- City Area : 225.91 km² (87.22 sq mi)
- Calling Code : +27 (0) 31
- Currency : South African Rand (ZAR)
- (EST) City Population : 595,061
- Official Languages : English, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans
- Time Zone : UTC/GMT+2
- Airports: King Shaka International Airport
With the good choice of domestic airlines, more local travellers are now flying to visit families in other cities, taking advantage of special offers, cheap flights to Durban and discounted car hire.
Airlines landing at King Shaka include:
- Air France
- South African Airways
- British Airways
- JetBlue Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- LATAM Brasil
Five Reasons to Visit
- Durban has the best all year-round weather with hot summers, pleasant winters, miles of beaches, an inviting blue ocean, great waves, the friendliest people and best bunny chows in Africa.
- It is the largest city in Kwa-Zulu, has the busiest container sea port in Africa with its harbour being 9th largest in the world. Bliss for shoppers is Durban’s Gateway Theatre of Shopping, the largest mall in the southern Africa. The Moses Mabhida Stadium is home to one of the tallest bungee jumps in the world. Ushaka Marine is the world’s 5th largest aquarium and Africa’s largest.
- There is an excellent choice of accommodation comprising 5-star luxury to comfortable, affordable 3-star hotels, backpackers, B&Bs and guest houses in the city, surrounding areas, up the north and south coast including the Midlands. Durban has an abundance of superb bars, nightclubs, coffee houses, restaurants, theatres and live music venues to enjoy during the day and at night.
- Durban’s is renowned for superb surfing conditions, hosting many top surfing competitions and for diving enthusiasts, besides Durban Aliwal Shoal, deemed one of the best diving spots in the world, there are numerous spots to choose from. Fishermen have no shortage of great fishing spots, off piers, rocks or the beach. During June and July, the famous sardine run has crowds flocking to the beach in a frenzy as large shoals of sardines move up the coast, a sight to be seen!
- Be part of the exciting Comrades Marathon, the world’s oldest and biggest ultra-marathon that attracts thousands, also resulting in last minute bookings for rental vehicles and accommodation hard to find.
Places to Visit
- uShaka Marine World, a top drawer-card on the Golden Mile with its spectacular aquarium provides loads of fun and excitement in the water themed park for adults and children. ushakamarineworld.co.za.
- See the best of the city’s history and top attractions relaxed in the double-decker Ricksha Bus that takes you on a fun, interesting three-hour journey with a run-down on all the city has on offer. durbanexperience.co.za.
- Valley of 1000 Hills is not to be missed! An enjoyable 30 minute drive from Durban takes you into pure tranquillity. Pop into the Phezulu Safari Park for a game drive, visit the crocodile and snake-park or the cultural village but be sure to experience the Umgeni Steam Railway Train that travels through villages of the Valley of 1000 Hills. For enquiries or bookings go to 1000hillstourism.com.
- Nature and bird lovers won’t be disappointed at the Umgeni River Bird Park deemed one of the world’s top three bird parks. Three to four hours pass quickly even for children with the variety of birds including the bird show which is a must see.
- Durban’s Botanical Gardens are well maintained with a wonderful old trees, beautiful flora, peace and tranquillity. After strolling, relax at the charity tea room with tea and delectable crumpets or take your own picnic basket, for an amazingly affordable days outing.
- Mitchell Park dates back to the early 1900s and is a hidden gem in Morningside. Perfect for family outings it comprises a playground for children, lawns to picnic on, braai areas, a mini zoo, the Blue Zoo Restaurant and Alleys Snacks. Admission is R8 for adults, R5 for children and R2 for pensioners. The bandstand makes for a great venue for an event or celebration and can be booked out for R130. Part of the park is Durbans only zoo, Mitchell Park Zoo, home to Admiral the tortoise, the zoos oldest inhabitant who has lived there since 1915 and is still going strong.
- Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World, also on Durban’s Golden Mile is a great attraction besides being the biggest casino in the country it has a wonderful private beach, eight cinemas that include Bollywood movies plus an 18m Supernova screen.
- Umhlanga Rocks north of Durban is a popular holiday destination for locals and tourists. Besides its stunning beaches and resorts, its home to the Shark Board and the Gateway Theatre of Shopping, an enormous fabulous mall that comprises boutiques, restaurants, hundreds of numerous retail outlets and movie theatres. For more information go to umhlangatourism.co.za. Still in the north is the Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom with plenty of slots and tables including a Zulu theatre, excellent night entertainment and a luxurious day spa to pamper and soothe your sun tanned body. Go to www.suninternational.com.
- Going south to The Sapphire Coast scuba divers cannot resist exploring Aliwal Shoal, a fossilized sand dune located 5km off the Umkomaas River mouth that has innumerable cold water and warm water reef fish congregating on Aliwal Shoal, creating a spectacular masterpiece of colours. Amanzimtoti meaning sweet waters in Zulu has for many years being a popular annual holiday destination, especially for visitors from Gauteng who flock to the beaches on cloudy days to swim, surf or fish. Besides the beach, take a stroll through the Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary and other nature reserves. For more see sapphirecoasttourism.co.za.
- For a township experience, Max’s Lifestyle is trendy, chic and one of the top restaurants in Umlazi where you’ll have a great evening out in a secure environment. Check it out at maxslifestyle.co.za. Sbu’s Lounge in Inanda and on the Inanda Heritage Route is a great venue for casual or corporate. Laid back and safe it offers a full bar, meat on a braai with pap and African dishes. There’s good music and while you’re enjoying your meal, your car will be receiving a welcomed wash, check out what’s on at www.sbu-lounge.wozaonline.co.za. Another great option is The Comfort Zone in Clermont, near Pinetown. There’s great entertainment with excellent food and its open seven days a week from 10h00 until late. For further information go to www.thecomfortzone.co.za.
- Visitors wanting a game of golf have eight fabulous courses to choose from with stunning views, often the cause for low concentration levels on the game.
A great mode of transport is riding a Segway or bicycle along the smooth paved promenade that takes you past beaches and along Durban’s Golden Mile that’s popular for joggers, strollers and dog walkers. The city and surrounds has no less than 40kms of cycling lanes.
- The Durban People Mover is great for getting around town. This shuttle bus service runs from 05h00 until 22h00, linking the city to the beachfront. It operates from uShaka Marine World to Suncoast Casino with stops in between including the Victoria Street Market and City Hall. Tickets are purchased on board and for R16 you can get on and off as many times as you like within a day or R5.50 for a single journey.
- Operated by Durban Transport are the Mynah and Aqualine bus services that reach most of the city including local residential sectors. The cost for a trip is R5 and if you purchase 10 prepaid tickets you get a discount. Destinations include North and South beach, Musgrave Road, Mitchell Park Circle, Peter Mokaba Ridge, Botanic Gardens and Kensington Road. The bigger Aqualine buses operate in the greater metropolitan areas.
- Nothing compares to a ride in a brightly coloured Rickshaw, operating since 1893, it’s an experience to be had at least once in a life-time. R60 gets you a 15 minute ride and to remember the laughter, a photograph is an extra R10.
- To get home safely after a late night out, take a metered taxi cab. There are plenty of metered taxis with trips from the beach to Morningside costing around R60.00. Operators running reliable 24-hour services include Mozzie Cabs, Zippy Cabs and Eagle.
- Minibus taxies travelling long-distance depart from opposite the Umgeni Road entrance to the Durban train station while others travelling to the South Coast and Wild Coast depart from the Berea train station.
- Hiring a cheap rental vehicle is ideal for visitors venturing out of the city to the mountains for hiking, river rafting or wild life viewing, including scenic drives to the South or North coast. There are plenty of car hire companies to choose from with well known brands such as Avis and Europcar based at the airport, the city and suburbs.