Guests cruising on the Grand World Voyage this year got to experience a southerly course, and this afforded the opportunity to explore South Africa. One of the many highlights of this region is its incredible wildlife.
From giraffes and hippos to lions and zebras, guests had the chance to go on an overland safari tour or spend the day on tour at an area reserve. Captain Mercer’s wife Karen went to Tala Game Reserve, about two hours away from Durban.
Hidden in the KwaZulu-Natal hills, Tala Private Game Reserve is an area of indigenous acacia thornveld, open grassland and sensitive wetland that provides visitors with superb game viewing experiences. Guests take an open game vehicle with highly knowledgeable and experienced rangers and a tracker who with impressive bush skills.
At Tala, the aim is to get visitors close to nature, interacting with the environment and animals, and experiencing the sights, sounds and scents of the African bush. The reserve, that spans nearly 7,500 acres and incorporates many diverse natural environments, features more than 300 bird species and big game that includes rhino, kudu, hippo, giraffe and the rare sable antelope. Several distinctive and remarkable plant species also are found at Tala. The fiery aloe in full bloom, the imposing euphorbia and the fragrant wild sage on a dewy morning make for vivid memories.
By the looks of her photos, Karen had an incredible visit and encountered several beautiful animals in the wild.
However, not all guests go on safari or seek out the four-legged friends of the continent. Mariners Jan and Dick Yetke went on tour to Howick Falls, located in the heart off the Natal Midlands.
A short drive from the Falls we visited the capture site of Nelson Mandela. There was a museum there explaining all about Mandela’s life works. Then we took the path down to the monument. It is called the “Long Walk to Freedom” and is the place where he said goodbye to freedom for 27 years. The monument at the end of the path is basically a bunch of sticks but when you get down there you see the side view of Nelson Mandela in the sticks. It is an amazing sculpture!!!! — Jan Yetke
After that we stopped at the Granny Mouse Country House, a charming country hotel and restaurant located in the Midlands Meander, where we had lunch. It was a beautiful, quaint, English cottage style place!!! We had time to walk around there and explore. They had a beautiful small wedding chapel there as well. — Jan Yetke
We then headed back to Durban. Along the way, we saw some zebras just hanging out in a field along the road. We were treated to a city-orientation tour of Durban. We drove to the Moses Mabhida Stadium for a quick photo stop. This stadium was built for the FiFa World Cup events several years ago. We then visited the Victoria Street Market, traveled along the “Golden Mile” where Zulus transport visitors in their colorful rickshaws, and we passed by the Juma Mosque, which is reportedly the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and is famous for its massive golden dome and turrets. We ended the tour following the palm tree-lined Victoria Embankment, passing the Vasco da Gama clock, the Dick King Statue, the imposing Durban Club, and the Yacht Club on the way back to the cruise terminal. The pathway along the waterfront is extremely impressive, is all public, and goes for a few miles. Very beautiful!!! We had a great day!!! — Jan Yetke
What would you like to do in Durban? Would you go to a game reserve or take a tour of the area? Tell us in the comments below.