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Dolphin Shows, Botanical Gardens, and Beaches (Durban and Umhlanga, South Africa)

Dolphin Shows, Botanical Gardens, and Beaches (Durban and Umhlanga, South Africa)

Durban

This past weekend we took advantage of the four-day holiday and drove five hours from Ladybrand, South Africa around the northern tip of Lesotho into Kwa-Zulu Natal.  The drive itself was beautiful, which changed from and endless mountainous landscape into a lush and tropical one as we hit the coast.

We really only had a couple of days to explore Durban and Umhlanga along the coast, but we packed a lot in.  We were happy to have found a B&B that takes children, because we made our booking the day before we took off, and found that many places, to our surprise, were not interested in hosting little ones (sometimes under five and others under twelve).

On Friday evening we walked along the boardwalk across many of the beaches Umhlanga boasts.  The Indian Ocean was a bit rough and really cold, so we didn’t venture too far in, but Veda still enjoyed running in and out of the water close to shore, and of course playing in the sand.  When she was through we wrapped in her in a towel and enjoyed some beer and wine at one of the several restaurants along the boardwalk overlooking the sea.

On Saturday we spent most of the day at Ushaka Marine World.  Veda absolutely loved pressing her face to the glass of the many giant aquariums holding fish, rays, and sharks among many other sea creatures.  She sat staring in awe at the dolphin show, clapping sporadically as they jumped to music and songs.  After we had our fill we jumped to the other side (Wet’n'Wild) and had fun sliding down water slides into a lazy river that meanders through the water park that shares grounds with the aquarium.

On Sunday we decided to drive through Durban and toured the Victoria Street Market area in the city center, which feels and smells like India with all the bustling off a typical market life.  The British had brought Indian slaves here during the colonial days to work on the sugar plantations in the area.  We spent a good couple of hours at the free Durban Botanical Gardens just adjacent to the market.  It was lovely and lush with huge old trees and gardens, including a beautiful orchid house.  There were grassy areas with plenty of room for families to spread out and have a picnic and a tame game of cricket.

We returned to Umhlanga in the afternoon and enjoyed some more beach time and boardwalk fun.  Veda slept through a free jazz concert by the Umhlanga light house which was really pleasant for mom and dad to chill out and relax after a bustling weekend! We definitely could have spent a lot more time in Durban and Umhlanga and hope to head back again on our next trip to South Africa.  This was one of our first really kid-oriented vacations (instead of just taking Veda along for the ride), and she absolutely loved it and crashed hard and slept well every night!

Related Pages:

South Africa

Enjoying the Maletsunyane Falls in Semonkong, Lesotho

Meerkats at Moolmanshoek

Take the Time to Stop and Lick the Rocks (Drakensberg, South Africa)

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