City Lodge Hotels approached us to take part in their ‘Road Trip with City Lodge’ #CityEscapes Campaign, to see our beautiful city through the eyes of a tourist and stay the night at the lovely City Lodge Umhlanga Ridge. Being the lovers of Durban that we are, we didn’t hesitate and jumped at the opportunity to experience some of the things that we’ve probably forgotten about this sunny, happy place.
We started our morning off with a stroll down North Beach, taking in the sights and sounds of the Beachfront. Then on to the Tourism Information Centre, where we knew we’d catch the well-known, and loved, Ricksha Bus. It is something that neither of us had ever done before, and it was probably the most fun I have ever had on a bus in my life! We were treated to a slightly taller perspective of Durban, allowing us to see so much more than ever before, and were talked through the whole city by our very friendly and knowledgeable tour guide.
I was in awe of the diversity of Durban – I never actually realized how steeped in history this gorgeous city is. The architecture ranges from the 1800’s to today – from the old statues to the gardens and the spectacular historic buildings, one tends to see or perhaps just notice so much more on the Ricksha Bus – a new perspective with unrestricted views for curious eyes right over the walls and fences. At the port, we could see everything that was happening in there, even if we had no clue what was actually going on.. it was exciting to watch the busiest port in Africa at work!
The bus wasn’t packed by any stretch of the imagination, but we did make friends with a lovely young German tourist from Berlin, and she was delightfully excited about South Africa, and Durban in particular – this made our hearts swell with pride for our home. She said, and I quote; “I don’t care about Cape Town, if I wanted to see a European city I would stay in Europe! I like Durban, it’s a true African city, full of culture” – Now isn’t that just what every proud Durbanite wants to hear!?
After our three hour tour, and having inspired our new friend with a few pics to take the plunge (pardon the pun) and do the Big Swing, we took the short drive, tourist in tow, to the Moses Mabhida Stadium. The stadium is not just home to the tallest swing in the world, but also the Sky Car, which gives amazing 360 degree views of Durban (unfortunately undergoing its annual maintenance at the time of our visit). It was here that we parted ways with our German friend, who went to go buy a ticket for the swing, and moseyed on to La Lucia where we decided it would be a great opportunity to take a breather and have some ice cold drinks in the wonderful Durban climate before checking in for our overnight stay at the City Lodge Hotel Umhlanga Ridge.
I was surprized by the location of City Lodge Umhlanga Ridge, it’s literally across the road from the biggest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere! YAY!!! Check in was a breeze, and the staff were very accommodating and well spoken, the hotel is currently undergoing major refurbishment, but it didn’t hinder our enjoyment of our stay at all. The room was surprisingly spacious, with lovely courtyard views. The crisp, clean white linen was a welcome sight after a long morning in the sun, I absolutely adored the colour of the accent wall in the room, so calm and inviting. Shortly after check-in, I just couldn’t resist dragging Marco out to Gateway Theatre Of Shopping for some serious retail therapy, after all – why wouldn’t you? It was a blast! It also happened to be sale season in Gateway, so it made us both happy!
Shopping done, I opted to luxuriate in the lovely bathtub, with its open view into the room, so that we could still chat about the day and all the plans for the following day. While I soaked up the relaxing scents of my bubble bath, Marco pondered our dinner venue for the night and noticed that the room service was catered by Primi Piatti Gateway, this sparked an idea – we hadn’t been to Primi in ages! So off we went, suitably starving, as you do when dining Italian 🙂 The meal was superb and we were so ready for bed by the end of our after-dinner coffee that I was sure I’d fall asleep the minute my head hit the pillow! We ventured upstairs to our room 404, and crept into the cosy bed, with its crisp, clean sheets, poufy pillows and soft duvet, and I was gone…
After a great nights’ sleep we were treated to a full buffet breakfast (which was exactly as you’d expect, pleasant and efficient). Check-out was just as efficient and we made our way to our next adventure – the KZN Sharks Board – who are celebrating 50 years of protecting bathers, shark research and public education. It was an experience not to be missed! And we were told that there are early morning boat trips out to sea with the Sharks Board, which is now officially on my bucket list, along with a horse beach ride, helicopter flip, Segway Gliding Tour on the Beachfront from the stadium, visiting the Croc and Butterfly farms, Game Lodge Visits and sooooo much more… We shall have to do this again really soon! *excited*
Thank you City Lodge for showing us how awesome Durban is! xoxo