Durban Travel Guide
Durban Travel Guide
Known for its sun, surf and golden beaches Durban is a cultural melting pot as famous for its authentic Indian curry as for its tropical weather:
Durban has long been a dream destination for locals and visitors to South Africa, and although its popularity may have slipped in recent years in favour of the Cape and Natal's south coast resorts, the city still offers some of the country's most popular beaches and some of its best weather. Travel to Durban for unique experiences like a traditional rickshaw ride along the buzzing beachfront, nicknamed 'The Golden Mile', and some excellent curries prepared by the vibrant Indian community. Durban is very family-friendly with its funfairs, waterparks, great beachfront hotels and good restaurants and shopping malls. The city is also a top choice for international conferences and trade expos held in South Africa.
Durban is a fantastic gateway to diverse attractions including the majestic Drakensberg Mountains, the UNESCO-listed wetlands of Isimangaliso, the historic battlefields of Zululand, and the immensely popular beach resort towns of Ballito and Umhlanga. A few days spent on holiday in Durban are fun and interesting, but the surfeit of world-class destinations nearby make the city a truly rewarding travel base.
Best time to visit Durban
Sunny weather all year round makes a Durban holiday a sure bet when it comes to the weather. With its sub-tropical climate, the summers are hot and winters mild, and the sea is blue, warm and enticing no matter what time of year you travel to Durban. The summer holidays (December and January) see South African's flock to the beach resorts surrounding Durban and it can get very crowded. Read more on Durban's Climate and Weather.
What to see in Durban
-Bask in the sun, sand and sea along Durban's famous Golden Mile.
-Learn about Durban's Apartheid history at the Kwamuhle Museum.
-Visit the historic Francis Farewell Square, ringed by some interesting buildings.
-See the colourful menagerie of birds at Umgeni River Bird Park.
What to do in Durban
-Enjoy the views from the Big Swing or Sky Car at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
-Stroll or picnic in the beautiful Durban Botanic Gardens, established in 1849.
-Treat the kids to a day of fun at Ushaka Marine World.
-Take an early morning boat ride with the Natal Sharks Board as they maintain the nets along the coast.
KwaZulu-Natal is a fascinating province with a rich and turbulent history and a multi-cultural heritage. Numerous charming colonial towns dot the region and the Zululand Battlefields make for a popular trekking route for military history buffs. The stunning Drakensberg Mountains and the isolated kingdom of Lesotho are exciting destinations and the Isimangaliso wetlands (formerly called St Lucia) provide beautiful, otherworldly landscapes seen nowhere else on earth.
The newly-built Durban King Shaka International Airport is a world-class facility situated 22 miles (35km) north of Durban. There are shuttles, taxis and car rental services to get travellers into the city. Get more information on Airports in Durban.
Did you know?
-The British settled in Durban in 1824, but the site was 'discovered' by Vasco da Gama in 1497.
-Durban harbour is the ninth largest in the world and Africa's busiest container port.
-Gateway shopping centre is the largest mall in Africa, modelled on the Mall of America.
Durban, South Africa © Bgabel
Delightful Durban is the largest city of the vast and varied KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. A coastal port with a more than equable sub-tropical climate and wide golden beaches washed by the warm Indian Ocean, Durban is a holidaymaker's paradise and gateway to the dozens of seaside resort towns of the coast to the south and north of the city. The 'Golden Mile' central beach area, flanked by numerous high-rise hotels, stretches for four miles (6km), and is fronted by promenades and entertainment facilities with many things to see and do, such as a skate park, flea markets and colourful traditionally-clad Zulu rickshaw pullers.
Although much of Durban is characterised by British colonial heritage and beautiful Art Deco architecture, the city is actually an exciting mix of cultures. There is a large Indian community, descendants of indentured labourers who came to work on the Natal sugar estates in the 1850s, which provides the city with an intoxicating oriental flavour enhanced by Indian shrines, bazaars and tantalising curry restaurants. There are also the Zulu people, whose proud warrior ancestors inhabited the province before the coming of the European colonial powers. The heritage of the amaZulu is very evident in the region north of the Tugela River, known as Zululand, where the legendary King Shaka once ruled supreme. Today most of KwaZulu-Natal's best game parks can be found in this region.
Durban is the gateway not only to the popular coastal beach resorts of the province, including Ballito, but also to the rolling hills and plains of the Natal Midlands and their backdrop: the majestic, jagged peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains, which border the province in the west and cradle the nearby mountain kingdom of Lesotho.