uShaka Marine World in Durban is best known for their conservation projects and marine life, but they also provides a huge variety of entertainment with the uShaka Village Walk, water park and beach. Named after the Zulu King Shaka, the theme park attracts people from all cultures and walks of life and has become a main attraction on Durban’s Golden Mile coastline.
Their Wet n’ Wild water park was pretty high up on our list of things to do, although with water parks being a world-wide phenomena we nearly didn’t make the time to go. But at the last minute we found some free time and decided to make the most of it and oh man was it an experience.
uShaka houses the tallest slide in Africa. Standing at a whopping 18 meters tall, I can almost guarantee this is one of the scariest things I have done. You don’t truly realise how high this slide is until you begin climbing the stairs to the top of the Drop Zone and you don’t have any kind of harness on, which makes it pretty terrifying.
As we get to the top, I’m last in the queue and my sister is before me. One by one, we watch our friends slide down in what looks to be the most thrilling drop. They each turn back after they reach the bottom and despite how tiny they seem from so high up, you can still see giant grins of accomplishment across their faces.
My sister finally gets called to step up. She walks up the last few steps, stands at the top of the slide for a few seconds, then looks back at me.
“I can’t do this.”
“Of course you can do this! Come on, the boys have all just gone. It’s not that bad. The stadium jump was scarier than this!”
“Ness, I’m serious, I can’t-”
“Yes you can, just cross your legs, cross your arms and go. You can do this!”
She sends me one last pleading look and takes a deep breath. She plummets down at a crazy fast speed and in a few seconds she’s at the bottom.
Then it’s my turn. I step up onto the highest platform where I can see everyone waiting for me.
Oh my god.
It’s so high up, there’s nothing to stop me falling off this slide and, holy crap, it’s like a near vertical drop.
There’s no one to cheer me on, just the ride assistant looking at me waiting for me to get a move on.
I’m so close to abandoning this whole idea. Is it even safe? How did they build it? Is it structurally sound? What’s to stop me just flying off the slide into the sky? Why didn’t I research this?!
I start panicking and I feel the same fear that I just saw all over my sister’s face. But she’s fine. She’s at the bottom waiting for me. The ride assistant clears her throat and I know she’s judging me, waiting for me quit.
I can do this.
I take a deep breath, cross my arms and slide forward.
It’s an exhilarating blur. I’m flying down so fast.
Then I feel it.
At first it’s uncomfortable. And then… pain.
I forgot to cross my legs.
I’ve got the wedgie of a lifetime and by the time I reach the bottom of the slide, water was all up in… well… in places that the sun don’t shine.
I finally stop sliding and I can’t move. Everyone knows something is wrong. After a few seconds, I force myself to hobble out while discreetly detaching my bikini bottoms and plaster a smile on my face to hide the pain.
“What happened?! Are you okay?”
Okay so my smile wasn’t fooling anyone. I waddle over as fast as possible, which was pretty damn slow, abandoning all pretences of being fine.
Despite reminding every person before me to follow the instructions which uShaka have plastered everywhere, I forgot to cross my legs.
While everyone confirmed that you can’t avoid a slight wedgie on this slide, you can definitely avoid the high level of discomfort which I experienced. We all found this terrifying and if anyone tells you it’s easy to slide down this, they’re lying to you. But I soldiered on to explore the rest of uShaka’s exciting (and significantly less painful) water slides.
If you’re not a thrill seeker and simply looking for a fun day out, you can drift around the Dizzy Duzi river (the ultimate relaxing ride) or have a walk around Sea World. You can also enjoy a stroll through the Village Walk with a huge variety of restaurants and shops and the occasional performances and activities. Topping the list though is the gorgeous and vibrant uShaka beach which has the calmest summer waves Durban has to offer.
Out of all the activities we did on this trip, the Drop Zone is probably the only thing I am not so keen on doing again. But it’s safe to say that if I do ever get brave enough to take the plunge, I will definitely remember to cross my legs.