Riding Durban's stadium SkyCar
9 March 2010
With their World Cup stadium now complete and already hosting football matches, Durban residents cannot seem to get enough of the one-of-a-kind SkyCar that travels up and down the now famous arch of the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The SkyCar leaves every five minutes to ferry up to 20 visitors at a time to the highest point of the arch, providing its passengers with a panoramic 360-degree view of Durban and the Indian Ocean coastline.
For those after more of an adventure, and a fair bit of exercise, there is the option of walking up the arch's steps to get to the top.
According to Lara Mcleod, the stadium's public relations officer, the stadium is proving to be a nucleus of activity as visitors flock to experience the adventure walk, stadium tour, or to ride the most popular attraction – the SkyCar.
"More than 60 000 people have taken part in at least one of the facilities at the stadium in just 12 weeks, and we are extremely pleased with how the public has responded," she said.
Mcleod said the SkyCar itself has attracted around 44 000 guests since it opened on 30 November, making it a key tourist attraction in the city.
Mounted on an undercarriage, the SkyCar is a single cabin that runs up steel tracks on the northern arch of the stadium. The design is impeccable, with the SkyCar built to descend under its own gravity, enabling it to return to the lower station even in the event of a power failure.
Mcleod says that the view at the top is unparalleled.
'One gets to see the entire city'
"One gets to see the entire city from the top. To the east there is the Indian Ocean, to the west the city suburbs, the north the Umgeni River, and one can even see the Bluff to the south. There is nothing quite like it."
Kameel Kalyan, who went up the SkyCar, said the view made him feel proud to live in Durban.
"The view from above puts together the pieces that make up the puzzle that is Durban," Kalyan said. "It makes you feel proud to live in Durban, and definitely shifted my idea of Durban."
The beauty of Durban
"If you want to truly understand the beauty that is Durban and admire the amazing view, then this is a must-see attraction for all, both locals and tourists."
Mcleod says that there has been a healthy mix of local and tourist patrons to the SkyCar.
"It is the only stadium in the world that has a sky-car or an adventure walk. Of course, stadiums have tours, but there is nothing in the world that compares to these activities."
Zahira Kharsany, a keen football fan from Durban who completed the adventure walk, couldn't agree more.
"The view is beautiful, with the ocean on one side and the city skyline on the other," Kharsany said. "Perhaps umbrellas are needed on the top when it is blistering hot, like the day we went up. My favourite view has to be the Golden Mile from a different vantage point," she added.
The SkyCar operates daily, running from 09:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Friday, and on Sunday.
On Saturday, visitors have the opportunity the chance to view Durban at night, with operating hours running from 07:00 to 22:00.
The cost is R50 for adults and R25 for children under the age of 12.