Durban is a city found on the East coast of South Africa, situated in the province of Kwazulu-Natal which harbours some of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa. The city boasts The Golden Mile that contains idyllic beaches which form part of the warm Indian Ocean. Its cuisine and sites are influenced by a vast and rich heritage with it being the home to the famed, King Shaka and the largest population of Indian people outside of India. These factors are among many others that support Durban being one of the best places to visit in South Africa.
1. The Beach
There is no denying that this is one of the top destinations to head to in Durban and with it being a large city there is enough room for everyone. The warm weather gives you an excuse to tan and read a book upon the sand the whole day. Additionally, the warm Agulhas current means that the sea is never too cold to set foot in.
Within South Beach or otherwise known as uShaka Beach, tourists will never have to worry about a picture-perfect moment as there are Sandcastle artists eager to display their work. South Beach also has stalls and shop tenders close to the beach that sell a variety of affordable and stunning souvenirs to show off to your family and friends! North Umdloti is a more conducive spot for safe swimming and families with young children.
During the winter season, it offers animal-lovers a one in a lifetime view of the migrating humpback whales. Amid Durban’s Golden Mile is also North Beach which screams adrenaline and adventure as it produces powerful waves, perfect for all kinds of water sports. These beaches are only a few that have been mentioned and if one would like to explore further, perhaps find more secluded ones, Durban’s outer suburbs can provide that.
2. Moses Mabhida
In 2010 South Africa hosted the World Cup which led to an array of stadiums being utilised as areas of recreation and leisure. Moses Mabhida sets them apart as it has, ‘The Big Rush Big Swing’ which is one of the tallest swings in the world being 288 feet high and better yet, being open to the public. The large glass lift that moves up the stadium gives tourists the chance to see the whole of Durban from the peak of Moses Mabhida. Surrounding the stadium is a park for children and areas of grass that is ideal for picnics or playing Frisbee. They have also provided a smooth trail constructed of polished concrete that leads you straight to the beach in a matter of minutes. One does not need to fret about walking as well because there are bikes and segways available to rent for the day.
3. uShaka Marine World
The name, uShaka Marine World is inspired by none other than the king and warrior, King Shaka Zulu. This park is ripping at the seams with fun, food, recreation and retail. It is especially known for its aquarium centre which is the largest in the Southern hemisphere. Some of the marine life displayed also partake in special shows such as the dolphins, seals and penguins. It doesn’t end there, the village walk has a special feature called ‘Dangerous Creatures’ in which various reptiles are exhibited. All in all, this park is the perfect place to visit if you want a taste of wildlife and adventure.
Gateway is one of the largest malls in Africa and is located in the North of Durban. The shopping centre has more than 430 shops, 70 eateries and multiple forms of recreation. It has a good reputation for its modern and sophisticated feel as it is situated in the affluent, Umhlanga. The perk of this area is that you can be close to amenities as there are many reputable hotels to lodge in nearby. Extravagant cars are often put on display for people stepping out of the mall which always sparks the attention of shoppers.
5. Florida Road
If you are looking for a piece of Durban that has a historical and quirky feel, Florida Road is your best bet. It holds many restaurants, shops and bars that are within old and restored Edwardian buildings. The Municipality makes sure that the buildings are well maintained which brings in a large attraction. The buzzing road is also able to come alive at night as there are clubs to appeal to the most nocturnal of beings.
6. Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens exposes the majestic side of Durban as well as a history that stems back to 1849. The oldest surviving botanic garden in Africa inhabits indigenous and non-indigenous plants and, the paths and lawns are wonderful for walks and picnics as you overlook the lake. The befitting tea garden is always stacked with crumpets that receive very good reviews. While the Gardens encourage biodiversity, it is also rich in culture as it often holds small concerts or events and theatre productions for children during the school holidays.
7. Indian Cuisine
It would be pointless putting down one Indian restaurant when there are so many good ones to choose from. With that being said, there is one meal that is unique to South Africa within the Indian community that you will find in almost any Indian Cuisine, which is, a Bunny Chow. Bunny Chows came about as a result of the Apartheid regime prohibiting black people from entering certain restaurants. Labourers were often short of time to make their own meals and decided to buy from informal restaurants. The bread served as a container for the curry and became a delicious portable meal. It is still widely eaten in South Africa today and enjoyed by many.
8. Suncoast Casino
Suncoast Casino is a hot spot if you are looking to gamble away and have some fun. The building is inspired by Las Vegas and is directly on the Durban beachfront. In addition to the casino, there are cinemas, shops and restaurants to eat at, with the inclusiveness of smoking and non-smoking areas. Suncoast Towers and SunSqaure Suncoast are the linked accommodations and are ideal places to stay if you want to be close to the beach and your amenities.
9. Natural Science Museum
There is everything for everyone in Durban even for the people that want to geek-out to their heart’s content. The Natural Science Museum is found in the beautifully architectural City Hall which attracts approximately 300,000 visitors annually. The museum is dedicated to showing the history of the earth through its features like their life-size reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and the history of nature through their wide screens. The guided tours they provide to the public will also help give some context into the features they have on display.
10. Sharks Game
South Africa is a country big on sports especially rugby, therefore, it is only right that you give it a chance to showcase their talent. Durban is home to the black and white Sharks team that has produced some of the finest Springbok players. The Sharks stadium, also known as Jonsson Kings Park can hold 52,000 people at a time and during these games, you will get to meet all kinds of people that all share a love for the game.
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Gabrielle is a 20-year-old undergraduate student studying publishing. In her spare time, she likes to write about the topics she is passionate about to share to the world.