On Friday 22 August we left the very comfortable Alberfeldy B&B in Pietermaritzburg and drove down to Margate via Richmond, Ixopo and Harding — all of which are now bypassed by the main road. It was a rather dull day, smoky rather than overcast, and visibility was poor. The only town we passed through was Umzimkulu, which has grown tremendously. It used to have a couple of shops, a garage and a hotel. Now it has several shopping malls, and most of the big supermarket chains are established there, and it was crowded with Saturday shoppers. We stopped at a new garage which had a Steers franchise — their chips are the best of those from such places, as they are made with fresh potatoes, and not frozen. It was interesting to see that the garage had been opened by King Goodwill Zwelithini. Umzimkulu used to be in the Eastern Cape, but now it is in KZN.
We’re staying in a rather posh holiday flat. A friend of a colleague of Val’s won a week’s stay in a competition, couldn’t use it, so gave it to us. It’s quite interesting as an exercise in sociology. It has a very fancy TV with quadrasonic sound and all, air conditioners in all three bedrooms (not that we have much use for them at this time of year, it’s quite chilly), but no reading lamps.
On Saturday Val’s sister Elaine came down from Pinetown to spend the weekend, and we went for walks on the beach, and riding in a paddleboat on the lagoon, taking pictures of birds and the flat we’re staying in and developments on the waterfront. The South Coast has changed tremendously in the last few years, though at least the blocks of flats are not as ugly as they are further up the coast nearer Durban, where 15-20 storey rectangular blocks not only block out the sea view for anyone living inland, but are eyesores in their own right. At least the developments down here are more architecturally varied, but are clearly designed for the very rich. One block we passed on our walk to the beach, Colonial Sands, was advertising flats for sale, priced from R 1,9 million.