Today was Durban. Not much is open on Boxing Day, but we went on a coach tour to the Tala Game Reserve and spent the morning in an open-sided four by four taking photos of zebras and BABY zebras and impala (small type of antelope) and BABY impala and wildebeest and BABY wildebeest and giraffes and ostriches and lots of other cool stuff I never thought I would see up close and personal.
There are no predators at the reserve, so we saw no lions or cheetahs or hyenas. I felt a bit cheated on that front. It is also too small a reserve for elephants. I was surprised when I found out it is a private reserve, owned by one man. I would have preferred to go to a charitable one or a publicly-owned one. Mind you, I’m not even sure there are any. Didn’t get burned or bitten and took 170 pictures. A very pleasant morning. Back to the ship for a rather late lunch (roast lamb) and then out onto the quayside to look at the craft stalls that had been set up in the terminal for us. Bought some nice stuff, including a necklace for myself made of haematite (look it up, I had to!). Then back on board to write postcards in the air-conditioned bliss of my cabin. Hot and humid is all very well, but it’s nice when it stops too! The weather was glorious and sunny and lovely but a little more breeze would have been welcome! The trouble with humid is that it doesn’t get turned off when you go in the shade. The heat does, but not the humidity. Bleurgh.
What astonished me about Durban was the green. I have always had a mental image of Africa as desert, dry and warm but fairly barren. Like Namibia was, or Cairo. Durban was one of, if not, the greenest places we have seen so far on this trip. Quite astonishing. Words like verdant would be needed to do it justice, or lush.
I also found out that about one sixth of Durban’s population is of Indian descent and they are Hindus. Just not the sort of thing I expected to find! There is a huge chicken industry here, and McDonalds had to close most of their branches, both because the Hindus, of course, don’t each beef. Very interesting and nice to learn something new. Incidentally, talking of things I learned today, impala are one of the few animals in the world that can DECIDE when to give birth. They can delay or induce whenever they feel the conditions are right and can also abort and completely reabsorb a foetus if they feel conditions aren’t right. Wow. How weird is that?!
Tomorrow is Richards Bay and then to Mayotte. Anyone who mentions tropical storms over Madagascar gets a slap.