Category Archives: Did You Know?

Elephant Seal found by locals on KZN Whale Coast – Garvies Beach, Bluff

Post as per Saambr Organisation

“And then there were two!

On Friday morning (12th February) we awoke to messages informing us of a beached elephant seal on Garvies Beach which is on the Bluff in Durban. Our first thoughts were bewilderment at the arrival of yet another Antarctic seal visitor so close to Ragnar’s arrival.

Then to more practical thoughts as to how to relocate a 130 kilogram seal from Garvies Beach to uShaka Sea World. Members of the Metro Search & Rescue, SAPS Search and Rescue, NSRI and Ethekwini lifeguards once again came to the rescue and transported the seal to us.

His arrival caused quite a dilemma as all the available rehabilitation pools were already occupied and we were uncertain whether he would be able to peacefully share Ragnar’s enclosure. He was visually examined in his transport crate and then left to rest and recover whilst the seal and animal health teams set about researching Antarctic seal behaviour. It was clearly evident that he had sustained an injury to the lower jaw which we hoped was merely a superficial laceration.

When he looked at the team with his big dark pleading eyes, it seemed appropriate to call him Dobby after the house elf in Harry Potter.

Over the weekend, upon learning from seal expert, Dr Greg Hofmeyer that it would be in order to place the two Antarctic seals together, we introduced Dobby to Ragnar. It was Ragnar who seemed genuinely pleased at the arrival of a companion. Dobby merely rested on the side of the pool, opened and closed his big eyes and seemed oblivious to Ragnar’s numerous snuggling attempts.

They were later seen swimming in the pool together and we knew that all would be well.

Dobby will have to remain in our care until he has completed his moult (which can last up to four weeks). Elephant seals don’t usually feed or swim whilst they are moulting and spend the month lying around on the islands sleeping. Dobby spends his days doing just that, sleeping.

Being true seals both Dobby and Ragnar have signature big dark eyes and snotty noses and it’s easy to understand how easily they have crept into the hearts of everyone who played, or is currently playing, a role their rescue and rehabilitation.
We will keep you updated on their progress.”

Please follow Saambr social media pages for all the updates on Dobby.

Whale Heritage Site Tour 13th December 2020

Thank you Alison from Durban Walking Tours for the feedback and photos.

Today a group of us joined the Sodurba CTO on a very extensive talk and tour led by David Asgeir-Nielsen from Sodurba.

Started in 1907 by the Norwegians. The Bluff whale station was the biggest land based factory in the world. Whaling came to an end in Durban in 1975.

I was interested to hear today that in 1949 Abraham Larsen was the third richest man in South Africa at that time – indicating what a lucrative business whaling was. The Union Whaling Company was formed in 1920 by Jacob Egeland and Abraham Larsen. This company lasted until the end of the era. Premier Whaling Company was the other whaling company in the port at that time.

Harlequins Rugby Team Golf Fundraiser

Sponsor a hole & promote your company. All funds go to the running of the rugby team in the 2021 season.

Date: Friday 6th November 2020. Venue: Bluff National Park. Cost: R500 per hole (18th hole R1000) Contact to book or enquiry: Wesley Slabbert Tel: 083 648 7043 Email: Wesley.slabbert@irco.com or Pierre Smuts: Tel: 076 154 2473 Email: pierresmuts@gmail.com

Heritage Day 2020 with Sodurba and Durban Tourism

Sodurba, with our partners Durban Tourism celebrated Heritage Day this year with a guided tour with Andre the Nature Guide through Kenneth Stainbank in Yellowwood Park.

Our guests were transported by Khubs Tours on a scenic and informative tour past the Cooper Lighthouse situated on Marine Drive. The Cooper Lighthouse was the first lighthouse that came into operation in 1867, at the time it was the only lighthouse on the east coast of Africa. In 1932 power was brought to the Bluff and the beam was increased from 150,000 to 3,000,000 candle power. Later in the 1930’s the badly corroded tower was reinforced by concrete casing and an observation gallery added. Then came WW2 and the lighthouse was demolished in 1941. In 1953 Cooper Lighthouse was built on the Bluff (named after H.C Cooper the lighthouse engineer) and in 1954 the lighthouse in Umhlanga was built.

On route we admired another Heritage Site the Nelson Mandela Stone in Wentworth in commemoration of former president Nelson Mandela’s willingness to engage with the Wentworth community in 1995, a garden representing Mandela’s compassion was established in Quality street, Wentworth. A stone symbolizing community strength was erected by SDCEA in this garden. Mandela’s humility inspired our South Durban community to continue the struggle against polluters and all forms of injustice, be it from government or local business.

This scenic but informative tour ended at Kenneth Stainbank where André Steenkamp did a short 1 hour walk through this hidden gem. Our guests ended with a lovely picnic parcel and fresh brewed coffee from Zebru Coffee Company, we all even attempted the Jeruselma Challenge!

Thank you to everyone that made this iconic day such a huge success!

Sodurba CTO Jeruselma Challenge #jersulemachallenge

Destiny island

20th August 2020

Destiny is our 2nd Public Art Piece, from the Welcoming of the Whales Festival. 

The piece is 3m long and was designed by Umcebo Design. 

Her armature was constructed by Fabricon Holdings with additional sponsorship from CMH Kempster Ford South, as our two anchor sponsors.

Educational initiatives and art projects, the creation of Destiny Island are to promote conservation as well as being an attraction along the Whale Heritage Route.

“We built the piece with the students at Eden College using a design by Mike McFadyean and are so pleased to see Sodurba and Fabricon installing it so beautifully. An example of effective creative waste management said Robin Opperman.” 

The piece is very important as it not only showcases public art and recycling, but it educates the public on the importance of whales in our ecosystem and global ecology.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors and have placed a board acknowledging their assistance, at “her” island, Destiny Island, on the corner of Grays Inn and Marine Drive, Bluff. 

We would also like to mention a thank you to Toyota Boshoku South Africa for the beautiful landscaping that they completed and St. Margaret’s Church Bluff for adopting the spot, which they will maintain and look after Destiny island.

“Destiny Island is a very important part of our Whale Heritage Route which starts at the Maritime Museum and ends at the View Points which have been established along our KZN Whale Coast. 

Said Helga du Preez Chairlady of Sodurba CTO”

The Bluff multicultural History includes a French historical background

Soyez les bien-venus ! Welcome !
The beautiful Bluff’s multicultural history includes a French historical background:

The French Missionary Order of The Oblates of Mary Immaculate” from Aix-en-Provence & Marseilles, France, first camped on the Bluff when they arrived in the early 1852. The catholic parish church in Sarmony Rd is still run by these Fathers

The French Holy Family Sisters from Bordeaux. The Sisters were responsible for the development of St Francis Xavier mission school from 1878. This was the first school for Africans in Natal. The pupilswere not only taught the 3 Rs, but also how to raise vegetables and care for the garden. Unfortunately, the school had to close in the 1960s because of the Group Areas Act. A Convent school still functions on the original site, but it was taken over by the Dominican Sisters. 

The Bluff has ties with Réunion Island, a French Overseas Department, through the horse racing world

The Bluff shares a whaling history with French ports: Bordeaux, Nantes amongst others…. 

The Bluff is home to many Francophones: poor car guards from Francophone Africa, people associated with the “Alliance Française DBN”, retired teachers and tourist guides…..

Credit: Glenn Flanagan
 Alliance Française, PMB Project Leader: French Presence in KwaZulu-Natal: La Route du Prince Impérial, Louis Napoléon

sodurba essential services accommodation providers 2020

Working closely with our members on obtaining the correct protocols and procedures in order to operate during this COVID-19 pandemic. Support local and help us to keep tourism alive within the South.

See below a list of our members that are offering essential workers accommodation at present.

4 Shore Guesthouse28 & 30 Foreshore Drive, BluffLeoni Oliver/ Winston031 467 4425082 877 53164shoredurban@gmail.com 
African Peninsula Guesthouse599 Marine Dr, BluffHarry Etheridge0314671045082 468 5801harry@afpen.com
All Seasons B&B19 Sloane Road, Ocean ViewJJ Jordaan (janet)031 466 2923082 457 2705allseasonsbandb@telkomsa.net
Bluff Holiday Accommodation485 Bluff Rd, BluffDenise Rawthee031 467 1685083 320 1465denise@bluffaccommodation.co.za
Hamelin Guesthouse16 Olympic Avenue BluffKelly Bengston031 467 2521073 491 2245hamelinguesthouse@gmail.com
Jo-Thams Guesthouse130 Cluwer Crescent Agnes Vermaak/ Thamendrie073 195 9500082 924 7837jothamsplace@gmail.com
Oaklands Lodge341 Gray Park Rd, BluffJeannette Nicholson03146776580865245619enquiries@oaklandslodge.co.za 
Moon Hotel522 South Coast Rd ClairwoodRamoll Bugwandeen031 465 1711/2082 320 0374admin@moonhotel.co.za
Ocean Blue Guesthouse237 Dr Hoosen Haffejee Road, BluffHelga du Preez031 467 3623083 321 3792helga@oceanblueguesthouse.co.za
Olive Room B&B10 John Geekie Road GlenmoreJohan Labuschagne031 261 1418082 514 1984info@oliveroom.co.za
Pleasant Waters83 Moss Rd, Ocean View, Bluff 4052David Nielsen031 467 9461082 336 7433fulloutputcc@telkomsa.net 
The Bridgewing250 Dr Hoosen Haffajee Rd, BluffFanie van Rooyen/ Stephanus031 467 0493083 777 4606scvrooyen@telkomsa.net
Villa Le View Guest Lodge62 Dunville Rd, GrosvernorSuzette Niemand031 467 7299082 441 5398info@villaleview.co.za
List of Sodurba’s Essential Service Provider Accommodation Details

Welcoming of the Whales 2020 on the KZN Whale coast

“My first hump-back whale for the season seen off Bluff yesterday eve just as southerly buster arrived! Good to know they have a safer passage right now on their way from Antarctica to their breeding waters in the Mozambique channel – with less sea-traffic, no imminent seismic surveys and no shark nets in the water keep your eyes peeled and share your sighting with the following hashtags below. Said by Dr Jean Harris Executive Director of Wildlands”

Thank you to our KZN Whale Coast group for these amazing photos of our first Humpback Whales on our coastline.

#sodurba #kznwhalecoast #wildoceansa