Grand Africa, voyage day 42 – Durban, South Africa


20 November 2022, Durban, South Africa

Today is Sunday.  And today is my Safari.  I slept in till 7:15am and went to the Main Dining Room for a special breakfast:  orange juice, figs, a Dungeness Crab Egg Benedict with honey glazed ham, and coffee.Also sent out a bag of laundry.

The original ship’s itinerary had us stopping in Richards Bay, South Africa, which is close to good game reserves.  In September this port was changed to Durban.  We are scheduled to dock after 11am today.  Today’s game reserve plan needs lots of time, but all aboard is 10:30pm.  My morning is free until meeting my tour group at 11:30am.

The ship’s port day Interdenominational church service is 6pm, while I am on tour.  So, this morning I watched our home church’s online service for Nov 13.  Happy to see Stacie singing and to hear Greg’s powerful testimony.  Rev. Hughes preached on Exodus and Isaiah.
The ship’s bumpy ride continues as we sail south.
We started seeing land near Durban about 11am.
I heard that the Pilot arrived onboard by helicopter.

I went to the Explorer’s Lounge to meet Jan J’s Across Africa Tours group for the Durban Game Reserve Tour.  Our ship docked at 11:30am.  I sat next to Jan & David S, who were going on a similar tour.  Our ship was cleared at 12 noon, and we were all pretty much escorted off the ship in the first group.  So far so good.

Durban has a beautiful new Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal.  That is where we stood in a looong Disneyland-type line for the South Africa Face to Passport arrival inspection, also turning in our Arrival Forms.

I was ready at 12:30pm to board van #3 as planned by Mary Ann and Jan J.  Instead, we were told to board any of the vans after picking up a sack lunch.  Jan J. tried to account for all 60 people.  She was told that they were only expecting 35.  My van had 20 people stuffed to it, including Jan J. And guide Tom.
We drove through Durban, which is a huge city.  The countryside was beautiful rolling hills with lots of trees.  They use eucalyptus for lumber.  Recent rains made everything green.  We were thanked for bringing sunshine.  It was a nice breezy 75-degree day.  Farms flourished in the rich soil.  Saw a few jacaranda trees in bloom. Pretoria is the Jacaranda City.   South Africa is such a beautiful country.
Tom was not happy that so many alien plants have been brought to this country.  He told us how the huge trucking industry has killed trains.  The corruption that Kate Ross told us about is true.

After an hour drive, we were at Tala Game Reserve.  
“Escape the city and embark on a journey into the rolling hills of South Africa’s Natal Midlands.  You’ll venture into the Tala Game Reserve for 2 – 3 hours’ drive, where you’ll have a chance to explore the privately-owned eco estate known for its wildlife and birds.  It’s the perfect way to enjoy spectacular scenery and African wildlife in a close-top safari vehicle / 4 x 4 safari vehicle. .  .  7pm leave. .  .  arriving 9:45pm to board your cruise .”

Everyone stood around, encouraged to eat their lunch, or visit the gift shop.  No safari vehicles were available for us.  We did our game drive in a parade of six vans, but at least everyone had a window seat for this.  We started at 1:45pm.

We saw black rhinos and their egrets fairly close up.  Also saw at a distance kudos, horned impalas, water buffalo, zebras, ostriches, and one far away giraffe.  And a little bright red bird.

Afterwards I munched on my sack lunch and spring rolls that had been set out for us.
Spotted an open-roof Jeep-type safari vehicle and a larger roofed one making me think of a troop carrier.
We were also scheduled to visit Natal Lion Park, but that did not happen.  Closed?
We left Tala at 5pm and were delivered to the cruise terminal at 6pm.

I found the Holland America shuttle bus (huge and grubby) to nearby Ushaka Marine World.  Ship’s crew members enjoyed this a lot.  Not much was open when I arrived, but I did get a little shopping done.  Took the shuttle back to the cruise terminal at 7pm.  Went through security in the terminal and boarded the ship.  Good to be home.
Not very hungry, so I tried the Pickled Herring appetizer (yum!), Split Pea & Ham Soup, Raspberry Mousse Torte, and decaf coffee for dinner.

My morning’s laundry was delivered, clean on hangers and folded.  
One chocolate tonight with the Daily Program.
I had such high hopes for South Africa.  So far, I am disappointed.
The ms Zaandam did not sail as scheduled at 11pm.

Photo gallery by Barbara Cummings

Photo by Pixabay on

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