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The Elephant House - Durban

The Elephant House - Berea, Durban - KwaZulu Natal  © Mariannebritsstrodl @ Wikimedia Commons

The Elephant House - Durban

The Elephant House, located on Ridge road on Durban's berea, was built in the early 1850's on the highest natural point on the Berea Ridge overlooking what is now Jameson Park and the Indian Ocean, and is the oldest home in Durban.

The Elephant House was originally used by the Milner brothers, Henry, Philip and Thomas, as a weekend hunting lodge. The house became known to the people of Durban as the Elephant House after surviving numerous attacks from local elephant herds. A sandy track that later became Florida Road, was the path the elephants used on their daily trek to obtain water from the Greyville Marshes, which are now part of the Royal Durban golf course. The house was a great obstruction for the elephants at the time, so they would frequently attempt to forcefully remove it.

When Brian Agar purchased the property in 1975 he insisted on demolishing it. After learning its history he decided that the legend of Elephant House could not die, and it was declared a National Monument in 1978. During the course of restoration and in the time the Agars' have spent in the house some interesting artifacts were discovered including a water bottle with a marble in the neck, dark blue castor oil bottles, green gin bottles known as Genever, an old ink well and an ivory toothed comb. A cannon from the ship Aristoto is on view in the garden. The ship was wrecked on Back Beach, which is now known as Addington, in 1854. Edward Snell bought the house in 1857, with the ship and her cargo. He would fire the cannon every New Year's Eve.

Address : 745 Ridge Road, Durban, South Africa

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