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SafariKZN-Mark
Northampton, United Kingdom

Summer in the City

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 23 Feb 2023
magine a city with a sub-tropical climate right on the beach. Where palm trees offer all year-round shade along a golden mile promenade. A golden mile which is now just under four miles in length. A place to stroll, hire a bike, trike, go cart, or segway. Take a Zulu rickshaw or ride a half pipe at the skate park. Take a cable car or a swim in a public pool. Sunbath on the beach, swim in the warm Indian Ocean or catch a wave, avoid a wipeout and cruise a crest back to the beach. This is no imaginary city, this is Durban, the warmest place to be.

I have spent some time over the years in Durban. It is where I met my wife twenty-nine years ago. It is a city I still love to visit, and we have just spent a few days there. This time there were specific reasons for visiting.

We based ourselves again at the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani perfectly situated on the beachfront and overlooking the ocean. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with en-suit bathroom. The hotel offers a spa & wellness centre. There is a choice of restaurants with cocktail bars. Everything you need and expect from a modern hotel is here including two swimming pools, one located on the hotel roof.

My first trip to Durban back in 1994 was based around cricket and this was one of the reasons for this visit. The SA20 had been launched and here in town were based The Durban Super Giants. Admittedly I am not a huge fan of franchise or twenty-twenty cricket. But never say never and you cannot judge without being there. Here in England, in my opinion, we do not have the climate for floodlit cricket. Cool and even cold nights are not suited to watching cricket, a summer sport. Durban is the other end of the scale. Steamy, warm, humid and even hot long after sunset. Perfect for spectators. But how many spectators would turn up? To my amazement, where cricket is not a top sport, the crowds came flooding in. Hats off, bucket hats, to the organisers as the ground was close to capacity for both games I attended. Nearly twenty five thousand fans including many families with children. They were greeted by live music, local DJ’s, dancers and fireworks. We were on a grass bank where the locals made us totally welcome. They shared a beer or two and a homemade curried tin fish sandwich. I can only say well done to all those involved for putting together a hugely successful tournament packed with many international stars from England. If you are cricket fan and want some winter warmth, think Durban and the Super Giants. One last thing and a first for me. We sat enjoying a post-match cold beer on the deck at our hotels panorama bar and looking down there were children playing cricket. Inspired by the game there they were under the palm trees with street lights for floodlights inspired to bat and bowl by the beach.

Are you familiar with a bunnychow? If not, in layman’s terms, it is a curry served in a quarter or half hollowed out loaf of bread. Did you know there is even a World Bunnychow Day? I will not go here into the history of this unique dish other than to say it was created in Durban where it has its roots firmly entwined in the city’s cultural and ethnic history. I had arranged to meet and eat with Sagaran Govender, otherwise known as the Bunnyblogger. I met Sagaran through social media where he has over twenty thousand followers sharing all things bunnycow and curried. I am a curry lover and a huge fan of the bunnychow. We arranged to meet at The Curry O’s on Point Waterfront just back from the beachfront and not too far from uShaka Marine World and the new cruise terminal. What a pleasure to meet Sagaran, in English terms, a top bloke. We talked and chatted all things but top of the agenda was the bunnychow, its origins, its flavours, its content and importantly its gravy. Here we also met and chatted with Ranjini Naidoo the very proud owner of Curry O’s. What a lady, what a story of progress, determination and hard work. This lady is inspirational and someone I would like to call Auntie, out of respect, and a Durban term of endearment. Her bunnychow did not disappoint, fresh bread, succulent mutton, soft potatoes, plenty of gravy, great flavours with some background heat.

One last thing to mention from our time in the warmest place to be. I cannot surf, tried it once hopeless, but Durban and the surrounding beaches is a top surfing destination. We wanted a couple of shirts to take home and opted to visit Surf HQ, a surfing store with everything. I had a little déjà vu on entering. After asking a couple of questions I had not been in before but had seen the store and its staff on CNN News featured on African Voices Changemakers. Chatting to store owner Jean-Marc Tostee AKA JM, a surfer of note, he introduced us to Ntando Msibi AKA Biggy. The Biggy story is another inspirational one. From living on the streets of Durban through the charity Surfers Not Street Children, to afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace. As Biggy said through a big smile “tea with gogo at her house”. Gogo is Zulu for grandmother. Maybe I am ready to hit the waves again or at least get a lesson?
Date of stay: January 2023
Trip type: Travelled with friends
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
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19 - 24 of 3 368 reviews
Reviewed 9 February 2023 via mobile

Although not in the safest part of KZN, this icon has still lived up to its name. It is still a treat and still offers elegance and spoils to those fortunate enough to afford it. Wide variety of food choices and clean amenities. This could be an awesome place for a romantic getaway.

Room tip: Try get the top floors but not for children due to balcony
Date of stay: February 2023
Trip type: Travelled on business
Thank DazzaB777
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 15 December 2022

Their service was excellent, breakfast was tasty and the hotel was very clean. The staff is very kind and helpful. I would definitely go there again with the kids as they had so much fun. Booking is also easy.

Date of stay: October 2022
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank netshifhefherm
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 11 December 2022 via mobile

When I booked this hotel I was allured by the look and the location, lesson learned never be fooled by looks. I stayed here for 4 nights, I requested moving my room once due to a faulty air conditioning system which the maintenance team could not be bothered to fix, despite me asking 4 times. It’s a very tired hotel, in desperate need of room renovations. My room key card failed 3 times so I spent quite some time at reception and this hotel has the slowest lifts in the world. The quality of the food is good, but it gets mega busy at breakfast and it is disorganised chaos. The staff are cheerful but seem to always ask about tips/gratuity and they seem to prefer everyone to pay cash or card rather than charge to your room. The main pool is closed for refurbishment with an unknown timescale. Would I recommend - NO

Room tip: Breakfast is chaos.
Date of stay: December 2022
Trip type: Travelled on business
3  Thank GlobalDS76
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 13 November 2022 via mobile

Stayed in Elangeni for business for a few days. Room was 3d floor with ocean view. It’s very damp in the room with a stuffy old smell. I hung my clothes in the closet, they were dry, and they became slightly damp next day.
Towels don’t dry up at all.

Shower is within the bathtub with a curtain and water is easily spilled to the floor.

There’s no working air conditioning.

Security is very low. Elevator doesn’t need a card to operate so anyone can come up.

Service is below average.

Once I came back from a walk and I saw that someone was in my room: my bed cover was off the bed on a chair (in the morning I made my bed myself) and bedside table was moved. Maybe they started cleaning my room but didn’t finish? They came back 4 hours after that to clean but I didn’t want to leave the room at that point.

Breakfast is very average. There’s no healthy choice for breakfast: everything is fried, has fat or added sugar, you could probably eat fruit but they don’t taste good at all. Coffee is good.

They give you a tiny bottle of water at checkin and that’s all drinking water you’re going to get.

One great thing is the view, it’s fantastic but you need to open the window because windows are extremely dirty.

Room tip: Breakfast around 9 is extremely busy, be prepared to spend 40 min in a line to get seated. Better come before 7am.
Date of stay: November 2022
Trip type: Travelled on business
Thank Looli_Lo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 29 October 2022

Stayed at the Maharani towers 25 to 28 October (Tuesday to Friday) - was booked in the Elangeni but on check in was given a room at the Maharani towers. I was allowed an early check in by about an hour so was pleased with that. I was also given parking and being early enough was able to park my car securely instead of being parked on the street. One did not have to pay extra for parking. All rooms have a sea view and room is fairly big and not pokey. Bathroom only had a shower but I was pleasantly surprised given that there are many rooms, I had hot water every time I showered. Given that there are sooo many rooms, I had been a little apprehensive about noise. There was no noise from other guests and was able to sleep very well each evening. Room was promptly serviced each day. Staff were respectful. Negatives - restaurant not open during the day for lunch and dinner - you could order but via room service and work was being done where pool area on the roof was closed.

Room tip: There is no corridor connection between the Maharani and Elangeni - you have to go out on the street to walk between the two to use amenitie
Date of stay: October 2022
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Sandi112
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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