As global attention is focused on South Africa as a result of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, Demola Ojo highlights a few memorable activities those in that country for the games can take advantage of...
With two thirds of the on-going African Cup of Nations completed, the last week will feature a concentration of activities in Durban and Johannesburg especially. From a Nigerian point of view, the winner of today's quarter final match between the Super Eagles and the Elephants of Ivory Coast will shift base to Durban for a midweek semi-final with the final match set to be played in Johannesburg next Sunday.
Regardless of the result of today's game -and subsequent ones- there are a few things worth knowing and doing in Durban and Joburg.
Catch an Enchanting Sunrise
Durban's main attraction is a strip of land known as the Golden Mile. It has the major hotels, bars, restaurants and entertainment outlets facing out towards the Indian Ocean. Stay at a hotel on this strip and experience a breathtaking sunrise ever, from as early five on some mornings.
One of the best places to catch this sunrise and chill generally is the rooftop poolside of the 32-floor Southern Sun North Beach Hotel.
It is also fun exploring the coastline by bicycle. Most of the hotels here have thisoption for a few of R50 an hour.
Take a ride on the Anaconda at the Gold Reef Theme Park
The uShaka Marine World in Durban has been mentioned in this section a couple of times and for good reason too. The dolphin and seal shows are captivating and the chance to feed sharks is sure to excite a few wildlife enthusiasts.
Experience the Moses Mabhida Stadium
No picture of the Durban skyline is complete without the arch of the Moses Mabhida Stadium which is the longest in the world. This arch is put to use in a number of ways; the SkyCar from which much of the city is visible runs on the arch, while extreme sports enthusiasts can bunjee swing from the top.
Luxury Yacht Cruise
Just as impressive as its sunrise is, Durban's sunset which is a nature lover's delight and there is no better way to see the sun sink behind the city's skyscrapers than from the ocean itself. There are many yachts for hire at the Durban harbour and for a fee of around 300 dollars an hour, you can get one and soak in a unique lifetime experience.
If you get lucky, dolphins in the wild, sometimes numbering up to 30, follow the yacht on its cruise along the coastline.
Immerse in Sandton
"Africa's richest square mile," is Jo'burg's leading business centre and home to the Sandton Convention Centre and the second largest shopping mall south of the equator, Sandton City.
There are numerous five-star hotels in Sandton, a good choice being the snazzy Radisson Blu Guatrain, which is walking distance from the Sandton City Shopping Mall, Nelson Mandela Square and the Guatrain terminal. The Guatrain is a rapid transit railway system that runs from the OR Tambo International Airport through Sandton, Johannesburg to Pretoria. makes it to Sandton from the airport in 15 minutes.
Get a full body massage at Sandton Sun Spa before shopping at the Sandton Mall where international brands ranging from Woolworths and Edgars to high-end design houses like Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Gucci, and more as well as Apple's iStore can be found.
Gold Reef Theme Park
The Gold Reef City Theme Park has an abundance of adventures and more than thirty adrenaline-boosting thrill rides. Take this writer's tip and join the young and young at heart by indulging in heart stopping Anaconda ride; it twists, turns and plunges from dizzying heights through rocks at speeds bordering on 100 km/h.
South African History Lessons
Visit the Apartheid Museum, a complex dedicated to illustrating apartheid and the 20th century history of South Africa. The museum illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid with the use of pictures and videos that document South African history.
A visit to Soweto is an opportunity to see the house Nelson Mandela lived in and that of fellow Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu. Both are amazingly in the same vicinity, walking distance from each other.
SkyCar at Moses Mabhida Stadium