Posts Tagged ‘ DURBAN ’

Spotting whales in Durban

Did you know that The Bluff in Durban has been named a World Whale Heritage site? Read more about why this is such a prestigious accolade for Durban.

It’s no secret that Durban is home to some of the best beaches in Southern Africa. With various spots along both the North and South coast from the Durban harbour to Ballito, the warm Indian Ocean is home to a range of marine mammals like the bottlenose dolphins and majestic whales.

These sites, of which there are only 2 now worldwide, are recognised for their efforts as ‘responsible’ whale and dolphin watching sites. The World Whale Conference was held in Durban a few years ago and inspired 2 local enthusiasts from Sodurba Community Tourism Association to make application for Durban to be recognised.

This accolade bodes well for The Bluff and Durban as a whole by attracting both local and international interest as well as promoting sustainable tourism. Increasingly, more awareness and action is being taken to interact with our marine life as kindly and sustainably as possible. Just recently, the New Zealand Government has banned tourists swimming with dolphins in Bay of Islands after observing the negative impact that close human interference is having on these animals- just one example of how this outlook is growing globally. Whale Heritage sites are recognised as places where the community and tourists engage with the conservation of the ocean through a variety of formats be it art, music, science or events. Furthermore, these are areas where practices and livelihoods are actively improved to help sustain and uplift the health of cetacean interactions to support a peaceful and productive co-existence which is underpinned by policy, law and public cooperation.

Although Durban’s ocean culture is a big part of tourism, we have to find ways to help preserve and sustain these parts of our natural world in the face of increasing threat to our oceans globally. Whale Heritage Sites are setting a benchmark for responsible whale watching worldwide.

Our lives depend on sharks

It’s time we change our thinking about these ocean predator and stepped up to try and protect them as much as we can. Right now, the biggest threat to their existence is us; and we depend on them to survive more than we may know

Humans are more of a threat to sharks than sharks are to humans. Here’s the really scary bit, fisheries and trawler fishing nets remove about 100 million sharks from our oceans annually. And we need sharks, we really do- the health of our oceans is dependent on them playing their role in the oceanic ecosystem. Sharks truly demonstrate the old wisdom of ‘the survival of the fittest’ by preying on the ocean’s most vulnerable, weak and diseased. By preying on the weakest, they are removing them from the gene pool thereby helping to strengthen fish stocks and oceanic environments. They act like the genetic cleaners of the seas because they consume the dead, the dying, the weak and the injured therefore leaving the strongest and healthiest marine life to continue. Genetically this means that the weaker gene pools are being taken out of the equation and the stronger ones are being passed on thereby becoming stronger, more robust, adaptive and healthier.

Removing sharks altogether would be an unspeakable environmental catastrophe -as it is 100 million sharks are lost annually as a result of human activity, more specifically through mass fishing. Many studies are saying that the ultimate decimation of sharks would have such a great knock-on effect that it would alter our very existence as humans. If that is not a wake-up call, then I don’t know what is. By altering the balance of the oceans, we will in turn affect the air that we breathe- as up to 80% of the air we breathe comes from the oceans. You tip the scales one way and we will feel it.

Globally, 11000 sharks are being killed every hour: that’s 3 sharks every second. That is huge and it’s due to humans. Fishing records report that today over 90% of sharks have been severely depleted and over 33% of all large sharks (yes, Great Whites) have been wiped out.

We need to rethink the way we think about sharks, if not just for the sake our very existence

Pebble beach owners can earn a return on their property

Durban saw a huge influx of visitors over the festive period, which put property investors in the best position to earn income from their investment properties at Pebble Beach, Sibaya.

December 2019 saw the highest volume of passengers in the history of King Shaka International Airport, with 93% of passengers coming from our domestic regions. What’s interesting about this is that the bulk of our regional visitors are local, and this number has seen an increase of 12% since December 2018. Short-term or ‘day’ tourism is a goldmine due to sheer volume alone. 2.1 million people visited Durban’s beaches to celebrate the 2020 new year yielding a potential R2.1 billion injection into our local economy, if each visitor spends only a single rand. As South Africa’s 2nd largest regional economy in terms of GDP, KZN is responsible for R16 out of every R100 generated by our national economy.

With an ever-growing local tourism market many have realised the value of this burgeoning market and have moved to capitalise on these opportunities. Many investors have opted to invest in property in new growth areas like the Sibaya Coastal Precinct in KwaZulu-Natal. Charles Thompson of Devmco Group, one of the pioneering developers in the Sibaya Coastal Precinct shares his thoughts on this, “Investors are seeing the fruits of their labour during the December high season. Those who have purchased units at OceanDune and Pebble Beach, with the express intention of holiday letting, saw 100% occupancy for at least 2 weeks of the period. Investors would be wise to capitalise on the opportunity to earn an income bolstered by the influx of seasonal tourism and business travel that occurs throughout the year. Some other savvy buyers have opted for flexibility of use afforded by letting platforms like Airbnb; they can personally make use of their unit, or even live it when they want and then list the unit for holiday letting during high season and benefit from the additional income stream through this.”

Durban beats cape town in the holiday property race

Despite stiff competition from the Atlantic Seaboard, Durban is attracting investors looking for coastal holiday homes.

FNB’s latest property barometer shines a light on where people are purchasing additional property as holiday homes. Despite slowed growth in the property sector all round, Durban was one of the regions which is experiencing growth in this area.

Overall, this sector has seen a jump of 2.5% at the end of 2019, perhaps driven by the lower repo rate or the banks ease at granting bonds of late. Cape town, and moreover the Atlantic Seaboard has always commanded high property prices and attracted a wealthy niche market from South Africa and abroad. However, the data shows there is an increasing move towards Durban of late.

Umhlanga KZN now commands the 2nd most expensive price-per-square-metre in South Africa, after Cape Town and ahead of Sandton. Despite economic challenges as well as negative sentiment in some corners, there is still activity in the residential property market with some surprising outcomes. Coastal property remains ever attractive and has managed to retain value with a lot more interest coming from buyers in Gauteng.

Durban overall is undergoing its own transformation with plenty growth along the North Coast. Ballito has had a population boom in the last decade, and many are now choosing to make the suburb home as it offers a choice of secure residential estate properties across a range of price points with modern and essential amenities in close proximity. Moving a little southwards, new growth areas include the Sibaya Coastal Precinct, which just by sheer velocity and value of sales is the country’s best performing residential precinct. There is a lot more to come in the precinct which will ultimately become its own city with an array of home types and price points, schools, retail piazzas, sports amenities, a private university and even its own internal thoroughfare and shuttle service.

Orcas have complex social structures

Although it’s unlikely you’ll ever see an orca or Killer Whale in the wild, they are very much present here off the coast of Southern Africa.

Orca’s really are amazing ocean mammals- they can live up to 90 years of age and they have complex social and familial structures. Within these structures, grandparents play an active, and very valuable role.

A recent study found that Orca calves, have a much better chance of survival in the wild if their grandmothers are around and involved. The study also showed that Orca grannies are involved with the rearing of calves for a large portion of their lives, with some grandmothers still actively involved up to the age of 90 years. If a mother Orca is out on the hunt, the granny automatically assumes the role of the primary caregiver to ensure the calf is safe from predators, and to ensure the calf is fed. It is not surprising that this vastly increases the survival rates of young Orcas. On the inverse, if a grandmother dies prematurely, the survival rate of the calf is dramatically reduced with its chances of dying quadrupling.

There are not many mammals on earth, who love beyond reproductive age, and if they do nature normally has a way of getting rid of them. Orcas, along with humans, will live past their fertile years and even go through menopause resulting in the females of the family, and their offspring, staying together as a unit for many years. Rather than being alienated because she adds no value in terms of her ability to procreate, a grandmother becomes very valuable in the structure of the family, and even more so as she gets older. This is how her role ensures her genetic legacy is passed on.

With human threat, which is resulting in the loss of many ocean mammals, findings like this are greatly valuable and enable us to understand what the species needs in order to proliferate in the wild.

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