'As the mail boats now come into Durban Harbour alongside the wharf, this mode of transit is done away with ,,,' remarks the sender of this postcard, not without relief.
Passengers were still sometimes being landed by this method in 1899, including Boer War troops. Larger ships had to anchor outside though the Battle of the Bar (dredging etc to deepen the shallows) continued.
The basket was lifted by the ship's derricks, lowered over the ship's side on to the deck of a lighter or tug below (which may well have been dancing up and down in choppy seas).On arrival the door of the basket was opened and the men emerged, slightly paler than they were before. The basket returned for another load. If there was a swell running the process could be held up for days. When ships could berth at the wharf, horses and mules were slung in canvas contraptions directly from the ship on to the wharf: terrifying for the animals but an improvement from the days of the Anglo-Zulu War when this had to take place in the roadstead (i.e. outside the harbour). Incidentally, 352 864 horses and 104 000 mules were imported during the Anglo-Boer War, as well as 448 435 men.