Durban, South Africa

The Golden Mile and Metro

Durban is the major city, and economic center of the KwaZulu Natal Province.

It is also Africa’s busiest and biggest port. There is a strong Indian population here and all around the province after many found there way to the warm, humid climate and especially after Ghandi lived and worked here. The Metro of Durban is fun and playful as the golden beaches are packed to capacity and the restaurants are continually buzzing. An eclectic blend of cultures is found here in an East meets West colorful vibe. This city is also ready for sports with major grounds like Kingsmead for cricket and Greyville for premier horseracing events like the Durban July.

For a different kind of fun, try take on the nightlife of Durban in sophisticated lounges, funky clubs and bars, and interesting taverns. Music and culture are very important and you will also find many theater and live performance venues around the city. Water sports have attracted vacationers for years and surfing, waterskiing, and scuba diving to the reefs and shipwrecks are popular pastimes. There is even a Timewarp Surfing Museum to have a look at for the history of surfing and the Hang Ten product brand in South Africa.

Along the Golden Mile of Durban’s beachfront you will find interesting quiet beaches and resort areas like the Blue Lagoon Beach, Cave Rock Beach, Brighton Beach and more. You can arrive at this coastal playground by air landing at Durban International Airport. Just south of that and the Golden Mile you will find Amanzimtoti. This amazing holiday resort area offers long stretches of sand, great swimming, luxury hotels, stunning dining, and more. At the northern part of the beach you can visit the “Place of Birds,” Inyoni Rocks. Some recommended holiday accommodation options include the Coral Tree Guest House, Amanzi B&B, El Palma Guest House, Orissa Inn, Ocean Hideaway, Villa Spa Holiday Resort and more.

Durban Museums and Attractions

In the heart of the CBD you will find a mix of old and new architecture. The new International Convention Center is a very modern structure and has hosted many major events like the World Economic Forum and World Aids Convention. Perhaps one of the most controversial buildings in South African history stands to this day, but is now recognized as a place of good. It is KwaMuhle Museum. This means “place of the good one” and is ironic in the sense that here, is where all the racial segregation policies and strange atrocities against African people where committed for many years. The “Good One” is a man by the name of JS Marwick who actually saved 7000 Zulu’s at the outbreak of the Anglo Boer War and led them here for safety and established the very first Native Administration Department in this building. Other places of interest are the Old Court House Museum, the Natural Science Museum and the Durban Art Gallery in the baroque styled City Hall.

UShaka Marine World

UShaka Marine World (part of SeaWorld) is a fairly new shipwreck themed aquarium where you can see great dolphinarium able to seat 1200 people as well as being able to see great white sharks in their natural habitat through the thick glass as you explore the wrecks of 15th century Spanish Galleon and a wrecked passenger steamer. This is Africa’s largest marine park and encompasses elements of a theme park with fresh water rides and slides, as well as a seal pool, dive tank, snorkel reef, and research facilities.

There are also top quality function venues to make use of, shopping centers, and a beach where you can have surfing lessons, play beach volleyball, or learn to kayak. Durban’s beaches were once considered dangerous to swim in because of frequents attacks by Great White Sharks. With the electric fences that have been installed these creatures are now kept safely away from bathers and you can now see them behind the safety of the glass at UShaka. It is a thrilling and exciting way to spend day. There is also a close-by Botanical Gardens that will reveal Durban’s oldest natural sight.

Durban Tourist Junction and Beyond

An impressive bust of the Indian hero Mahatma Ghandi is located a bit further down in what is known as Tourist Junction where you can also be greeted by traditional Zulu dancing.

Indian Town is nearby and is like a mini Delhi with markets, spices and stunning fabrics. Near the harbor you will find the Maritime Museum and you can take boat trips around the harbor to explore the massive ships. Before you leave Durban, visit the world famous Sugar Terminal which is the main industry in the region after the first sugar plants where given to King Shaka by the British in exchange for hunting rights. Next to the Sugar Terminal is the trendy Waterfront of Durban called Wilson’s Wharf with entertainment hotspots, fabulous dining and more. As you move inland you will come across the educational area with Natal University being prominent. Around this area you will see more of the townships of Durban with the Indian settlement areas and suburbs of Cato Manor, Phoenix (where Mahatma Ghandi lived), and Chatsworth, and the African townships of KwaMashu, and Umlazi.

Valley of 1000 Hills

Just outside of the busy city of Durban you will embark on an adventure into the rolling green hills and valleys that make up the Valley of a Thousand Hills. This area is the perfect adventurer paradise with hang gliding, hiking, paragliding and micro lighting and much more. This area is also the highlight of the Duzi Canoe marathon and the Comrades Marathon. This natural countryside of gorges, rivers and waterfalls is mixed with diverse cultures, golf courses, Victorian style shops, old hotels, traditional markets, arts and craft centers, horse riding trails, and quaint restaurants, and stately suburbs that were elevated above the humidity belt.

South Africa’s Mountain Regions >>>