Durban, South Africa

Durban Travel Blog

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At the Durban Seafarer's Center, one of my shipmates chatting up the lady bartender.

I worked on an old steam ship, a tramp steamer in 2008. We made two trips to Africa and the Middle East on a UN contract shipping grain from Lake Charles, Louisiana USA to the people of various countries. On the second trip we stopped in Durban, South Africa after stopping in Aqaba, Jordan; Mombasa, Kenya; and Beira, Mozambique. We unloaded the last of our cargo of grain in Durban and left from there to go to Houston, Texas.

When we first finished unloading in Durban, the company did not have another load for us so we went outside the harbor and dropped our anchor and waited a day or two until the company got another load for us. Our ship had to vacate the pier and make room for another ship plus the pier charge per day is several thousand dollars.

Ships 3rd engineer, my supervisor, on the top deck with Durban in the background. The ship was at anchor waiting for word about another load.
The crew were not too happy about this because several of them had made good connections in Durban and were having the time of their life every night. Finally the company called with a new load and at that point we headed for Houston, Texas to load another load of loose grain to take to West Africa. My contract was up and I did not get to go to West Africa.

We first entered Durban early morning again with very hazey skys which continued all the time we were there and did not make for good photo weather. Most of my pictures are of the harbor and city skyline. I did not get to go ashore much in the daytime and only went to the Seafarer's Center a few times at night, once in downtown Durban and one day at a new modern mall where my supervisor bought a Harley Davidson t-shirt and I bought some souviners for my daughter.

Myself in my engine room uniform with Durban in the background.
Durban has an exceptionally nice Seafarer's Center with a nice bar. I met some merchant mariners from UK, Germany, P.I., Russia, and several countries. That was a good experience.

We kept being warned to be careful about muggings and street crime by the ship's officers but I did not see any problems at all nor did any of the crew report any problems and some of them came back to the ship in no shape to defend themselves! I felt safe all the time and maybe I was just lucky or maybe the reports are exaggerated. We did not see an excessive amount of police or military and  I believe all the military we saw was in the harbor where a South African submarine and submarine tender were docked along with a smaller navy patrol boat.

We bought some cool souviners including some real ostrich eggs drained of all liquid through a small round hole in the end and painted and decorated with beautiful colors, maps of Africa, and various other forms of African art.

Ships at anchor outside Durban Harbor.
My supervisor bought a cool wooden walking stick of high quality and it had a secret button when pushed released a sharp stiletto knife! Probably illegal in the US but who is asking!

Downtown the streets were wide with many high rise office buildings and one with a revolving restaurant on the roof. If the traffic had not been traveling on the left side of the road, it would have looked like the downtown area of any US city.

We had a good time here in our off time and this is one city we visited that I would come back to anytime I could. I recommend this city to all of my TravBuddys.

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At the Durban Seafarers Center, o…
At the Durban Seafarer's Center, …
Ships 3rd engineer, my supervisor,…
Ships 3rd engineer, my supervisor…
Myself in my engine room uniform w…
Myself in my engine room uniform …
Ships at anchor outside Durban Har…
Ships at anchor outside Durban Ha…
Near the entrance to Durban Harbor
Near the entrance to Durban Harbor
Entering Durban Harbor with Durban…
Entering Durban Harbor with Durba…
Construction of a new stadium in D…
Construction of a new stadium in …
Main part of Durban from the outer…
Main part of Durban from the oute…
Harbor entrance
Harbor entrance
Harbor entrance
Harbor entrance
Dredging in the harbor entrance
Dredging in the harbor entrance
Dredging in the harbor entrance
Dredging in the harbor entrance
One of tugs coming out to escort u…
One of tugs coming out to escort …
Durban docks
Durban docks
Durban docks
Durban docks
Durban docks
Durban docks
Part of our deck crew
Part of our deck crew
I am not sure what this is but it …
I am not sure what this is but it…
South African submarine and submar…
South African submarine and subma…
S.A. navy patrol boat
S.A. navy patrol boat
Durban docks and container yard
Durban docks and container yard
Durban docks and container yard
Durban docks and container yard
Our second tug. This tug was very …
Our second tug. This tug was very…
Oil tanker riding high after unloa…
Oil tanker riding high after unlo…
Pleasure craft dodging the ocean g…
Pleasure craft dodging the ocean …
Our third engineer with Durban in …
Our third engineer with Durban in…
Me in my engine room uniform with …
Me in my engine room uniform with…
Our deck crew getting ready to tie…
Our deck crew getting ready to ti…
A RO/RO (roll on / roll off) ship …
A RO/RO (roll on / roll off) ship…
Durban town and the yacht club
Durban town and the yacht club
RO / RO
RO / RO
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photo by: Sjoshie