Want to learn about Durban history, and get fresh air and exercise at the same time?
You can when you go on a walking tour with Durban Walking Tours.
Alison Chadwick founded Durban Walking Tours and she handed over the reins to Ruth Hagen and Lynne Schwan.
Multilingual Ruth speaks Swiss-German, German and English and she is keen to share her knowledge and insights into the history and context of the sights and scenes of the popular Durban walking routes. Ruth recently won the Tour Guide award at the Durban Tourism Business awards.
Lynne is a native English and basic German speaker and a recently qualified tour guide.
I had wanted to go on a Durban walking tour for years but had never managed to. We (husband, sister and brother in law) were privileged to go on Ruth and Lynne’s very 1st tour – the Point Walk.
“A refreshing walk around the Point taking in the old and the new; the area is steeped in history. Plus, many new and enchanting places you would never know existed unless you went on a walking tour!”
This tour includes:
Point Prison, Rope Shed, Natal Harbour Board, Lion Match Factory, New Passenger Terminal, NSRI, Dock Houses, Lady in White, The Bond Shed Point Canals, Escombe Sea Wall, Bamboo Square, Point Police Station, Point Fire Station, The Anchor Hotel, Point Railway Station, The Gate Retiring Room, The Seafarer’s Club, Victorian Warehouses.
This is not a short little amble, it is over 7kms and takes over 3 hours so you must make sure you have comfortable shoes. You will see restored and unrestored buildings – beautiful architecture from a bygone era.
The second tour my husband and I did was a Special Interest Tour – Military History Tour. We visited the Durban Light Infantry, Old Fort Chapel and the M.O.T.H Museum.
Unfortunately Durban Walking Tours have been unable to gain access to Durban Light Infantry again for tours, but this part of the tour has been replaced by the Natal Mounted Rifles.
“We are very excited that we have now found a new venue with lots of history and it’s at the Natal Mounted Rifles. This regiment was established in 1854 and is the second oldest in the country. They have many fantastic displays and memorabilia. We together with Craig Oliver, our specialized guide are looking forward to hosting you on our Military Tour.”
The tour duration is 3 hours and there is not much walking as it is a special interest tour.
This tour includes :
Old Fort, Chapel at Old Fort, M.O.T.H displays of various wars, M.O.T.H members meeting room, Introduction of the NMR and Stamford Hill Aerodrome, Display of tanks, NMR Museum and M.O.T.H shrine at the NMR.
FLORIDA ROAD WALK
The third walk I did was their Florida Road walk. We followed the path that the elephants took 170 years ago. From Mitchell Park and Jameson Park all the way down to the bottom of Florida Road with a visit to Ikes Bookshop. This tour also needs comfortable shoes, water, hat and sunscreen as it is over 3 hours.
This tour includes :
Mitchell Park, The Elephant House, Jamieson Park, Tramway House, Edwardian Houses, Florida Fields, Llanberis, Cecile and Boyd, Street Art, Hollis House, Florida Park Hotel, The Benjamin, Quarters Hotel and Ikes Bookshop.
The most recent walk I took with Durban Walking Tours was to the Mariannhill Monastery and my mother accompanied me.
Mariannhill Monastery was established in 1885 by Abbot Francis Pfanner and at one stage it was the biggest Trappist Monastery in the world.
The tour is just over 3 hours and you will walk about 4 kms in total.
This tour includes :
St Joseph Cathedral, Cemetery, Residence of the brothers and dining room, Cloister garden, clock tower, Mariannhill Monastery Cathedral, Working parts of the monastery – carpentry, candle making, tailor and printing works.
Durban Walking Tours also offer other tours such as Grey Street Walk, Children Activity Tours (during holidays), Victorian Embankment, Hop On-Off City Bus, City, Berea, Morningside Mansions, Kearsney Manor and they can do private tours for camera clubs or school groups etc.
The tours cost R250 per person.
Grey Street Walk is R285 per person as a light vegetarian meal is included.
All tours are in English