life and now, after beeing in some others I can say, it was really the best! The rooms are very nice and useful decorated with ethnic décor throughout an there were really good beds! The "dining room" outside was very beautyful and there was all, what you need for a good breakfast. The bathroom was wonderful and just beside our room, so it was good even for (a little bit) old Ladies. The whole house was very clean! There were nice people, we met and I was glad over the internet possibility, where you can baz-bus things arrange and look for your e-mails. Elmar was very kind and told us all, we need, to go to different nice places, without any danger. We felt ourselves very safe in this backpacker. So we spend wonderful 3 days in Durban. - Bonn, Germany
I had the pleasure to stop at the Gibela Backpackers Lodge during my solo backpacking trip to South Africa, and I have to admit it was one of the best places I stayed at. Clean, quiet, friendly and perfectly located to grab a bite or catch a bus. I have already recommended it! Vancouver, Canada
GIBELA Backpackers - A great place to stayI've been traveling the world off and on for a great many years. I can honestly say this is one of the best places i've ever stayed, in any country. It was like staying in a comfortable, clean home, with all the facilities you'd expect being in top condition. Has a good kitchen and the included breakfast has lots of variety to choose from. Good restaurants and bars are very close. The owner was exceptionally helpful too. New Zealand
What a clean, spacious, and neat place! We were so happy to get all the helpful information where to go shopping, where to have dinner, where to have a drink, and where to stop over next down the coast. Dankeschoen, Elmar! Switzerland
Best Hostel in South Africa, hands down. This place is clean, hip, and tastefully decorated. There are enough bathrooms (and they are clean!) so that you never have to wait! I spent three nights here. The hostel was so comfortable/beautiful that I preferred to be inside the hostel than outside in Durban. Weird, I know! USA

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Durban Golf Driving Range

The University Club Durban Golf Driving Range is definitely worth a visit. The Durban Golf Driving Range has floodlights ensuring that players can still practice their swings at night. It is open to the public every day of the week from 7:00 am until 8:30 pm and during the weekends as well as public holidays from 7 in the morning until 7 in the evening.
The immaculate University Durban Golf Driving Range is a whopping 330 meters in length and offers numerous target greens to aim at. It is the ideal range to practice distance and direction.
It is not only the swing that can get attention, but also putting as a nine hole putting green is available. The bunker greens and chipping areas allow for practice of every aspect of your golf. Even long bunker shots can be practiced on the far hole at the University Durban Golf Driving Range.
Contact details:331 Francois RoadGlenwoodDurban
Tel: +27 31 261 8062Web:

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Anne Frank exhibition opened in Durban

The Durban Holocaust Centre has opened the first ever permanent exhibition of Anne Frank’s room.
With exactly the same wallpaper, table and pictures, the room is a replica of the room that Anne slept in while in hiding in Amsterdam during World War Two.
It opened last night and it’s housed at the Durban Holocaust Centre in Old Fort Road.
The Director of the International Department at the Anne Frank House Jan-Eric Dubbelman says the room will not just be a tourist attraction, but will serve an educational purpose too.
“You can learn about the Holocaust; you can learn the facts; you can reconstruct a history on how it went about and you need to know those facts to understand the story of Anne Frank.
“But then when you learn about the story of one individual family and you go into the room, you also learn with the heart. You feel what it must have been like. So for us it’s a way to communicate the experience of being in hiding by creating that room.”Mary Kluk, President of The Council of KwaZulu-Natal Jewry, explains, “Eighteen months ago we began to correspond with the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam to discuss the possibility of creating our own small Anne Frank area. After much communication and with a great deal of help from Jan-Eric Dubbelman… we have achieved something very special.”
“Anne Frank represents one of the one and a half million children who died during the Holocaust. Many learners across the world know of Anne and her amazing story and we at the Durban Holocaust Centre chose to feature this story in the hope that her amazing outlook on life, told through her diary, will be an inspiration to learners throughout our province,” said Kluk.
The Durban Holocaust Centre, which opened in March this year, focuses on educating learners and the general public about the Holocaust, other human rights abuses and contemporary genocide.
With the inclusion of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in the National Schools Curriculum of South Africa for the first time in 2007, it meant that there was a great need for information and resources.
The Centre therefore provides curriculum support material and daily school group tours for learners in KwaZulu-Natal.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Dinuzulu Sees Light Of Day

Long under wraps, the statue of King Dinuzulu in Durban’s Botha Gardens was finally unveiled as part of Heritage Month celebrations. Berea Road, which runs alongside the park was also officially renamed King Dinuzulu Road at the September event. And just as Mayor Obed Mlaba completed the renaming ceremony, the heavens opened – a sign of good luck – putting a sheen on the likeness of Dinizulu, standing proud in military uniform.
Dignitaries who attended included King Goodwill Zwelithini, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sibusiso Ndebele, IFP Leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and Sport and Recreation MEC Amichand Rajbansi. Ndebele gave a brief history of King Dinuzulu and explained why his statue has been erected near Gen Louis Botha’s in the park. “The statue is next to Gen Louis Botha, the first prime minister of the Union of South Africa in 1910. “Botha had befriended Dinuzulu during the 1880s and released him from prison in 1910.
The two giants of our history are symbols of the beginning of the journey towards reconciliation in this country.” Ndebele said it was important for all South Africans to acknowledge and celebrate our heritage. “Heritage is at the core of our identity, and plays a pivotal role in reconciliation. To reconcile is to come to peace with the past. You cannot reconcile unless you know what happened. “This statue is a part of continuous recognition of traditional leadership by the democratic government, and in particular, recognition of a king who saw and experienced it all, but kept on fighting for the dignity of his people, their land and the royal house of Shaka.”

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Lets get a top 10 list going for Durban see topics below and add your "top-ones"
Adventure Activities
Attractions - Museums, gardens, etc.
Breakfast Venues
Coffee Shops
Designer shops - Clothing
Designer shops - Decor
Music Venues
Night Clubs Restaurants

Durban, South Africa - Another side of South Africa

Situated on South Africa’s East Coast, Durban is a precious cornerstone of the KwaZulu-Natal region. In Zulu, Durban is aptly known as ‘Thekweni,’ meaning “where the earth and ocean meet”. But don’t be fooled by the simple designation, neither Durban’s landscape nor its beaches are commonplace.
For any traveler seeking the indulgence of gorgeous topography paired with the elegance of the Indian Ocean’s sub-tropic aquamarine swells, Durban is for you. In the west of the city, art deco and modern architecture combine, spreading in the form of apartment buildings and hotels along the fine sands of an unspoiled shoreline, and comprising what is referred to by locals and vacationers alike as the “Golden Mile”. Interspersed among the hotels and apartment buildings are a handful of popular restaurants and nightclubs.
On the Golden Mile, a promenade runs from the surfing haven, South Beach, where uShaka Marine World is also located, to the newly constructed Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World in the north. Most of the beaches along this band are protected year-round by lifeguards and shark nets. Even so, with all the fuss over keeping sharks away and swimmers looked-after, don’t be surprised to find neither the sand nor the water overrun with bathers.
A Rich History
Durban is the third largest city in South Africa, and the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal. Well known as a surfer’s paradise, it is also among the busiest ports in Africa. After British annexation of the territory from the Dutch in the 1840’s, a vast sugar cane industry was established and thousands of indentured laborers were brought over from India. As a result of the importation of Indians, Durban became the largest Asian community in South Africa.
Although English is generally spoken on the street, many South Africans speak at least one language other than English (oftentimes several), and Durbanites are no exception. The end of apartheid in 1994 named eleven official languages in South Africa. Among them are the clicking consonants characteristic of Zulu and Xhosa words.
Although he no longer holds any direct political power, KwaZulu-Natal is the home to the Zulu Monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu, who is paid a stipend by the South African government and holds sway over the more traditionalist Zulu people in the province.
An Ideal Setting
Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal region offer something for everyone.
Durban’s metropolitan area has benefited in recent years by urban renewal programs. As a result of community efforts—or perhaps in addition to them—a fascinating street art scene is sprouting up citywide.
To glimpse part of this art scene, head over to the BAT Centre, an arts and crafts community center located in the small craft harbor off of Durban’s Victoria Embankment. Eat lunch in the café or enjoy an iced tea on the deck, from where you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of Durban’s working harbor. Afterward, browse the center’s many art studios, galleries, and music rooms, and purchase art and mementos from the artists themselves. On any given night of the week, live music, dancing, poetry readings and other events go on at the BAT Center, always attracting a lively crowd. Be sure to pick up a schedule of evening events from one of the galleries.
Another must is a trip to the muthi, or the ‘witches’ market for a glimpse of African traditional healing. This extensive, tumbledown marketplace is the spot to see ‘muthi,’ or traditional medicine, being made and prepared for sale. Stalls are covered with ingredients that range from such things as snake skins, crocodile teeth and birds claws to mysterious, brightly colored powders. The potions are concocted right there as you browse vendors for decorative walking sticks, African incense and car-tire sandals. Stop in at the sangoma for a quick “throw the bones,” a collection of bones and shells that are thrown on a mat to communicate with the ancestors and spirit guides. Be sure not to miss Davenport District in the suburb of Glenwood. Independent shops have sprung up around the Davenport Mall and can make for a cheerful afternoon of browsing and picking up yet more African art. Check out KwaZulu-Natal Society of the Arts. All along the same road are antique shops, home décor shops, second-hand stores, and Breathing Space Yoga Center, which offers beauty treatments as well as a wide range of organic cosmetics.
The western suburbs of Hillcrest and Kloof, formerly sleepy villages, have now become booming suburbs incorporated in the greater Durban area known as the eThekwini Municipal Area. Kloof, which means ‘gorge’ in Afrikaans, is known as a mist-belt with winding roads and mansions surrounded by trees. Kloof is predominantly English-speaking and features many high-end shopping centers as well as the Kloof Country Club.
Just outside of Durban, the breathtaking peaks of Drakensberg Mountains stretch more than 600 miles along the whole of KwaZulu-Natal’s western boundary. As a respite from city life, take a trip to Drakensberg. There you can enjoy hiking, white water rafting, game and bird watching, golfing, or fishing for trout.
The remarkable cave paintings of Drakensberg’s original inhabitants, the San Bushmen, can still be seen in caves throughout the Drakensberg region, and Kamberg National Park claims to have one of the best selections of Bushmen art in South Africa. Walking tours are operated daily, and the newly opened Kamberg Rock Art Center is a tool for helping visitors who wish to understand and interpret the more than 20,000 Sans Bushmen images to be found in the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.
Where to Stay:
Note: It is best to take cabs, rather than walking at night, and be sure to leave any irreplaceable items you are traveling with in your hotel safety deposit box. Country and City Code for Durban is (+27 - 31)
Gibela Backpackers Lodge-A jewel of a hostel; clean, chic and inexpensive. The rooms are named after the Zulu Kings dating back to 1667. Choose dorm-style rooms, singles or doubles. Praised as having the friendliest staff in South Africa and amazing breakfasts. 119 Ninth Ave, Morningside; 031/303-6291 ,
The Riverside Hotel & Spa-High on the banks of the Umgeni River mouth. Enjoy stunning river views and abundant relaxation. 267 Smith Street, Durban; 021/794-9050 ; 082/78... Restaurants and Night Life:Florida Road-A happening street with more than 30 restaurants, Florida Road is an ideal neighborhood to spend an evening out.
Joe Cools-For an experience that is both “vibrant and elegant,” try this restaurant oasis. Joe Cools is not only the place where Durban’s most beautiful and stylish hang out, it also serves up exquisitely delicious cocktails and very good food. North Beach, on the beach, Durban; 031/332-9697 ,
Café Vacca Matta-This rustically chic restaurant offers a Mediterranean menu, gorgeous views of the Indian Ocean, an extensive cocktail list and live music. Shop U4, Suncoast Casino, Entertainment World, 20 Battery Beach Road, 031/368/6535;
Billy the BUMS (Basic Up Market Socialite)-More than 50 exotic cocktails to choose from and good American-style food, including mouth watering homemade burgers. Enjoy a cocktail while enjoying a stunning sunset from the large patio. 504 Windermere Road, Morningside, Durban; 031/303 1988 ;
Panamaroom Night Club-A stylish, all white décor cools things down just as the music starts to burn it up. 178 Stamford Hill, Durban; 083/799-1899 The BAT Centre-From poetry readings, to dance parties, to live music, something is going down every night of the week. 45 Maritime Place; 031/ 332-0451;
Where to Shop:Muthi Market-African traditional healing. Extends around the Victoria Street Indian market, over the footbridges to the taxi ranks at Warwick Triangle.
KwaZulu-Natal Society of the Arts-Contemporary artists exhibited in three exhibition spaces. 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood; 031/202-3686 ;;
Breathing Space Yoga Center-Beauty treatments and organic cosmetics. Corner of Bulwer and Ferguson Road, Glenwood; 031/201-7282 What to Do:Drakensberg Mountains-Hiking, fishing, white water rafting, exploring.
Kamberg Nature Reserve-Situated within the Natal Drakensberg Park and located centrally in the foothills of the mountains. Access to the reserve is along a partly tarred road, off the main N3 highway; kamberg
uShaka Marine World-This extensive theme park centers around the recreation and site of the wreck of a 1920s cargo ship, making a strong connection with the symbolism of the interaction between land, sea and sky; it is a complete marine land, and a place to enjoy an entire day of fun. 1 Bell Street, Durban; 031/328-8000 ;;
Suncoast Casino & Entertainment World-Along the beachfront of the “Golden Mile,” Suncoast boasts of its Miami South Beach Art Deco style architecture, and offers gaming, shopping and entertainment. Suncoast Blvd. Marine Parade, Durban; 031/328-3000 ;;
Phezulu Safari Park-Located between Botha’s Hill and Drummond, the safari park overlooks the Valley of 1,000 hills. Don’t miss the Zulu village and dancing show. Old Main Road, Durban; 031/777-1000 ;
Umgeni River Bird Park- Boasts a collection of over 3,000 exotic and indigenous birds. 490 Riverside Road, Durban; 031/579-4600 ;;
Durban Botanic Gardens-Specialties include The Ernest Thorp Orchid House, an herb garden, a sunken garden, and a garden for the blind. 70 St. Thomas Road, Durban; 031/201-1303 ;;
Shongweni Resource Reserve-A large nature reserve just 23 miles north of Durban. Shongweni Dam, Durban; 031/769-1283 ;;
Must See: The red African sun slipping pink into the Indian Ocean.
Text and Photos 5 & 6 by Sabrina Canfield

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

25 years of music excellence

The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates 25 years of music excellence
A right royal ending for the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s 25th anniversary season.
The expansive music epic cantata, uShaka KaSenzangakhona, which is based on the dramatic story of the Zulu King uShaka KaSenzangakhona has been chosen as the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s World Symphony Spring Season finale to take place with a host of soloists and choirs, in the Durban City Hall at 7:30pm on Thursday 13 November 2008.
“Ending the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s 25th birthday season with uShaka KaSenzangakhona - a rousing and watershed South African work feels entirely appropriate, particularly as we are utilising this concert to also recognise many distinguished South Africans who have also celebrated their birthday milestones recently: These include former President Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu who turned 90, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi who turned 80 and His Majesty King Goodwill Zweletini who turned 60.” says Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the KZNPO.
Composed by respected South African composer, arranger and choral director Professor Emeritus of African Languages, Prof J. S. Mzilikazi Khumalo, the concert is conducted by US born and SA-based conductor, Robert Maxym, who did the orchestration of this majestic piece. The narrator is Prof. Themba Msimang, a Professor of African Languages at the University of South Africa. Fellow academics, Msimang and Khumalo, found they shared an interest in the history of King Shaka, founder of the Zulu Empire. Their separate research into the life and times of King Shaka resulted in an unlikely product - a musical collaboration between the two. Ultimately librettist Themba Msimang wrote an epic narrative on King Shaka from the Zulu perspective, which composer Mzilikazi Khumalo set to music.
Soloists featured are the distinguished South African and Juilliard trained soprano Linda Bukhosini who has performed at prestigious concert halls around the world; Tina Mene - the accomplished mezzo-soprano who appeared recently at the International Society for the Performing Arts Congress at the Playhouse in Durban; Themba Mkhwani - the charismatic tenor who is a T V personality and Musa Ngquwana - the highly gifted bass baritone who is currently finishing his studies at the University of Cape Town Opera School. Three powerful choirs comprising of 150 voices will also be on stage: the national choral competition champions - the African Chorus and SA Singers who will be joined by the Durban Symphonic Choir - the mainstay of Durban choirs.
Ushaka KaSenzangakhona: An epic in music and poetry on Shaka, son of Senzangakhona is a delicate blend of Zulu and European elements and it is sung in isiZulu. This work looks at the life of King Shaka in four distinct parts: his birth; his youth; his reign and victories and finally, his death.
Tickets for the concert range from R60 to R173 and are available through Computicket. Patrons are invited to book early to avoid disappointment. Contact Computicket on 083 915 8000 or visit Patrons are reminded that parking is available at the Royal Hotel Parking Garage and security guards are stationed between the garage and the City Hall.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Move to the right for BOK emblem

The Springbok emblem is set to be culled in its current form, but the leaping antelope will stay on future national rugby team jerseys.
That was the decision taken at an SA Rugby Union Presidents’ Council meeting in Johannesburg last week.
The union will duly place the flower on the left breast of the bottle-green jersey, following calls to scrap the Springbok emblem during a national sports indaba in Durban last month.
The Springbok will move to the right breast, and the team will still be known as the Springboks.
The union will discuss its decision with sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile on November 18 .
Stofile claimed that the government “owned” the Springbok emblem. But yesterday the union confirmed that it owned the emblem.
“The council noted legal advice that Saru is the sole proprietor and legal owner of the Springbok badge, emblem and trademark and would continue to wear the emblem alongside the King Protea on the national playing jersey,” the union said in a statement.

Monday, 3 November 2008

MR BONES 2 Premiere in Durban

Mr Bones 2: Back from the Past - the follow-up to the phenomenally successful Leon Schuster comedy, Mr Bones - will have its world premiere screening at a glittering invitation-only gala event at the International Convention Centre in Durban on November 13.
The city of Durban is proud to host the world premiere event, in association with film producers Videovison Entertainment. The majority of the film was shot in and around Durban earlier this year in what the city hopes will be the first of many such major collaborations with South African and international film-makers.
Mr Bones 2: Back From The Past was initially planned to have been shot in Mumbai, but after visiting locations in and around Durban, Schuster and director Gray Hofmeyr (who also directed the original 2001 film) re-considered the location and ultimately transferred the shoot of the movie to Durban.
Durban features strongly in the movie. It was chosen as the film has a strong Indian flavour. The film was shot in and around the city with major locations being the Dakota informal settlement in Isipingo Beach; Umhlanga; La Mercy and Blue Lagoon.
It is the first time Schuster has done any major filming in Durban and, judging from the praise from director, producer and crew, he may well be back. “Everybody had a great time in Durban,” confirms producer Anant Singh of Durban-based Videovision Entertainment. "Leon was keen to do a movie in Durban and this one will help put our city as a major film location in South Africa." Singh said that the majority of the budget of the film was spent in Durban and this would have a positive economic impact on the city.
The benefits are substantial from a tourist standpoint, because you can assume that almost every South African will at some point see the movie,” said Singh.