South Africa : Theme Parks, Aquariums and Football.

Related:   Will the FIFA World Cup also bring visitors to uShaka Marine World?  /  Modern zoos and aquariums are leaders in biodiversity conservation  / The Oregon Coast Aquarium to Celebrate World Oceans Day June 8  /  Animalive`s ChatterBox Mini at Sea Life Centre

Once spotted in close proximity to a large gorilla in these pages (see : African Zoos and Aquariums Gathering in Uganda), Judy Mann, Director of uShaka Sea World ( will be posting dispatches from South Africa, a nation on the edge of its seats as sport’s greatest occasion is just a few days away.

It will be fascinating to see how many people attend the tournament and also how many also take in the country’s attractions as part of their visit; the region’s museums, zoos, aquariums and theme parks are naturally hoping the games will lead to greater visitor numbers.

Founded in 1951, the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) is a non-government, non-profit organisation based at uShaka Marine World. Its mission is to “stimulate community awareness of the marine environment through education and to promote wise and sustainable use of marine resources through research”.  It achieves its goals through the operation of 3 divisions, each primarily focused on the West Indian Ocean: effectively the theme park and aquarium fund the research and conservation work:

•    Sea World at uShaka Marine World A world class tourist attraction providing a ‘window’ into marine biology and home to a large and diverse collection of marine life. The spectacular aquarium, dolphin and seal stadiums and penguin rookery are open throughout the year to promote conservation awareness amongst guests, as they experience close contact with some of nature’s most amazing marine creatures.

•    The Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) promotes sustainable development and wise use of marine and coastal resources. With over 50 years of experience in marine research in Africa, this leading research institute manages over 40 projects on topics as diverse as linefish management to coral reef  biodiversity studies.

•    The NPC Sea World Education Centre aims to ensure that each guest leaves Sea World with more knowledge and respect for the magnificent biodiversity of the marine environment. Over 90,000 children visit the centre every year for specially designed lessons, tours and courses, tailor-made programmes ensuring that learning about the sea is fun and exciting.

The images above and below provide a few glimpses of the park’s attractions.  Although the English are unlikely to be seen strolling along Durban’s famous Golden Mile, the followers of Spain and Brazil (both of which should but won’t win), Portugal and The Netherlands (could win but won’t), Australia and Japan (won’t win) and Germany (shouldn’t win but will) would do well to take their mind off the “beautiful game” for an afternoon and visit this leading aquarium and theme park .

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About Charles Read

I was born in Oldham, Lancs, back in the late 60s – my mum reckons ‘Penny Lane’ was playing on the radio as I was delivered but it could have been the pethadine. My passions, outside the amusement industry, are my family, wildlife, diving and cricket, God’s own sport. I am also a rarity in that I am a Manchester United fan from Manchester.

Been going to Alton Towers for over 25 years, we had trips there from primary school. I still remember how exciting it was when they had their first ride, a cresta run/slide which burnt your legs and ripped your shorts. Love this industry with its passion and drive, its sheer creativity and invention. Endlessly fascinating too. Did you know that Thomas Bridges from Alcorn McBride once played trumpet with Hoagy Carmichael (of ‘Georgia’ fame)?

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