Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Soccer Stadium near completion

A 5 min drive or 20 min walk from Gibela Backpackers Lodge - Durban.

Standing on the newly laid pitch with its signature arch soaring overhead and the 56 000 permanent seats all in place, one can almost see the crowds taking their seats and the excitement mounting in Durban's dramatic new multi-purpose stadium.

It's just weeks to go now until the city's Moses Mabhida Stadium - which will seat 69 000 during the tournament and host seven FIFA World Cup™ matches, including a semi-final - is complete.

At the height of construction of the stadium, there were over 2 500 workers on site, but on a quiet Sunday morning only a handful of workers are left, erecting balustrades, putting the last touches to the venue offices and cleaning up walkways and access areas.

"We are just weeks away from a complete stadium now. Then it's over to FIFA and the Organising Committee to get it operationally ready for a World Cup, but the plan is to open it up to Durban citizens long before," says head of the eThekwini Municipality's Strategic Projects Unit and 2010 Programme, Julie May Ellingson.

Finalists in a local schools World Cup competition will be the lucky teams to be the first to step out onto the new turf to mark the stadium's opening in front of the city's residents on 28 November 2009.

This will be followed the day after with a match between two yet-to-be-announced Premier Soccer League (PSL) sides. A number of concerts and further PSL matches are planned from January to May next year to give the stadium the stress tests it needs to ensure it is operationally ready next June for football's greatest showpiece, the FIFA World Cup.

The focus now shifts to the precinct projects and ensuring fans, players and the media can easily access the stadium on match day.

Durbanites are renowned for really making the most of a sporting match day. When residents of the city attend a football, cricket or rugby match they get to the venue hours before, parking in adjacent fields and setting up braais (barbeques) alongside their cars for pre-and post-match festivities which often go into the morning's early hours.

To ensure this spirit is maintained, numerous park and ride and park and walk facilities are planned and some R250 million is being spent upgrading the beach promenade and extending the walkway from the beach all the way to the stadium.

A ‘People's Park' is also being developed adjacent to the stadium, which will be one of the hubs of spectator festivities during the tournament.

Fans will also be conveniently transported to the stadium by rail, with a new train station adjacent to the stadium currently under construction.

"For us as a city it was always very important that the stadium is financially viable after 2010. For this reason we have built a multi-functional stadium that can serve the needs of football, rugby and athletics. We have worked hard to ensure that the entire precinct becomes an area used by the residents of the city," explains Ellingson.

"The People's Park is an important legacy project for us. This park is a green space next to the stadium which includes two training fields, a running and cycling track, a children's playground and a tea garden. Residents and visitors can also ride a cable car to the top of the arch, or climb the 550 steps, for spectacular 365 degree views of the adjacent Indian Ocean and the city. For the adventure junkies, there will also be a bungee swing from the stadium's arch," Ellingson outlines.

The stadium will also feature 72,00 m² of retail space and a gym, which will also help ensure it is used for far more than only sporting events and becomes a constantly bustling, well-utilised asset of the city.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Direct Flights to Durban by Emirates

In celebration of their new frequency, Emirates will launch the Durban route with an introductory fare of just R4595.00 for passengers travelling to Dubai. This fare is valid from the route’s first flight on 1 October until 31 October 2009.

With the launch of the new route, travellers from KwaZulu-Natal will be able to experience Emirates’ renowned service and product offering, while the airline opens up the province to the world. Durban residents will now have convenient access to any part of the globe, directly from their home city through Emirates’ Dubai hub.

Members of Skywards — the airline's loyalty club — flying on Emirates from Durban in October will also earn double Skywards miles in Economy class and triple the amount of miles in Business and First class. The bonus miles are only earned on the Durban-Dubai-Durban legs of travel, but members can still obviously travel onwards to Emirates' dozens of destinations across the globe.

For more information on Emirates and the new route to Durban, visit http://www.emirates.com/za

The airport is linked to Gibela Backpackers by the Airport Bus Shuttle Service. Cost is R 100-00 p.p. and is a door to door service. Alternatively the 20 min taxi ride will cost you R220-00 from the airport to Gibela. Gibela is situated in Morningside a 6 min walk to trendy Florida Road.