Sunset cruises can seem a little clichéd, regardless it’s hard to resist them. Within minutes of leaving the dock at Durban, I was viewing one of South Africa’s most impressive cities from the ocean and was a happy cliché.
It would be a short but surprisingly spectacular cruise. The skyline providing a stunning contrast of shadowy, geometric shapes against the ever-changing hues of the evening sky. As the shadows lengthened, the ocean provided a perfect facsimile of the city, cloning every building, window and antenna in it’s rippled surface.
As the sun sank below the horizon it painted on the canvas of the sky. Changing it from subtle yellow to deep orange, it didn’t end once out of sight either, if anything the colours only appeared more spectacular.
There were vessels of all shapes and sizes, small fishing boats, commercial tour boats, huge parcel tankers and luxurious yachts, their masts poking high into the changing sky. Their hulls appearing mottled, almost wearing camouflage due to the shadows of dusk. Anglers lined the breakwater and dozens of fishing rods were being held tightly, anticipating catching the big one.
The sun dropped remarkably quickly, when I looked away for just a few moments and it had definitely moved. It inched below the city skyline, and I marvelled at the slight but noticeable changes in the shade of the southern sky, like a time-lapse video.
The cruise left the harbour to allow all passengers to get a good look at the of the city. The timing was perfect, as we reached the furthest point the sun was just beginning to hide behind the tallest buildings. This caused an impressive flare, which seemed even more spectacular.
There was also a great view of the Moses Mabhida Stadium, where a few of us had taken a leap of faith earlier that day. The arches where we’d completed the famous bungee swing known as the “Big Rush” or “Big Swing” were still clearly visible in the receding light. However, I’m not sure seeing the stadium again provided all of us with fond memories.
Before long, we were returning to the harbour, the sun had long since departed, the shadows were deepening, the city almost hiding under it’s black cloak. It would not sleep yet however, in fact the opposite, coming to life as the night-shift took over. The cruise had been a fitting end to the last day in Durban, but now it was time to enjoy our last night before heading to the Drakensberg.
*All images were taken on a compact camera