Durban Beaches, Verulam, and Gandhi


Durban Skyline from Coco Beach Promenade

Durban’s beaches are fascinating and beautiful. I’ve been exploring but haven’t found a “favorite” beach yet. November weather is volatile and windy – clear in the high 80s one day, rainy 60s to 70s the next. The storms are proper deluges with violent cracking thunder and lightning. Like Oregon, in less than an hour, skies can change from blue to menacing grey, black, and white. I fell asleep at Uhmlanga Rocks and woke up to wild dark skies –  followed by heavy rain.

Coco Beach Sky

Except for Istanbul, I’ve never seen so many tankers in a harbor! At all times, there are 30 or more waiting to enter the bustling shipyards.

Tankers Near Umhlanga Rocks Beach

Durban Beaches

So far, the beaches are my favorite Durban experience. Nothing compares to Cape Town’s magnificent Table Mountain. Haven’t explored Durban’s arts world except for a Philharmonic concert and a few museums and galleries.

Animals and nature are a big part of South Africa. I want to visit more game reserves in the area, many only a few hours away.

Beachgoers Ansteys Beach

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“The year 2014 marks a hundred years since Mahatma Gandhi left South Africa for good after spending his formative years in this country, where he developed his philosophy of satyagraha, a form of active yet peaceful resistance to political injustices.”

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Methodist Church Verulam

I’m trying to understand Durban’s suburbs and districts. Planned to hike in a nearby nature reserve on Sunday and arrived to find zero cars in the parking area. Burman Bush is part of Durban’s municipal Open Space System. It’s a gorgeous 180-acre coastal forest reserve in the heart of Morningside neighborhood. As I was putting on my daypack, noticed a homeless encampment in the bushes and several threatening-looking people. Decided to change plans. It’s sad that there are dangerous areas.

Ballito Beachgoer

Verulam Churches, Hindu Temples, and Mosques

Got lost in a small town called Verulam. Verulam was settled in 1850 by British Methodists. The town was named after the Earl of Verulam, patron of the Brits who settled there.

One Verulam street is named after George Sewpersadh, an Indian political activist. There’s an old neglected but interesting Methodist church near the courthouse. It’s said to be one of the oldest churches in KwaZulu Natal. A local man told me there were plans in the works to restore it as a historical monument.

Vendor Umhlanga Rocks Beach

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“The Muslim community played a major role in the history of Verulam. Sunni Mosque is in central Verulam on Wick Street, with palm trees in the front that are over 80 years old.”

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Sunni Mosque Verulam

Verulam is also home to Sri Gopalall Hindu Temple which opened in 1913 by Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi spent his formative years in South Africa. Nearby Gayathri Peedam is the only Hindu temple in Africa that houses two full figure Gayathri Murthis.

Umhlanga Rocks Beach

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“By capitalism I just want to make this one point. From the beginning of time we have had social changes. Power concentrated in a few hands leads to exploitation and abuse and wrongdoing. The whole basis of change is to get more and more people involved in the sharing of power.” 

George Sewpersadh

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Methodist Church Veralum

I’m sorting through my luggage to leave behind excess and take only what’s necessary to the Seychelles. I’ll be arriving on Mahé Island December 1 to thunderstorms and temperatures in the mid-80s!

More later…

2 thoughts on “Durban Beaches, Verulam, and Gandhi

  1. Very interesting post. I could lose myself in that Gandhi website for example. And Oregon has fickle weather you suggest? We are going there next May/June! We intend to drive up the coast from San Francisco to Astoria and then across to Portland.

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  2. Oregon weather can go through three days in one hour – clear, cloudy, raining, hailing, snowing, clear again. It’s crazy. The Cascades are beautiful as is the Columbia River Gorge. Oregon summer weather begins in July. San Francisco where I lived for almost 40 years B4 retiring in Oregon has lots of summer fog unless you go inland to places like the Napa Valley – take a sweater! Not that familiar with Australian coastlines so the California Oregon coast may or may not be interesting to you. Leaving Friday for Seychelles where it is in the 80s with thunderstorms for the next few days…. We don’t get very much lightning and thunder in Oregon – like it! ;)

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