Location: South Africa » Kwazulu Natal » Ethekwini » North Coast » Dolphin Coast » Durban

Durban offers beaches and culteral diversity

Durban is South Africa's sub-tropical beach getaway. The Durban city centre overlooks a long, golden beach that is probably the single most culturally diverse spot in South Africa.  Durban is actually all about the beach. It is home to South Africa's only surfing museum, and is one of the most surf-friendly cities in the world. Frustrated wage slaves can look out of their office windows onto awesome breaks - and then shed the tie and jacket or the high heels and paddle out straight after work. Durban is the closest seaport to Johannesburg and is also an integral part of the city. As well as all the usual container docks  it has not one, but two yacht clubs and a great little cultural spot right in the middle of the harbour - the BAT centre. Short for the Bartle Arts Trust, the BAT Centre is a hotbed of local visual art and musical creativity mixed in with some good restaurants, coffee shops and pubs. All overlooking the small boat harbour so you can sip cappuccino while watching stubby-nosed tugs coming in to rest after a hard day pushing supertankers around.

Durban Bay is one of the better natural harbours on our coastline. Its narrow opening is protected by a huge headland, called the Bluff, on one side and, on the other, a point called Point - granted not the most imaginative of names, but it's a cool place. Here you'll find another batch of fun eateries where you could - if you were sufficiently anti-social and quite strong - pitch a beer bottle onto a passing container ship as it enters or leaves harbour. Close by is the newly built uShaka Marine World - a state of the art aquarium, wet playground and shopping mall, where children of all ages can ooh and aah at the sharks in the predator tank, snorkel with the fishies (the cute little ones, not the sharks) and contemplate the moral dilemma of captive animals everywhere as they watch incarcerated dolphins jumping through hoops for their supper. Nobody said it was a perfect world.

The whole Point area is the most interesting part of Durban. At one stage it must have been very fashionable indeed, but then - well, you know, cities are living things and they grow and change - it went downhill. A drive along Point Road will reward you with the sight of row upon row of abandoned art deco warehouses and factories - but not for much longer. Already the developers have set their sights on this little treasure, and there'll pretty soon be loft-style apartments, boutique hotels and designer malls. The beachfront is lined with multi-storey hotels and restaurants, with unashamdely kitsch attraction, like a huge pool complex and a snake park. Curio sellers line the walkways and dramatically outfitted rickshaw-wallahs offer rides and photographic opportunities. The best part about Durban's beachfront, though, is the water temperature. It's rarely below 20°C, which makes ogling those tanned, buff surfers just so much more interesting, as they don't wear wetsuits.

Accommodation in Durban itself is conveniently concentrated along the beachfront or Golden Mile, close to the Durban central business district.  Slick, high rise Durban hotels with sea views and swimming pools proliferate along this lively strip. Another area that’s close to the beachfront and CBD with more hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts and affordable self-catering apartments and villas are the leafy suburbs of Berea and Morningside, well endowed with exceptional restaurants and shopping malls. It is highly advisable to book accommodation in advance during peak season (December and January) as scores of holiday makers descend upon all the beach locations in Durban. Durban North is also an extremely popular choice with holiday makers.

Durban is in the middle of a vast sugar-growing area that was originally worked by indentured labourers from India,  many of whom stayed, started businesses and built homes.  Durban has the largest population of Indians outside of India.  There is a vibrant Eastern feel to the city, a huge spice market, decorative mosques, fantastic temples and - best of all - great food. You'll find dozens of good curry restaurants and you just have to try a bunny chow while you're there. It's a half or quarter loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with curry. Eaten with the hands in the street, it's an obligatory Durban experience.
There's lots to do in and around Durban City. Many people just park off on the beach, especially on the North Coast, or South Coast, both of which are within an hour's drive of the city, and there are loads of restaurants, some excellent theatre and music, and wild and funky nightlife.

The surfing is great right in the city and also up and down the coast. There's some reasonable diving in Durban Bay but the South Coast has some truly world class spots - and it's a great place for pretty competent and confident divers during the annual Sardine Run.

If you spend much time at all in the sea, you should consider a visit to the Sharks Board in Umhlanga, just north of the city, where you can learn all about these fascinating creatures. They're not the bloodthirsty killing machines they're made out to be in American movies. There are a couple of fun river trips, some nice abseiling, awesome sport climbing and small game farms not too far off and the North and South Coasts boast an almost indecent density of championship golf courses.

Durban's cultural attractions are perhaps its most appealing diversions. There are Zulu cultural villages to visit, township tours and visits to mosques or the beautiful Temple of Understanding, which has an excellent, inexpensive vegetarian restaurant.
Another interesting spot to visit is Inanda, which was the birthplace of both the Shembe religion and Natal Native Congress, which later became the African National Congress. It was also where Mahatma Ghandi, who lived there at the same time these two other movements were starting, pioneered the concept of Satyagrah, or passive resistance. Truly, a little crucible of world history.

The Place where Earth and Ocean meet’

The Zulu name for Durban is eThekwini, which means ‘The place where the earth and the ocean meet’. Durban is a holiday playground for many South Africans, with visitors flocking to it’s shores all year round to enjoy it’s pleasant subtropical climate, carnival atmosphere and golden beaches. Upmarket hotels grace the coastline along the Golden Mile, and pubs, discos and action bars and favoured by residents, as well as visitors. Durban is a vibrant cosmopolitan city, with a colourful community – a place where different cultures and traditions meet in an electrifying cosmospolitan mix. It’s historical background is as colourful as it’s diverse multi ethnic populations. It has indeed become a city with a million different faces, in fact, a tourist paradise – and a far cry from the days when hippo splashed among the reeds in the bay. It was founded in the year 1823 as a tiny trading settlement and was named ‘Durban’ in 1835 in honour of the governor of the Cape, Sir Benjamin D’Urban. Visitors seldom leave these shores without happy memories – for there is so much to see and do in Durban. There are many inexpensive programmes to follow such as beach entertainment for both young and old and a host of spectator sports and other outdoor amenities. Sea World is internationally acclaimed for it’s dolphin shows, and the aquarium displays a fascinating variety of tropical fish, sharks, turtles and shells. The Indian Market with it’s delicious aroma of curry powders and spices will transport the visitor, momentarily to the farthest corner of the fascinating Orient, Dozens of shops line West Street, Smith Street and the lanes and arcades connecting them. The beachfront and most suburbs have excellent shopping centres, which also incorporate restaurants and banking facilities. Those in the know claim that The Pavillion, at Westville, is the best shopping centre of all. Apart from being a holiday destination of international appeal, Durban has the biggest and busiest port on the African continent, rated as the ninth biggest in the world. With an abundance of affordable accommodation, a wide range of restaurants catering for all tastes and a multitude of attractions, Durban is a holiday destination par excellence.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

How to get there

Several international airlines fly directly to Durban International Airport, 15 km south of the city centre. A coach service operates at regular intervals between the airport and the terminal at the corner of Smith and Aliwal Streets. Amanzimtoti 34 km, East London 667 km, Johannesburg 598 km, Margate 143 km, Pietermaritzburg 77 km, Richards Bay 172 km.

Average Temperatures - Summer 24°c – 30°c, Winter 18°c – 22°c

Banks – Absa, Bank of Athens, Bank of Lisbon, Fnb, Nedbank, Standard

Climate

Idyllic sub tropical climate prevails almost throughout the year at the coast, with ample reason for Durban to be known as ‘the sunshite city’. Humidity levels may be high in certain parts at particular times of the year. Inland areas are more temperate. Average winter temperatures is about 18°c. Towards the Midlands area snow often covers the mountain heights, with many towns lying in the mist belt. Swimming in the sea can be enjoyed all year – the warm waters of the Indian Ocean rarely fall below 17°c. These are but a few of the many attractions which Durban has to offer the visitor.

Consulates

Austria, Belguim, British, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway / Sweden, Paraquay, Portugal, Uruguay, USA

Foreign Exchange - American Express, Rennies

Transport - Automobile Associateion,

Airports - Durban International Airport, City Air Terminal

Car Rental - Charisma Car Hire, Rental Express, Swans National Rent a Car

Railway - Train Reservations, Train Enquiries

HISTORICAL VIEW

Addington Hospital (Centenary Museum)

Exhibits range from academic gowns, china, furniture, militaria, pharmaceutical items, surgical instruments, medical appliances and dental and x ray units. A large range of dolls dressed in uniforms from 1890 to date also on show.

Anglo Zulu Tours

Anglo Zulu offers a unique and comprehensive programme of battlefield and cultural tours. It is co ordinated by Gillian Berning, a former Director of the Local History Museum in Durban, whose profound knowledge of the history of Kwazulu Natal is the result of fifteen years curatorial experience. Ian Knight is acknowledged as a leading authority in the field of Zulu history. His intimate knowledge of the historic sites of Kwazulu Natal is the result of twenty years’field research. Coincidentally, both Ian and Gillian had relatives present with the British forces at Isandlwana. Ian has written over twenty books in Zulu and southern African history and is a SATOUR registered guide. Ian’s first book ‘Brave Men’s Blood’, The Epic of the Zulu War’, was acclaimed for it’s even handed description of the 1879 Anglo Zulu conflict and it’s full consideration fo the Zulu perspective. Ian has also researched documentaries for both the BBC and SABC and presented Cromwell Films’ documentary Rorke’s Drift. Audio cassettes written and presented by Ian are also available. Graeme SMythe, former curator of the site museum at Rorke’s Drift recently joined the team and takes regular tours to Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift.

Anglo Zulu War

The Anglo Zulu War of 1879 was one of the most extraordinary wars in southern African history. It saw bloody battles in which Zulu warrioirs, armed mainly with shields and spears, took on the soldiers of the greatest Empire the world had ever seen. At Isandlwana the Zulu army all but wiped out a British column of 1700 men. Later that day, less than 150 red coats defended the mission station at Rorke’s Drift against repeated attacks by 3500 Zulus. They won a record number of eleven Victoria Crosses, Britian’s highest award for valour. On the coast a British column was cut off at Eshowe and besieged for nearly three months. It was only relieved by the British victory at Gingindlovu. In the northern sector two Zulu victories – at Ntombe and Hlobane – were followed by the crushing defeat at Khambula Hill. Prince Louis Napoleon, exiled heir to the Bonapartist throne in France, was killed in a skirmish. In July the Zulus were defeated at Ulundi and oNdini was destroyed. The Anglo Zulu War is a story of courage and sacrifice, of the fall of a king, the death of a great European dynasty, and the humbling of generals.

Tour One – Wet With Yesterday’s Blood

Follow in the footsteps of the British and Zulu armies as they move towards one of the greatest clashes of the war. Visit the spectacular Mangeni gorge, where British General Lord Chelmsford searched in vain for the Zulu forces, and the Ngwebeni valley, where they actually lay hidden, before exploring the brooding battlefield of Isandlwana itself. Isandlwana was the Zulu’s greatest victory and one of the worst defeats suffered by the British Empire. From Isandkwana, visit the graves of Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill who died at Fugitives’ Drift attempting to save the regimental Colours. Finally, visit Rorke’s Drift where a small garrison of red coats defended the border mission against determined assaults by the Zulus for more than ten hours, earning themselves a record number of Victorian Crosses.

Tour Two – The Turning Point

An exploration of the campaign on the remote northern borders of the Zulu kingdom. Here, dynamic leaders on both sides, men like Colonel Buller and Mbilini waMswati, waged a fast moving war of raid and counterraid. Visit the sites of two great Zulu victories, Ntombe River, where a British convoy was surprised and wiped out, and Hlobane Mountain, where a British foray against a Zulu stronghold went disastrously wrong. A day later, the Zulu army attacked the British camp at Khambula in a hard fought battle which finally turned the tide of war in Britain’s favour and which proved a turning point in the history of the Zulu Kingdom.

Tour Three – Into the Heart of the Old Zulu Kingdom

Throughout muc nineteenth century southeastern Zululand was the gateway to the Kingdom and many landmarks of the conflict are to be found there. Visit the remains of the Ultimatum Tree, where British representatives confronted King Cetshwayo’s envoys on the eve of the war. Then follow the line of advance of Colonel Pearson’s coastal column and explore the battlefields of Nyezane and Gingindlovu before visiting the site of the kwaMondi fort in Eshowe, where Pearson was besieged for three months. Stay overnight at an authentic Zulu uMuzi for an enchanting demonstration of the Zulu way of life, before visiting the reconstructed homestead of King Cetshwayo at oNdini, and the site of the final battle of Ulundi.

Tour Four – In the Steps of the Zulu Kings

A journey through time in the footsteps of the great Zulu kings of yesteryear. The tour begin at Stanger, site of the kwaDukuza homestead of King Shaka himself, and visit the monument that marks his grave. From here visit the remains of the Ultimatum Tree, where British representatives confronted King Cetshwayo’s envoys, and precipitated the Anglo Zulu War of 1879. Visit the battlefield of ‘Ndondakusuka across the Thukela, site of the civil war battle in 1856 between Princes Cetshwayo and Mbuyazi – one of the most destructive battles in Zulu history. Next drive to Eshowe, to visit the evocative Fort Nongqai museum, with it’s many memories of old Zululand, and then to the monument which marks the site where the last independent king of Zululand, Cetshwayo kaMpande died. Spend the night at KwaBekithunga in the Knwalini valley, not far from another of King Shaka’s homesteads, kwaBulawayo. The following morning visit Gqokli hill, site of one of King Shaka’s early battles with the Ndwandwe chiefdom, before finishing the tour with a visit of King Dingane’s partially restored ‘great place’, uMgungundlovu, at emaKhosini in the valley of the Zulu Kings

Campbell Collections

Thee major resources for research into the history and culture of Kwazulu Natal are housed at Muckleneuk, formerly the home of Durban’s Campbell family who were prominent philanthropists and collectors. Guided tours of Muckleneuk can be arranged.

The Killie Campbell Africana Library is well known for it’s comprehensive collection of books, manuscripts and photographs. Covering a broad sweep of information about this region and it’s population.

The William Campbell Furniture and Art Collection contains many examples of Cape Dutch furniture and a fine collection of works by contemporary Black artists. The Mashu Museum of Ethnology includes artworks, cultural artifacts and an extensive beadwork collection reflecting the colourful and vigorous tradition of the Zulu people. The Jo Thorpe Collection was donated to the Campbell Collection by the African Art Centre in December 1997. Jo Thorpe was the driving force behind the African Art Centre for thirty years. The Jo Thorpe Collection comprises special pieces which she set aside, including artwork, wood carvings,dolls, beaded soft sculptures, basketry and ceramic, metal and telephone wire items. Available for study at the Killie Campbell Africana Library is the documentation of the African Art Centre from 1959 to 1996. This incorporates valuable papers and records of artists who were associated with the African Art Centre and the history of the development of the ELC Community Arts Centre at Rorke’s Drift. Selected items from the Jo Thorpe Collection are on display at the African Art Centre, Tourist Junction, Old Station Building.

Da Gama Clock

A memorial donated by the Portuguese community to commemorate the first sighting of Natal (Terra do Natal) by the famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, on Christmas Day, 1497. (Historical Note: Traditionally, Da Gama gave the name Terra do Natal to the coast around the Kei River mouth on Christmas Day, 1497, although this was not recorded in his log book. This name, which initially referred to the coast of Pondoland, was later in the Portuguese period extended to cover a larger area, stretching from a starting point (Ponta Primeira) at the Kei River mouth, through a central point (Ponta do Meio) at the Umzimvubu River, to the further point (Ponta Derradeira), which was probably the Bluff at Durban). (Muller CFJ, 500 Years – A History of South Africa, Third Edition)

Dick King Statue

Eqiestrain statue of Dick King, who in 1842, made the 950 km journey from Durban to Grahamstown on horseback in ten days to secure help for the besieged British garrison at the Old Fort Durban

Durban City Hall

Designed in Modern Renaissance style and complete in 1910, the building closely resembles the Belfast City Hall. On the second floor the Durban Art Gallery is the setting for international and South African art collections. Guided tours can be arranged.

Durban Indian Cultural and Documentation Centre

Durban Military – North Beach Durban

 

John Ross Statue

At the age of 15, John Ross, Lt King’s valet, was appointed to journey from Durban to Delagoa Bay to obtain much needed medical supplies. With a few Africans as escorts he reached his destination in three weeks. He was doubtless the first white man to accomplish the journey from Durban to Delagoa Bay and back on foot.

KwaDukuza

KwaMuhle Museum

Lady in White Statue

Found at entrance three to the harbour. End of Stanger Street, drive up ramp and halfway round traffic circle. Take ocean Terminal, Durmarine exit. The statue is located between the Portnet office block and the Ocean Terminal.

Local History Museum

Housed in Durban’s original court house, the museum depicts the history of the early settlers, including a reconstruction of the city’s first white settler dwelling, a sugar mill featuring indentured Indian labourers, a post office, general dealer and an apothecary.

Natal Maritime Museum

Two retired tugs are the main focus of the museum, a minesweeper from the Second World War can also be seen.

Natural Science Museum

A museum about the earth, it’s history and life on earth, both past and present. With more than 300 000 visitors per year from more than 100 countries, this is one of the most popular museums in the country. Enjoy hands on exploration in the Kwazuzulwazi Science Centre. See a life size reconstruction of the extinct Dinosaur tyrannosaurus rex. Listen to Wild Birds in their natural habitats. Experience an electronic ‘Journey Through Time’. Learn about our ‘Human Origins & The Stone Age’. Discover the earth’s Most Dangerous Creature. Enjoy a cup of coffee at the Waterhole Coffee Shop. Use the museum’s Internet / email facilities. Free film shows, winter and summer science festivals, holiday season programmes.

KwaZuzulwazi Science Centre

school and group bookings. Outreach programme, special simulated planetarium shows. Museum Friends Society. Durban Bat Interest Group. Astronomy Internet Group. Museum Volunteers programme. Natural science talks, excursions and field trips. Museum orientation workshops for teachers. Enrichment tours for company personnel. Specimen identification. Specialist Meester Reference Library.

Old Church

The Old Church with it’s attractive Gothic architecture is the home of Antique & Bygones, boasting a wide and varied stock of period furniture, antique and modern silver, jewellery, paintaings, clocks, weapons, ceramics, copper and brass. Adjacent to the City Hall, two minutes walk from the Royal Hotel, eight minutes from Hilton Hotel and Conference Centre.

Old Court House Museum

The Old Court House, opened on 24 May 1866, saw many famous and infamous people passing through it’s hall. Today it is a museum which displays fashion extravaganza, including some of the attire worn by the people of Kwazulu Natal. Natal’s Movers and Shakers are also displayed at this museum.

Old Fort

The Old Fort where the British garrison was entrenched against the attacking forces of the Boers in 1842, is today a haven of peace and tranquility with a garden of fascinating species of cycads. The Magazine, once housing the armoury, has been converted into a chapel.

Old House Museum

A replica of a Durban house of the early 19th century

Pirates’ Museum - The audio visual Prates’ Show is held in a ship’s hold

St Peter in Chains

Formerly a powder magazine, the chapel of St Peter in Chains is a war memorial and a popular venue for weddings.

Sugar Terminaal

Warriors Gate

Warriors gate is a shrine and headquarters of the M.O.T.H.S with it’s museum of war relics of early Natal and battlefields all over the world.

Whysall’s Camera Museum

One of the finest collections of Classic Cameras in the world. Over 5000 exhibits depicting the fascinating story of photography through the ages (1841 to present day). Conducted tours by appointment.

NATURE

Amphitheatre Gardens – Marine Parade

One of the finest sunken gardens in the country, with the fish pools and troughts designed from natural rock and stone. Spacious lawns, long stretches of crazy paving, fountains, subtropical flower gardens and benches shaded within attractive rondavels.

Assagay Nature Reserve

A small reserve, 7 ha, located in Botha’s Hill. Beautiful trees and a marsh at the source of the Mhlatuzana River

 

Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve

This 76 ha reserve is located on the northern banks of the Mgeni River and comprises one of the only remaining mangrove swamps south of Tugela River. Several nature trails lead through the reservev. Interesting birdlife.

Bluff Nature Reserve

A 45 ha reserve located on Durban’s Bluff. The reserve comprises a natural vlei area, renowned for it’s prolific birdlife. More than 120 birds and 15 mammals species have been recorded to date. Bird hide.

Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens are regarded by many as one of South Africa’s most beautiful parks. They are filled with thick vegetation, in which very tall trees predominate. There is a vast collection of specimens in the gardens, including the Ernest Thorpe Orchid House, a Herb Garden, a Sunken Garden, and the Garden for the Blind. There is an information centre and a tea garden available, although entrance is free. The Kwazulu Natal Philharmoic Orchestra performs at the Botanic Gardens Lake on various Sundays throughout the year. Audiences are welcome to take along a picnic basket and enjoy the splendour of the music in one of Durban’s most picturesque locations.

Burman Bush Nature Reserve

Although small, Burman Bush protects a valuable remnant of coastal bush. For this reason only three short walks have been cut through the bush to allow the visitor to enjoy the natural environment. A braai (barbeque) area, picnic sites and parking facilities are available to the public.

Clive Cheesman Nature Reserve

This 5 ha reserve located in the Kloof area comprises a strip of riverine forest and grassland. Several trails lead through the reserve.

Crestholme Nature Reserve

This 6 ha reserve is located in the Hillcrest area. The reserve offers spectacular views over the Umgeni Valley. Short nature trail.

Enseleni Nature Reserve

(Near Empangeni / Southern Zululand)

A botanical paradise consisting of coastal forest and grasslands with a wide diversity of flora. A variety of antelope can be seen, while the Nseleni River provides a freshwater habitat for hippos and crocodile. Birds such as the African Finfoot, Woollynecked Stork and Fish Eagle nest in the reserve.

Glenholme Nature Reserve

A 43 ha reserve located in the Kloof area. Features include grasslands, a swamp forest, scenic waterfalls and gorge. Three trails lead through the reserve, one of which is suitable for the disabled and blind. Braai facilities and toilets.

Hawaan Forest

(Umhlanga / North Coast)

The forest is unique in that it’s type is not present anywhere else in South Africa. The Mlanga River and flood plains form land from the western boundary, which together from a natural protective barrier for luxuriant tree growth. There are no restroom facilities available and entrance is free, although donations are welcome.

Illanda Wilds Nature Reserve

Located on the banks of the Amanzimtoti River. More than 100 bird species have been recorded. Although there are a number of picnic sites, there are no braai facilities.

Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve

A 135 ha mini reserve 13 km from Durban. A paradise for the trail walker, noted for the species of rare Natal Elm, home of small herds of small game, sanctuary for annual flights of migratory birds. The nature reserve has self guided trails which lead through coastal forest and wetland areas. There is a large variety of bird species, as well as game, including zebra, impala, bushbuck and duiker. There is no curio shop, although cooldrinks may be purchased at the gate. Picnic sites are available, with braais (barbeques) and restroom facilities, as well as a concrete trail for the disabled. Night drives are available and must be booked in advance.

Krantzkloof Nature Reserve

24 km from Durban, this beautiful spot with picnic sites offers the breathtaking Kloof Falls coupled with invigorating walks amidst part of Natal’s fascinating scenery. Krantzkloof Nature Reserve is a well defined and thickly forested gorge, which was cut by the Emolweni River. Scenically, it is very impressive and the vegetation is predominately coastal forest, although on the higher levels this gives way to grassland, interspersed with pockets of bush. The main attractions at Kranzkloof are the scenic walks, the bird and animal life and the beautiful views. Duiker, bushpig, bushbuck or reed buck may be seen.

Mariannwood Nature Reserve

A 12 ha reserve located in the Mariannhill area. Features include grasslands and forest, rich in flora. Braai facilities.

Molweni Nature Reserve

The 150 ha reserve is located in the Hillcrest area and serves as an environmental education centre.

New Germany Nature Reserve

A 110 ha reserve located in the New Germany Westville area. A wide variety of birds has been recorded. Animal species include red, common and blue duiker, nyala, impala, steenbok, zebra and reed buck. A number of trails lead through the reserve. Other facilities include a bird hide, braais and a small bush camp.

 

North Park Nature Reserve

A 53 ha reserve located near Queensburgh. Located along the Mhlatuzana River, the reserve comprises areas of coastal forest, swamp and grasslands. Prolific birdlife. Braai facilities.

Palmiet Nature Reserve

Apprximately 11 km from Durban, a bird watcher’s paradise, the reserve contains over 140 indigenous trees and over 100 different species of birds.

Paradise Valley Nature Reserve

This small nature reserve of 28 ha is situated beside the Durban / Johannesburg national road. 18 km from Durban, and has a delightful picnic site with facilities. The Paradise Valley Nature Reserve comprises coastal forest and grasslands. There are four trails, which have been graded according to their steepness. There is a large picnic site available, as well as a braai (barbeque) area, which is available for hire.

Pigeon Valley Park

A small 10 ha reserve located in Glenwood. The reserve has been declared a National Heritage Site for it’s large stands of Natal Elm (Celtis mildbraedii). Prolific birdlife. A shrot trail leads through the reserve offering beautiful views of Durban.

Roosfontein Nature Reserve

A 90 ha reserve located in Durban’s Westville area. Three trails lead through the reserve, comprising an unspoilt area along the Mbilo River.

Seaton Park

A 6 ha reserve located in Durban North comprising an area of beautiful coastal forest. Facilities include a number of trails, children’s playground and ablutions.

Shongweni Resources Reserve

Recognized as a Natural Heritage Site, this reserve is situated midway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg and offers fine examples of many habitats, including grasslands, valley bushveld and spectacular cliffs. Due to these many habitats, including the reserve supports a wide variety of wildlife, including over 200 species of birds. Game drives, horse rides are available while canoes can be hired. Advanced bookings is essential. Fishing is permitted and permits are available at the gate. There is a self guided trail, as well as three picnic sites with restroom facilities.

Silverglen Nature Reserve

This 220 ha reserve is located between Chatsworth and Umlazi and is known for it’s prolific birdlife – more than 120 species have been recorded to date. Facilities include a medicinal plant nursery, guided trails for school groups, an information centre, toilets and braai facilities.

 

Springside Nature Reserve

A 21 ha reserve located in the Hillcrest area. Short trails meander through the reserve. Features include a steam with patches of riverine forest and protea.

Treasure Beach Environmental Education Centre

This 16 ha reserve is located on Durban’s Bluff and features patches of grassland, coastal forest, dune forest and a beautiful rocky shoreline. The environmental education centre is run by the Wildlife Society.

Umbogovango Nature Reserve

The 30 ha reserve is located near Umbogintwini and features a short trail, four hides, braai areas and a environmental centre. The reserve boasts more than 134 tree species, while 180 speceis of birds have been recorded.

Virginia Bush Nature Reserve

A 38 ha reserve located in Durban North. This reserve is considered to be one of the finest birding spots in Durban and it’s surroundings. Facilities include two short walks, 13 observation points and a visitor centre.

ATTRACTIONS

Annual Events

Durban Point Easter Festival – March / April

Comrades Marathon ( Between Durban and Pietermaritzburg) – June

July Handicap

Durban Tatoo

Gunston 500 International Surfing Championships – July

Wildlife Exhibition – September

Hare Krishna Festival of Chariots – December

After Dark – Booze Cruise

After dark entertainment includes theatres, concerts, films, pubs, discos and clubs

Amusement Fun Centre

Lower Marine Parade

South Africa’s premier kiddies wonderland, offering thrills and laughter to the whole family – padding pool, boat rides, dodgems vintage cars, miniature railway, go karts and an aerial ride. Open daily and evenings

Beaches

Durban’s beaches stretch in a long line from Addington Beach to the Country Club Beach. Facilities include change rooms, fast food outlets, shark nets and lifesavers. The Bay of Plenty is especially popular among surfers. Even in winter, the sea temperature rarely drops below 17°c.

 

Blue Lagoon

Umgeni River Mouth

Nearby is the model yacht and power boat pond and the Umgeni Jetty, one of Durban’s favourite fishing spots

Boat cruises and fishing charters

Lynski Charters

Lynski, powered by two diesel engines, 220 V generator. Carpeted throughout, two comfortable cabins, toilet, microwave and ample seating. Equipped with the latest communication, radios, fish finder, GPS navigator, radar and auto pilot. The large fishing area, with ample stowage space, has been well designed to provide for enjoyable angling. Flying bridge for a good view of attacking fish. Live bait well on deck. Marlin outriggers, down riggers, rod holders and a well positioned fighting chair. All the latest tackle well maintained. Short sightwseeing cruises are catered for. Bottom / Reef / Shark fishing. Fly fishermen welcome. Lynski’s clients have to date hooked and lost seven Marlin on fly. Tag and release encouraged. Lynski was awarded the 1998 Johnson & Jhonson tropjhy for the most tagged Billfish. Departure and mooring at the yacht basin in front of Café fish at times arranged. Lynski has caught the most Marlin off Durban for three years. Caught the heaviest Marlin, Black Marlin and Blue Marlin off Durban. Caught a record five Marlin in one day (three tag and release). Caught a record three Marlin simultaneously. Caught the first Marlin of the season three years in a row. Won the Umhlanga Festival Prrize for the largest billfish for three years. Winner of 1999 marlin Club of South Africa Tournament. Deep sea, parties, sundowners and launches.

Botha’s Hill Station

Children’s Farm

See piglets, bantams and goats. Milk the cows, bottle feed the lambs. Tractor and pony rides. Refreshments. Open daily.

Crocodile Creek

Forty minutes north of Durban. Exciting, fascinating, live demonstration with crocodiles set in natural bush location overlooking the Tongaat River Valley. Take the N2 North exiting at exit 202 or 210 inland till you see the signboards. Enjoy the personal, informal manner in which the experienced guides handle and explain the fascinating lifestyles of crocodiles. Sungazers, tortoises, snakes and thousands of crocodiles. From 700 kg monsters to cute little hatchlings weighing less than 70 g. refreshments served in the thatched lapa. Unique African Curios and leather goods.

Dun Robin Nursery & Tea Garden

Durban Art Gallery

The Durban Art Gallery celebrates the rich, visual traditions and diverse culture of southern Africa. An appreciation of art and an involvement in the visual arts is encouraged through multi cultural collections, exhibitions and public programmes. The initial establishment of the Durban Art Gallery is attributed to Catheart William Methven (Harbour Engineer), who donated one of his paintings ‘Durban Bay from Claremont’ to the Town Council of Durban in 1892. The character of the gallery’s collection was subsequently developed by a presentation of over 400 works of art, including British, French and Dutch paintings, French and Chinese ceramics, early glass vases by Lalique and bronzes by Rodin, by art connoisseur and philanthropist, Colonel RH Whitewell in 1902. The gallery’s primary concern is the collection, curatorship South African art. A diverse selection of work including basketry, ceramics, prints, sculpture, painting and beadwork, is exhibited on a rotating basis. International, as well as national exhibitions of a high standard form part of the gallery’s temporary exhibition programme. The closest available parking is located across the street from the Cultural Block in the Albany Parkade, Albany Grove. Guided tours of the permanent and temporary exhibitions are offered on request and are available in English, Afrikaans and Zulu. Access for wheelchairs is available in Smith Street between the Cultural Block and Auditoruim Block of the City Hall. Please ring the bell to alert the guard. Visitors will be escorted to the main foyer elevator. Films, lectures and guided tours are held in the gallery or the lecture theatre on the first floor (entrance through the Natural Science Museum). Special activities are organized for children and young people, particularly during school holidays. Schools are encouraged to arrange group visits to the gallery. The gallery shop stocks a range of mementos, guide books and postcards and is located at the Information Desk on the second floor. Refreshments are available at the Waterhole, situated in the Natural Science Museum on the first floor. The elegant exhibition rooms within the gallery are available for use, providing an interesting cultural location for events for all kinds. The gallery offers a range of crafts workshops and activities, for both adults and children, as a means of promoting a cross cultural awareness and appreciation of art. Traditional crafts such as beadwork, wire work and basket weaving are offered by the gallery’s education officers, situated in the Educentre, 5th floor, Colonial Tower, West Street (entrance from Mark Lane).

Fitzsimons Snake Park

Lectures and venom milking demonstrations are held at this popular tourist attraction, inhabited by South African and exotic species. The park places a strong emphasis on education and the important role snakes play in their natural environment.

Flea Markets

Saturday s Essenwood Craft Market – Essenwood Road, Farmers Market – Durban Drive in. Seven Days a wekk Farepark Market – West Street, Church Square Market – Opposite city hall. Sundays Amphimarket – North Beach, South Plaza Market. Weekends & Public Holidays Point Waterfront – end of Point Road, The Stables – Jacko Jackson Drive.

Francis Farewell Sqaure

Named after Lt Francis Farewell, founder of the city as a permanent trading post in 1824. The square has several statues and plaques immortalizing events and people in South Africa’s history. The Cenotaph stands behind the Gates of Memory, opened in 1947 by HM King George VI. One corner of the square is popular for the feeding of the hundreds of pigeons which flock there.

Funworld

Durban’s only beachfront amusement park, situated on the Marine Parade opposite the Edward Hotel, offers exciting amusement rides, children’s carrousels, kiddies rides and dodgem cars. Experience the thrill of the Swingboat, the exhilaration of the Hully Gully, or view the majestic beachfront from the Cableway. Kiddies, jump on the Santa Fe Express and travel the wild west. Enjoy all this in the safety of controlled facilities. Birthday parties and school groups are also catered for. Fast food available at Diary Maid Restaurant and the fast food kiosks in the park. With it’s dodgem cars, carousels and hurdy gurdy machines, the park is a firm favourite with the whole family. A ride in a cable car offers a bird’s eye view of the beachfront and pools, fountains and lawns of the Amphitheatre Gardens.

Golden Mile

Flanked by luxury hotels and apartment blocks, the Golden Mile skirts the main beaches and the Indian Ocean. Attractions include an amusement centre, paddling pools, paved walkways, gardens and fountains.

Heritage Market – Old Main Road, Pinetown

Hindu Temples

The Alayam, one of the largest and oldest Hindu temples in South Africa, and the place of worship of the Hindu community, who constitute approximately 75 % of Durban’s Indian populations.

Ice Rink - Sol Harris Cres. A popular meeting place for all age groups. Skates for hire.

Isle of Capri – Pleasure cruises daily

Jameson Park

A must for the rose enthusiast and especially beautiful during the months of September and October. Adjacent to Mitchell Park

Japanese Gardens

An enchanting valley of lakes, cascading waterfalls and rustic bridges, with their weeping willow, and a wealth of birdlife and waterfowl, which love to be fed on bread.

Juma Mosque

A visit to the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere provides insight into the Islamic faith. Daily tours.

Jungle Garden Nursery - Jan Smuts Highway, Sherwood

Killie Campbell Africana Library

Comprises rare books, pictures, maps and anpublished manuscripts from all over the world.

 

KwaZuzulwazi Science Centre

Models of human anatomy, real animal specimens, X Ray and UV light boxes. Microscopes, skulls and teeth of dangerous animals. Fossils, internet and multimedia computers and much much more. Also see Natural Sciences Museum, Kwazulu Natal, Durban, Historical View.

Little Top – South Beach

At the water’s edge during all holiday seasons, the Little Top has a variety of programmes for the visitor including kiddies competitions, talent contests and bathing beauty contests. Deck chairs are available.

Medwood Gardens

When you’ve shopped until you’re ready to drop, a snack, a cup of tea and a swim in the pool at Medwood Gardens will refresh you.

Midmar Public Resort

For yachting, power boat and fishing enthusiasts. Tennis, squash, swimming. Game Park adjacent, conducted tours arranged by Parks Board. Restaurant, camping and caravan sites, bungalows and luxury chalets.

Miniature Railway - Virginia, Durban North

Society of Model Engineers. Open every second Sunday of 1:14, incorporating many of Durban’s best known buildings, as well as the harbour and the airport.

Mitchell Park

Ferndale Road, Morningside, off North Ridge Road. A tree shaded retreat, wide shady lawns and children’s playground. The park houses the municipal aviaries of numerous exotic birds, ducks, peacocks, ostriches, small buck tortoises and even a crocodile. Restaurant facilities in park. An open chess board has been established in the park.

Natal Playhouse

Drama, avant-garde plays, opera, musicals and cabaret are staged in five theatres in this distinctive building. Conducted tours take place once a week.

O’Donnell Gallery

The O’Donnell Gallery exhibits exclusive artworks by prominent South Reflecting the vibrant colours and people of South Africa, his work masterfully captures the spontaneous gestures of people and turns many activities like a walk down the road into a scene of charm and delight. Exhibitions are held monthly, and on occasion the O’Donnell open their home to the public and exhibits their private collection and personal favourites. Also in the gallery you will find works by John’s wife, Leonie, full of warmth, passion and love of people and nature. She also hand paints pottery and fabrics. The gallery also has an exclusive range of furniture and pottery by other leading artists crafters.

 

Phezulu Assagay Safari Park

Just 30 minutes from Durban in the Valley of a Thousand Hills you will discover Phezulu (in Zulu it means ‘high up’). View traditional Zulu Dancing – a real African cultural experience while sitting in Zulu huts. Show times 10:00, 11:30, 13:30 and 15:30. Best curio shop in Durban and surrounds. Authentic carvings, beadwork, clay pottery, basketwork and T shirts. Discover the awesome Nile crocodiles in their breeding ponds. Also a collection of the most poisonous snakes in the world and a large variety of local snakes and lizards. A small animal farm is a treat for the kids while the curio shop is a must for all your mememtos. Relax in the restaurant for a meal with a difference – authentic African cuisine.

Pineville Junction – Cnr Stapleton and Old Main Road, Pinetown

Ricksha Bus

Enjoy Durban’s Golden Mile at your own pace. Hop onto Durban’s Ricksha Busm a topless, double decker bus that is fun, flexible and convenient. The Ricksha bus continually follows the same route, so you may begin your trip at any of the 12 locations along the beachfront and get off at any stop, explore, stay as long as you like, then reboard and it’s on with the trip.

Ricksha Rides – Marine Parade

A unique feature for the thousands of tourists who annually flock to Durban. Pullers in their brightly coloured costumes and magnificent head dress, with spring in their step will take you for a joyride along the beach front in their gaily decorated rickshas.

Rob Roy Hotel – Rob Roy Crescent, Botha’s Hill

Seaworld / Dophinarium

In the heart of Durban’s Golden Mile, the aquarium is linked by an underground tunnel to the dolphinarium where seal and dolphin shows are held daily. Extraordinary creatures can be seen in the foyer displays. Absorb yourself in the ever changing variety of fish in the Reef Tank. Experience chilling close ups at the Shark Tank. Be awed by everybody’s favourite, the ever popular and spectacular dolphin and seal demonstrations. There’s plenty of extras you can experience too, like the Dolphin Birthday Parties (treat your child to an unforgettable birthday experience). Holiday Educational Workshops (the best edu tainment there is), Enviro-Dives in the Reef Tank (perfect diving conditions all year round) and you can even hire our facilities for corporate events, conferences and workshops. For the aquarist, we sell ornamental fish, fish food and fish stock.

Sharks Board

Enjoy a spectacular half hour audio visual presentation, capturing the drama of the ocean and the energy of the NSB staff, as they carry out their daily servicing of the shark nets. Watch a shark dissection and see (and smell) the internal machinery of one of the ocean’s most awesome predators. Visit the display hall and view the large variety of lifelike replicas of sharks, fish and rays. The curio shop is a treasure trove of unusual and stylish gifts.

Sugar Terminals and Mills

Durban harbour’s most prominent feature, the magnificent terminals are capable of storing 520 000 tons of raw sugar. Tours from SA Sugar Association Tour Centre on Maydon Wharf.

Tenpin Bowling – Disc Bowl, 100 Brickhill Road

24 lanes. Air conditioned. Open seven days a week

The Durban African Art Centre

In Guildhall Arcade, features work of the highest standard, including sculptures and beadwork. The profits are used to promote African art.

Tourist Junction

Tourist Junction – Offers visitors and local residents a comprehensive on stop tourist shop. Situated on the first floor of the Station Building, Tourist Junction is home to Tourism Durban’s Visitors Bureau, where one may reserve accommodation countrywide through Book A Bed Ahead; join a walking tour of the city with an experienced, registered tour guide, or collect information and broschures on metropolitan Durban and Kwazulu Natal; the Natal Geminological Laboratory, which specializes in gemstones and unique jewellery; Kwazulu Natal Nature Conservation Service (KZNNCS) (formerly the Natal Parks Board) and South African National Parks information and reservation offices; the Grass Hopper, a budget bus service, Spoornet Mainline Passenger Service for train information and reservations; Timeless Afrika, who are able to provide tourists with information on 90 % of Kwazulu, whether it be for the magic of the mountains, the Battlefields, Water Wonderland, Arts & Crafts, the ‘Big Five’ or the legend of King Shaka and anything in between; African Art Centre, a treasure chest filled with a dazzling collection of traditional beadwork, fine art, ceramics, woodcarvings, textiles and basketware; Matombo Gallery, which offers a fascinating variety of soapstone and other carvings from Zimbabwe; Rental Express, providing car hire at excellent rates; the Baz Bus, hop on hop off, South Africa door to door, a fun way to meet other travelers; Hamba Kahle Tours, who offer visitors hands on experiences of life in Kwazulu Natal and the Investor Resource Centre of the Kwazulu Natal Marketing Initiative.

Tuk Tuks

Mororised, covered tricycles which carry up to six passangers. Ideal for short ‘hops’ between the beachfront and city centre.

Umgeni River Bird Park

The park is on Riverside Road, on the bank of the Umgeni River, from Durban head north towards Umhlanga, and you’ll find the park just ten minutes drive from the city centre. Follow the sighns off the N2 or M4 highways. Spectacular waterfalls and lush vegetation, with birds out on perches, in walk through aviaries and open paddocks, this little jewel is one of the finest bird parks in the world. Come and see gaudy macaws and elegant flamingoes, and see how some of the world’s rarest birds live and breed. A viewing window allows you to follow the activity in the baby room, where plump little chicks are reared by loving foster parents. You’ll see the stately cranes, the comical to

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Directory of accommodation in Durban