Airport navigation 101: King Shaka Airport
Got time to kill? The airport can be a sanctuary of shops, activities and leisure facilities. But what if you’re totally unaccustomed to the going- ons of an international airport? While in- between flights may mean lengthy waiting periods for passengers, there are several things to do at an airport that can keep you entertained. Maybe a strong cup of joe, a quick shower, a place to unwind or pick up a gift for your loved one. Hollard’s Zuriel Naiker points out some cool facilities even the experienced traveller may not know about.
There are a couple of things a coffee snob would understand. Good coffee isn’t merely a hot beverage on the morning menu, it's a necessity. Naiker reckons that the best place for a proper cup of coffee at Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, is the Woolworths Coffee Shop, located on the arrivals level. “It ’s the best place to grab a quick and yummy espresso or cappuccino before you leave or as you arrive,” he says.
For a healthy slice of life and a taste of Hawaii, Naiker recommends you sink your teeth into the delicious Magma Wrap from Kauai. Its combination of mozzarella, cheddar, rice, beans, tomato, sweet chilli sauce, fresh salsa, chicken and spring onion and is a great way to silence those hunger groans after a long flight. For the healthy at heart, Naiker recommends a chicken Caesar salad. “They’re situated in the food court on the ground floor and deliver consistently delicious meals. I always make sure I grab a bite to eat there,” Naiker says.
Life in the SLOW lounge
Most regular travellers are all familiar with our international airports’ SLOW Lounges – a sanctuary for weary feet, tired bodies or those who want to catch up on work or just enjoy a quiet moment while waiting between flights. The King Shaka Airport’s SLOW Lounge is your study, board- room, dining room, library, mail room, shower or even your sit- in- the- dark- andthink- room – and it feels just like home. “The SLOW Lounge has a decent wine and spirits selection – great to just sit, enjoy and unwind after a long day of working and flying. It’s the best lounge by far from a comfort perspective. It gets pretty busy in the mornings and evenings around 17h00,” Naiker explains.
You just found out that your flight to Cape Town is delayed by an hour. What to do? When you’ve got time to kill, there is no better way to while away the time than to get stuck into a really good book. Traipse the world from the comfort of your armchair or get lost in some exotic Mediterranean destination. For the travelling bookworms, King Shaka has a wide selection of book and magazine stores to keep you entertained while you wait for your flight. “There is a great selection of pre- flight magazines and books for your trip ( or holiday) at Exclusive Books, of which there are two outlets available, one on the land side and the other on the air side,” he comments.
A quiet spot
The hustle and the bustle of a busy international airport can take its toll on travellers. And without a lounge access card ( and plenty of time to burn in between flights), another great suggestion from Naiker is to, “grab a bag of sweets from Cosmic Candy, a magazine from Exclusive Books
and head to the far right side of the airport, towards gate A13. There is a quiet spot at the end of the gates with a great view over the runway. Hardly anyone ever bothers you here, and you can sit quietly, gather your thoughts and catch up on some emails or work.”
After a long day of meetings, or to keep the holiday spirits alive, head for the Stables Wine Estate bar and cellar on the land side opposite the Exclusive Books store, next to NWJ Jewellery, for an authentic wine tasting or a nice bottle of champers to celebrate. Stables’ professional team, led by Rupert Spence from Sphere Architects, has transformed the 50 m ² space into an inviting gathering spot for travellers. “The food and wine offerings here are amazing. Created by local cuisine kings, Stables has a wide selection of choice on their tasting menus, paired to complement the wines,” says Naiker.
Children of the airport
Travelling with kids can be a challenge. Travelling parents are always on the prowl for kid- friendly facilities or play areas. While there isn’t really any at King Shaka International Airport, the Spur Restaurant, located outside on the landside is the perfect place to take your kids. Every parent needs a break and Spur’s massive children’s entertainment area has enough to keep the young ones busy for hours while you enjoy your meal or your partner’s company. If they’re bored with Spur and you have enough time, take them to uShaka Marine World just down the road where they can marvel at the myriad of marine life on display. If you don’t have any kids, you can grab a proper meal ( like some mouth- watering sushi) at the Cape Town Fish Market outside the terminal building.
Charge your batteries
It’s common knowledge that cellphone chargers top the list of things that are most frequently left behind at home when you’re travelling – which is exactly why cellphone accessory retails make such a killing at airports ( or anywhere for that matter). “Cellphone accessories and airtime are ridiculously priced at the airport, so head down to any stall in Umhlanga and you’ll save hundreds of Rands on a mobile phone charger,” Naiker suggests.
Shop till you drop
It’s customary practice to get the family members a gift from your travels. The airport is a perfect place to pick up those lastminute. com gifts. Travellers can shop till they drop at King Shaka International Airport. They offer a wide variety of shops that sell perfumes, liquors, designer sunglasses, fashion watches, stuffed toys, books and all the latest electronics and gadgets. Fantastic gift shops provide shoppers ample opportunity to hunt for that unique souvenir or special gift to take home. Naiker suggests Woolworths, Exclusive Books and the Nike Store ( all before you pass through security) as perfect places to pick up gifts for your loved ones.
While airplane food is usually nutritious, a good steak or some hearty restaurant food usually hits the spot after a long flight from overseas. If your flight has an extended detail, Naiker suggests that you head to Bel Punto Restaurant in Umdloti – a 15- minute drive from King Shaka International Airport. Established in 2004, Bel Punto is a modern and casual- chic diner with great food, a contemporary feel and outstanding panoramic views of the ocean, no matter where you are seated. Make some memories with a loved one by sitting out on the deck under the stars and watch the moon rise over the ocean.