Dancing the night away at the Himalaya

The Himalaya Hotel in Grey Street in the 1960s.

The Himalaya Hotel in Grey Street in the 1960s.

Published Sep 9, 2023


The old picture this week features Durban’s Himalaya Hotel as part of a series of pictures that looks at the Grey Street and Casbah areas.

The hotel is on the corner of what is today Yusuf Dadoo and Beatrice streets.

The old picture was probably taken from the Facebook page Durban Down Memory Lane and was probably shot in the early sixties, but before many of the city’s streets became one way. Today traffic goes in the other direction, towards the bay.

Gail Crouch remembers that her uncle and aunt, Mike and Peggy Jameson, managed the hotel for years. Another remembers Mr Jameson being a very strict person.

The old Himalaya Hotel in Dr Yusaf Dadoo Street has been turned into apartments. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/ African News Agency (ANA)

Next door to The Himalaya was the Shah Jehan Cinema owned by the Rajab family. Together they formed quite an entertainment hub.

A 1960s advertisement advertises the Himalaya as “your rendezvous with the Blue Ricks”. The Blue Ricks Band of Lionel Peters, Henry Paul, Morris Joseph, Brian Pillai, Ricky and Danny Pillay was resident at the hotel. Their Friday and Saturday night gigs were sellout. The advert boasted cuisine, entertainment, weddings, private parties and banquets at a luxury hotel. The Blue Ricks would play at your function.

The Himalaya was also famous for its Kilimanjaro Nightclub. It also used to host The Flames at cocktail hour.

Ellen du Plessis and Etta Nabbi both remember the dances and matinees at the Himalaya in the old days.

Cory Henri remembers spending a lot of time in town as a boy growing up.

“These are wonderful memories. My mum (Aunty Faye) worked in the Himalaya.”

Today the building is still standing, but it’s no longer a hotel. It has been refurbished into 107 sectional title units and as Shelley Kjonstad’s modern pictures show, flats are still available for sale.

The Independent on Saturday