Durban logistical info – welcome from patrick bond

Hi comrades,

If we haven’t met, I’m Patrick, director of – always available at 083 425 1401 or 031 467 0853 if you need anything. I’m usually ok about answering emails but please keep trying if you don’t hear back from me in 24 hours.

You’ll arrive soon at the King Shaka International Airport. From there to the People’s Space at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Howard College Campus or to the International Convention Centre (or nearby hotels) takes around 35 minutes. No public transport from the airport, sigh. Taxis will rip you off by charging around R400 ($50) but we’re looking into cheaper alternatives to UKZN if you’ve booked a room with us (If you still need a $30/night room please urgently be in touch with me – though we’re really jammed now).

If you want to familiarise yourself with local climate politics in advance of the COP17, here are some articles:,80 and for more general news about SA here’s a progressive magazine, and the best weekly newspaper, and our city’s main english-language daily paper:

There are lots of amazing websites being developed but we’ll get a comprehensive list together very soon, as I don’t have everything on tap right now.

I usually send out a weekly newsletter from our Centre, around 3-5megs, so if you want to get that so you’re aware of Durban politics, climate and various other topics, let me know and I can add you to the list. I may get one out tomorrow.

Other logistics:

CHANGING MONEY: The South African Rand is trading around R8 to the US$, and has fallen 20% in the last few months due to global chaos that makes the US a ‘safe haven’, ha. You can change at the airport; ATMs are everywhere, and the rate is more-or-less the same everywhere. There’s no black market.

WEATHER: Will be warm (not terribly hot), but we just had a cold rainy spell so who knows… lows are expected to be 18, and highs may reach 26 once or twice, mostly sunny until the 28th.

ELECTRICITY: Remember our strange plugs are three-pronged and there are very few places outside the airport you can buy these (about $10 for a converter). Sorry! If you have a European two-pin plug, we can bring an extension you can plug that into.

CELLPHONES: For those who would want to get phone access and have mobile phones in which you can put SIM cards, the best approach is to go to one of the operators inside the airport (turn left as you come out of either the international or domestic arrivals: it doesn’t really matter which – MTN, Cell-C, Vodacom). You can buy a SIM card (they are around $1) and buy pay-as-you-go airtime – you just have to give the address where you’re staying and provide your passport.


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