Sunday, November 25, 2007

Durban - the Beach

I have never ever seen such a beach front area as the one in Durban. It had the most beautiful white sandy beaches with large waves breaking. But large areas of the beach was practically deserted - a strange feeling in the middle of the second largest city in South Africa.

I do not know whether it was the season, as this was the South African spring, but at least I found a few other explanations to this strange thing.

The sign you see on the right was one of them. There were strict regulations along the beach and large signs on you where you could and could not swim, where you were allowed to play beach ball, scuba dive, and so on..

This was basically due to the fact that there were guards that monitored the swimming and beach activities. It is particularly important to be aware of one dangerous phenomena - the rip current, along beaches as these.

Rip currents occur along shallow beach areas and may draw even the most experienced swimmer out to sea. In New Hampshire, where I stay during late summer, early fall, there are strong rip currents and instructions are put up to tell swimmers how to behave if they are taken by these strong currents.

Then there are another sign, warning against sharks.

The Natal Sharks Board, had put up large information signs telling swimmers that there were indeed sharks nets outside, but you were entering the sea at your own risk. You were also advised not to swim at dawn, dusk and at night, as risk of shark attacks where greater at these periods.

It felt a little like Jaws, as these coasts were the ones where the Great White Shark roam to prey.

If you think that I am now building up to confess that I did not dare to take a swim, you are truly wrong. I have to admit that these signs were a turn off, but I just had to try the waters. I did so, however, according to the rules. I went to the private beach at Suncoast where you paid 5 ZAR and could take a swim and even get a chair to dry. It was a great experience to stand on the beach and feel the warm waters of the Indian ocean. The sea temperature felt in excess of 25 degrees or 75F.

In order for you to get more impression of the beach I will show a little film clip displaying a 360 degree vision from where I stood close to my hotel. The Durban beach front area is a large asset for this beautiful city and worth visiting if you plan to travel to South Africa.

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