Landfall in Durban, South Africa

After two months sailing across the Indian Ocean we were glad to reach the African continent. We sailed into Durban Harbor with our friend Jean Yves who is a French sailor on s/v Solo (he completed the Vende Globe in 1992). We found room on the walk-on at Durban Marina and were helped by cruising friends Harald and Liz on s/v Mega Dream from Denmark and Norway. It was a strange sight to wake up to the metropolitan landscape (Durban has a population of about ~3 million people) after crossing the blue desert for so long. We spent our first week in Durban performing many repairs and got Galatea in top shape to continue sailing around the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Town. After fixing the generator and engine fuel injectors we ordered a new dodger and main cover. We also had our two jibs sewn. With everything in order we rented a car and met our friends Rose and Peter Bachelor from s/v Belagaer (and daughter, Claire, who had flown in from Australia for an African holiday). First we spent an afternoon at Shakaland, a Zulu village, and saw wonderful dancing.

Zululand

Next, we headed to the Hluhluwe Park to see the animals we’ve also dreamed about. We drove around the park and saw Giraffes, Rhinos, Zebras, Impalas, Kudus, and Buffalo. That night after a nice buffet dinner Rose, Claire, Gui and I went out for an “evening safari” in the Hilltop’s Land Rover. We saw many Buffalo, Zebras, Impalas, and a Hyena. Claire caught a glimpse of a hippopotamus. After three hours we were on our way back and there he was – a magnificent male leopard! The next day we drove to the adjacent Umfolozi Park and continued to be awed by Giraffes, Zebras, Baboons and White and Black Rhinoceros. We stopped for a view across a river and there she was – a beautiful Lioness on the riverbed, soaking up the rays. Here’s a look at some of these beautiful creatures.

Wildlife

A morning encounter with this giraffe.

An impala.                                                       A kudu.

A large male leopard.

A lioness basking in the sun.

Adolescent rhinos entertained us for 30 minutes.

A photogenic warthog.

A male nyala.

A curious zebra.

With Galatea in great shape we were still waiting for an ideal weather window to head south to East London, Port Elizabeth, Knysna, Mossel Bay and then False Bay enroute to Cape Town but the Southwesterlies continued to blow, so we headed to the mountains. We spent Gui’s birthday in grand natural fashion hiking to waterfalls and swimming in pools. We took a trip to the Drakensburg mountains with Alberto (Italian) and Alicia (American) from s/v Stewball.

The Drakensburg

Of course you can’t hike on an empty stomach. Peter, Gui, Alicia, Alfredo, Rose and Claire.

A view from our hike to Mushroom Rock near Cathedral Peak.

Nandi waterfall and pools where we celebrated Gui’s birthday in natural style.

Castle Peak in the Drakensburg mountains, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.

A weaver from the Zululand weavers where we bought Galatea and ourselves a Christmas rug.

Belated birthday celebration for Gui on Galatea  (39th?).

Liz (s/v Mega Dream), Tamas (s/v Viktoria, Hungary), Gui and Dava, and Isidoro (s/v Islero, Spain).

Alfredo and Alicia (Italian and American on s/v Stewball) and Sylvia and Egon (Uruguay and American).