After realizing that if we all stayed indoors for one more day, we would kill each other. We opted to stressfully pack a picnic, cozzies and toys, ignoring the light drizzle...and we headed off to Rayz World @ uShaka. Beeg mistake.
The 20minute journey took over an hour (thank you Western Province) and after parking in 'Parkade B' (uShaka Slang for 'the parking section we have not paved or looked after at all') we paid R15 and walked for three days and two nights till we reached the side entrance behind Moyo.
We were so desperate for the loo by this stage that we hightailed it passed the shops until we found the loo, you know it, it's the only loo in uKaka, I mean uShaka. Well, it seems that 2010 was not kind to the loo's at uKaka. The stats look like something out of news24... 7 out of ten taps are not working. 5 of these are wrapped in gladwrap to stop the leaks. 6 out of 10 toilets do not have: Handles, Locks, Toilet paper, Toilet seats, 1 out of 10 toilets have the sanitizer pad box on TOP of the toilet seat...covered in gladwrap (is there a water tokoloshe that is trapped in there?) I tell you this, since I braved a longdrop in a Zimbabwean township in 2002 - I have not had to 'hover' over a sticky, smelly toilet seat. Come on uShaka, it's tourist season.
Rayz World - a great idea. My only complaint is that children are not given an ID tag, they should have a Parents contact number and code number, the parent should be given the same code number. We lost Savanna a few times and it was quite stressfull! The Island Treasure Snack Bar is manned by the most unhelpful ladies I've ever met. After standing ignored for 5minutes (I stood and watched them pack shelves and wipe the counters... I was the only one there waiting to be served) Feeling like a tarnished treasure...I walked across to the River Lounge to be told that they only sold coffee...and only accept cash - which these parched parentals only found out, once we had excitedly ordered our cappucino's :( The rushed, overcrowded KFC got my money.
The snacks bar had no prices up. You're looking at spending R12.50 Filter coffee. R16.50 Cappucino. R14.50 Cafe Latte. R10 Single Espresso. R20 Double Espresso. Cash. Only.
I am quite shocked at all of the above, we don't often have time to enjoy our touristy spots, but when we do, I really expect the standard to be higher.
From the children's perspective, Savanna and Kelsey have had fun, the playground is safe and well thought out. Kids are easily lost from view and you'd have to visit a few times to enjoy all of the playground. Next time we'll pack a picnic for all of us.
The following is taken from my Husband’s Crit: posted to his Facebook Notes:
“But Rayz Kids World – wow there is nothing like this in Durban. I dispute their claim about being the largest kids play area in Africa. Have they really visited every kids area, in Africa?? It’s not that big but 10 out of 10 for trying. I am a fairly diligent dad yet I lost my daughter at least ten times while we were there. Who knows where on the myriad of tunnels, climbing contraptions, nooks and crannies, and overhangs she was at any one time. As a parent you really can’t keep track of your child properly and have to continually walk around the whole play area as if micromanaging your kid. Add to that all the other children and parents. And further add that there are performance areas for live shows, closed TV rooms (Lazy Lizzard Movie Shack), Builda Block LEGO play areas, painting/activity areas and a toddler play area in the Duzi River Lounge. All of these fantastic facilities are open to all kids all the time (and whoever else may be lurking around). If your kid runs off somewhere without telling you – GOOD LUCK to you!! I don’t recall seeing any CCTV cameras and I am not totally convinced that the gate staff will stop anyone walking out with a kid or even a bigger kid on their own.
I don’t know how long this facility has been open for – nice idea. But it seems as if adults designed it with adults in mind. Kids don’t look after themselves, they have minimum discretion, and no idea about danger. Parents if you go to Rayz Kids World, one of you (probably dad) will be on your feet the whole time.
Maybe I am just a little jaded, in Australia these kind of areas are free, open access public areas, fenced in and secure. You can see your child from any one point in the park meaning a stressless and relaxing time. And the public facilities are a better quality and better design.
Good news though, because there is so much to do and to see at Rayz Kids World you can easily spend 3-4 hours there and still have to come back for more. For only R40 entrance fee, that is good bang for your buck. Oh and there are no other hidden costs (or crookery) like R40 entrance fee BUT you must pay for the rides or pay for entrance to specific areas or access is for only 15 minutes. Rayz Kids World seems to be really about giving kids a place to play. Now that is impressive. These days everyone seems to want to capitalize on a captured market. Rayz Kids World is potentially a stunning facility for ages 2-8 though I will think twice about bringing any kid under 5 – just too much PT for the parents.
Management: Tighten up the security, get rid of the nooks and crannies and make everything visible to the parents from one spot, i.e. the Duzi River Lounge. You want parents to be there and buy coffee don’t you? Look in the photos I took, where are the parents? Oh, and bye the way, your staff look and behave desperately unhappy. I will leave that in your presumably capable hands to sort out. Fix your website, it lies.
Parents: bring a few hundreds in cash, you will need it for food and drinks or you can be smart and bring your own picnic. Take sun block, you will burn in Durban’s summer whether you can see the sun or not. And lastly try not lose your children. It is scary and stressful. In one turn of the head they could be climbing on another contraption and out of sight.
Peace to y’all over this Christmas period.
Francis Doherty-Bigara www.facebook.com/fdbigara ”