WildWeb is not exactly what you would call a ‘traditional’ work place, which is why our Christmas party this year was anything but ordinary. Instead of the usual end of year office function, this year the team at WildWeb decided to be tourists in our own city and do a walking tour of Durban. We deal with a lot of travel and safari clients in our business and, to be honest, sometimes their bush stories and stunning photographs make us feel downright jealous! So, while we couldn’t all jet off to Kenya for the day, we decided to explore our own jungle of the more concrete nature.
Paul (the big boss man) organised for us to do the Durban City Walking Tour with a local tour company called Street Scene . Yesterday we all headed off for our big adventure in the city which started off at a really vibey coffee shop on Station Drive called Saviour Brand. After a quick cuppa and a rescue mission for one of our lost team members, we were on our way! We were led by our lovely guide, Khuliliwe, who was a little confused when she found out that we were all locals…and that we were doing this as our Christmas party. In fact, the notion was met with much laughter. Nevertheless, she assured us that we were all in for quite an epic experience.
After a quick ride on a public taxi, we hopped off at our first stop in the centre of town and walked from there to the Workshop. The Workshop is a breath-taking historical landmark that was converted into a shopping centre and is now a melting pot of African, Indian and European Cultures. Here we enjoyed a bunny chow lunch, hailed to be the best bunny chow in Durban!
After a delicious and incredibly filling lunch, we ambled with our full bellies along to the St Paul Anglican Church, home to Durban’s largest working church organ. After that we took a walk through the City Hall precinct and took a moment to admire the amazing infrastructure. The Durban City Hall boasts a pretty incredible organ of its own however no photographs are allowed inside unfortunately.
From there we headed off again to explore the various markets and shops that the city has to offer. Everybody kept asking us where we were from and seemed very disappointed when we told them that most of us have lived in Durban all our lives. We, on the other hand, were all very excited to be seeing a part of the city that we wouldn’t usually explore. Khuliliwe, our guide, even introduced us to amahewu, a traditional drink made from fermented mealie pap. We got the pineapple flavour.
Our next stop on our city tour was the historic Juma Masjid Mosque in Grey Street. The Juma Masjid was the first mosque to be built in Durban, and the oldest and largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Before we were allowed inside we all had to remove our shoes, which by that point we were all pretty thankful to do as it was a scorching hot day and any excuse to remove an item of clothing was welcome. The girls, however, had to wear robes that made us feel like we were about to head off to Hogwarts. Darn our shameful shoulders! It was all worth it though, as the mosque was absolutely magnificent inside, and it was also very interesting to learn a little more about the Muslim culture.
After that, we went to a couple more different shops, including the Victoria Street market where you can buy any and every Indian spice under the sun. The air was so wonderfully fragrant; it was hard to actually leave that place. This is in stark contrast to our next stop on the tour, the fish market. Our final item on the city tour agenda was the Warwick Herb Market. Here traders have stands supplying various types of medicines and remedies. Customers approach the herb sellers and traditional healers with their complaints and the healers supply them with medicine accordingly.
Aside from the traders, there are also herb grinders at the market. These men are hired for a few hours at a time to grind the plants and trees into a fine powder so that it can be consumed by the customers. This is pretty back-breaking work…as Brandon quickly found out…
Although, in all fairness to Brandon, by that stage we were all pretty beat from marching around the city in the baking sun. Needless to say, we were ready for a drink! So with ice-cold beers on the brain, we all piled into a taxi and headed off to S43 (a very cool place that serves gourmet burgers and brews their own beer).
So there you have it….WildWeb’s urban adventures! And, because no adventure is complete without a group photo, we asked our waiter to take a photo of all us together, sweat and all.