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The Beachwood Mangrove Reserve was established in 1977, and protects an area of natural mangrove forest and the Umgeni river estuary. It is a haven for many types of marine birds (some now extremely rare), shellfish and crabs. As well as being one of the only places where you can see three protected species of trees, the red, white and black Beachwood.
The forest is accessed by a boardwalk that takes you on a circular route though the mangroves, over a river and then out onto the beach. It then doubles back to the picnic and parking areas.
It’s amazing that this little bit of land has been so well preserved, and there are many happy little crabs going about their business. But to me it’s also a little sad that this small area is the last bastion of safety for so many creatures. We humans take so much and leave so little untouched, it’s wonderful that this reserve has managed to hold its ground. It also serves as a reminder that most of Durban’s beachfront was once Mangrove swamps. It’s a great place to go for a stroll and get a sense of what Durban’s coastal areas were like before the invasion of humans.
There are also great picnic areas, so be sure to pack you basket.
One of my very fondest memories as a child is of going to Mini Town on the Durban Beachfront. So the opportunity to relive that memory was for me very exciting. It’s was all just as impressive as I remember, though I’m sure that from a child’s perspective it must have seemed much more so.
What the makers have accomplished is a real marvel. After a little bit of research I discovered that the first model was made in 1963, and that all the models are made right there in Mini Town, and maintenance and repairs are done by a group of talented and dedicated staff.
Mini Town is really more a venue for children (I remember having to be quite literally dragged out), and we saw quite a few little ones in awe of all that there is to see, but I’m sure that anyone who’s young at heart will enjoy a visit too. All the trains, planes and boats that move around constantly. The scenes painstakingly depicted, and all the extra tiny details that really bring the scenes to life. It’s amazing.
So if you find yourself on some Saturday morning hankering for something different to do, why not spend an hour or so at Mini Town. And be sure to take your camera, there are some excellent Godzilla photo opportunities awaiting you.
Going to the Durban July was to me something that other people did. Socialites who are accustomed to the fanfare and glamour synonymous with the July do that sort of thing, not me. So when Taryn and I decided to go I was more than just a little out of my comfort zone. Planning outfits, donning make up and quaffing of hair is not my forte. But once all that was behind me and we had arrived it’s so easy to get swept up in the sport of kings.
As we made our way through crowds of thrill seekers and fashionistas the excitement took over and the next few hours simply flew by. Granted most of those hours were spent milling about, but there’s really so much action all around that you’re never bored.
And then of course there’s the races. Which are fun enough in their own right, but it has to be said there’s nothing like a bit of money to up the interest levels. Being total amateurs we had to do some consulting before we placed our bets, mostly because we had absolutely no idea whatsoever as to how it all worked. But we managed to find some serious betters who were kind enough to surreptitiously instruct us. Once the bets were in, including quite a few made via phone for friends and family, the real task was finding a good vantage point from which to watch your winner cross the line. This is where our inexperience caught up with us, we were there, we saw them cross the line, and then we spent the next twenty minutes asking people what the hell just happened. The horses fly by at such a speed, all bunched up, jostling for that winning position that it’s virtually impossible to make out their numbers, and who can remember which colour belongs to which rider. Especially after a few vodkas, some shooters and a rather large amount of excitement.
And yet somehow we had won Lady Luck ‘s favor. Of the 7 horses chosen four placed in paying positions. ..Now if we could just remember who bet on which horse…. Hic!
What a spectacle. To see and be seen at the Durban July. Never a dull moment to be sure. Wherever you look there is rich colour, beauty and excitment. And it’s infectious.