Why Durban?

durban beachfront

Durban is blessed with balmy weather all year round, making it a perfect holiday paradise. Durban is a sophisticated cosmopolitan city of over four million people – a city where east meets west – a city beneath which beats the pulse of Africa. Durban is an exciting city in which to play, shop, and experience the nightlife and relax. This idyllic outdoor lifestyle in subtropical paradise offers you that much more – more buzz for your buck…pleasure for your pound…rave for your rupee! The magic of Durban is that you can enjoy both worlds, because here they live side by side, mostly in peaceful co-existence.

We look forward to introducing you to this vast array of thrilling adventures… in this charismatic, multi-faceted and progressive city the Zulu people know as Thekweni.

Facts

  • The port of Durban is the ninth largest harbour in the world and has become Africa’s busiest general cargo port and container terminal in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Durban is the city where Mahatma Gandhi started his political career.
  • Durban has the largest Indian population living outside of India in the world.
  • Durban Botanical Gardens are world famous for the original specimens of Encephalartos woodii, a cycad that is still acknowledged as probably the rarest plant in the world.
  • uShaka Marine world is home to the 5th largest aquarium in the world by volume of water.

History

  • 1497 – On Christmas Day Vasco da Gama first landed here, and named the harbour Rio de Natal, which was later changed to Port Natal. Although the harbour had many pirates, shipwrecked souls and slave traders in the intervening years, no one stayed until
  • 1823 – British colonization began and named the settlement Port Natal. November when a group of British merchants from the Cape went ashore and liked it so much that they return the next year.
  • 1835 – Renamed Durban after Sir Benjamin D’Urban, the then governor of the Cape Colony
  • 1860’s – Indentured labourers from India came to work on the sugar cane fields.

 

Durban Visitors Information

durban harbour

Durban in a NUT–shell

  • Central – City Centre, Marine Parade, Small Craft Harbour, Glenwood, Musgrave, Morningside and Berea
  • NorthDurban North, La Lucia, Umhlanga, MT Edgecombe and Umhlodti
  • South – Bluff, Amanzimtoti, Umkomaas, Aliwal Shoal and Scottburgh
  • West – Westville, Pinetown and Valley of a 1000 Hills, including Kloof, Hillcrest and Botha’s Hill

Tourist Info Offices

  • AirportDurban International Tel: 031 – 408 1000
  • City Centre – Tourist Junction – c/o Pine & Gardiner Street – Tel: 031 – 304 4934
  • North Beach – Golden Mile, Joe Kool’s Tel: 031 – 332 2595
  • uShaka Marine World – Mahatma Gandhi Road – Point Development Tel: 031 – 337 8099

Airport tax

Airport tax is included in the price of an air ticket.

Banks

Banks are open Monday to Friday 09:00 to 15:30, Saturdays 08:30 to 11:00. Automatic Teller machines (ATM) are available in most towns and cities and offer a 24-hour service. Care must be taken when using ATM’s and under no circumstances must any assistance be accepted by anyone hanging around ATM’s.

Climate

Durban enjoys a warm sub-tropical climate and is famed for its mild, sunny winter climate and year-round “fun-in-the-water” weather. Temperatures range from 16°C and 25°C during the winter months of June, July and August. Summer temperatures can reach 32°C with relatively high humidity during the hot season, November – February. Sea temperatures vary from 25 degrees in summer to 18 degrees in winter. The average rainfall for the year is in the order of 900mm. Weather Bureau website www.weathersa.co.za
For daily surf conditions look at Sharesurf or our North Beach Webcam.

Credit cards

Most major credit cards are accepted by most retailers.

Currency

South African currency works on the decimal system with the one Rand equaling 100 cents. Denominations of notes: R200, R100, R50, R20, R10.Denominations of coins R5, R2, R1, 50, 20, 10, 5 cents.

Electricity

The electricity supply is 220/230 volts, AC 50Hz. US made appliances may need a transformer.

Emergency numbers

  • Police – 10111
  • Ambulance – 10177
  • Disaster Management – 031 306 4074
  • Fire & Emergency – 031 361 0000
  • Mountain Rescue – 080 000 5133
  • Sea Rescue – 031 361 8567

Foreign exchange

Traveller’s Cheques and foreign currency notes of all major currencies can be exchanged at any commercial bank. American Express is situated in Musgrave Road close to Musgrave Centre. Thomas Cook offices are situated in Musgrave and Windermere Centers.

Immunisation

No international immunisation is needed when entering South Africa. The area close to Mozambique border – northern Elephant Coast and greater Kruger Park, are subject to malaria. Before entering these areas, persons are advised to consult a doctor or pharmacist to obtain necessary medication.

Language

There are 11 Languages in South Africa. English, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Swazi, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Tsonga, Tswana, and Venda. English is South Africa’s first language and is spoken through-out the country. Most signs are in English.

Medical care

Entabeni Hospital in Ridge Road has a 24-hour emergency centre with doctors on duty at all times.

Population

Approximately 3,5 million people. Durban is said to be one of the fastest growing cities in the world with some 25% of South Africa’s total workforce being employed in the Durban area.

Taxation

Tourist visiting South Africa can have their sales tax paid (VAT) refunded at a port of exit, provided the value of items purchased exceeds R250. Visitors should obtain proof of payments of all items and have goods ready to be shown to Custom officers or VAT refund administrators for inspection as proof of export with tax invoices. Tax invoices to be stamped upon departure. VAT cannot be claimed on restaurant, car hire or other accommodation.

Telecommunications

South Africa has a sophisticated telecommunications network. International dialing and electronic mail facilities are widely available. Phone cards and cellular phones are also on the market and readily available. International dialing codes can be found in South African telephone directories.

Time

South Africa is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), one hour ahead of central European Winter Time, 10 hours behind New Zealand Winter Time, 8 Hours behind Eastern Australian Winter Time.

Trading hours

Normal trading hours 08:30 to 17:00 on weekdays, 08:30 to 13:00 on Saturdays. Many shopping malls and centres have extended trading hours and are open on Sundays.

Consulates

  • Austria (031) 261 6233
  • Belgium (031) 303 2840
  • Canada (031) 303 9695
  • Chile (031) 312 8608
  • China (031) 563 4534
  • Denmark (031) 202 9396
  • Finland (031) 903 6395
  • Germany (031) 266 3920
  • Greece (031) 301 4880/1
  • India (031) 304 7020
  • Italy (031) 368 4388/9
  • Lesotho (031) 307 2323
  • Madagascar (031) 312 9704
  • Mozambique (031) 304 0200
  • Netherlands (031) 266 9291
  • Norway/Sweden (031) 207 6900
  • Pakistan (031) 304 8836
  • Portugal (031) 305 7511
  • Spain (031) 764 2574
  • United Kingdom (031) 202 6823
  • USA (031) 305 7600
  • Uruguay (031) 262 7331

Fun Things To Do In Durban

Adventure

Horseback Adventures

Crashing breakers, golden beaches, the scent of the sea and views to sigh for – a novel way to experience the coast.
Wellesley Equestrian Centre – Tel: 031 – 568 1881
Horseback Beach Adventures – Tel: 084 – 467 0752

Kite surfing

Constant wind, warm water, good clean waves and great weather make Durban an ideal kite surfing destination all year round.
Kitesports, La Mercy Lagoon, M4 N, Tel: 082 – 572 4163 or 078 – 4049961

Skateboarding

Wave House – This park is located at Gateway’s Theatre of Shopping on Umhlanga Ridge, and is one of the best skateboarding venues South Africa has to offer. The park was designed by 10-time world skating champion, Tony Hawk, and consists of a concrete snake-run and kidney bowl, beginners area, rhythm ramp (spine ramp), vert ramp and pro street course, totaling 4000 square meters in total! Helmets are compulsory and are for rent. Tel: 031 – 570 9200

Skate Park – Located on the corner of Old Fort and Marine Parade, on the Durban Beachfront, this skate park is a skateboarding arena located in the Military Museum. There is also a skate shop.
Tel: 031 – 332 7433

Hux Skate Park – The park is situated at the Pavilion Shopping Mall in Durban, and has a street section and a mini ramp. The riding surface is wood. Tel: 031 – 265 1784

White water rafting

White water rafting happens mainly in the rainy seasons, which is summer – November to April.
You must be sure that the guides are experienced – both on and off the water, that the company has the necessary medical insurances and of course that they are delivering what you have been promised.
In KwaZulu-Natal the best rivers for white water rafting are the Tugela (upper Tugela near Weenen), the Buffalo river (accessed from Dundee), and the Umkomaas (near Hela Hela and Bulwer), of which the biggest wild water in South Africa is the Tugela.

Art

Durban offers the visitor a wealth of arts and cultures. Probably no other city in South Africa is as diverse as Durban. The influences of Asian, Zulu, English Colonial and Afrikaans cultures have made the city a treasure house of architectural styles and Durban is considered to have one of the best selection of Art Deco architecture of any city in the world.
Durban boasts some of the finest examples of Art Deco in the world try these for some good samplers, Surrey Mansion (323 Currie Road), Manhattan Court (Broad Street), Hollywood Court (Smith Street) and Enterprise Building (47 Aliwal Street).

African Art Centre

This art gallery promotes and sells original works of arts, sculpture, beadwork, tapestries, rugs, ceramics and carving from the Zulu and Xhosa tradition.
94 Florida Road, Morningside. MO to FR 08H30–17H00 SA 09h00–13H00 Tel: 031 – 312 3804

Artisan Gallery

This contemporary gallery features South African art and crafts.
344 Florida Road, Morningside. MO to FR 08H30–17H00 SA 09h00–13H00 Tel: 031 – 312 4364

Artspace Durban

ArtSpace offers a contemporary visual arts gallery adjacent to and in collaboration with dedicated artist studio spaces.
3 Millar Road, Off Umgeni Road, Stamford Hill. MO to FR 10H30–16H00 SA 10h00–13H00 Tel: 031 – 312 4364

Durban Art Gallery

The Durban Art Gallery has an established local and international collection that includes art from the “old” South Africa and a growing permanent collection of new and established South African artists from all the communities, focusing on local, KwaZulu-Natal artists.
2nd Floor Smith Street, City Hall, City Centre. MO to SA 08H30–16H00 SU 11H00–16H00 Tel: 031 – 311 2264

KZNSA Gallery

Bring your family along to enjoy time out of the bustle of the city, and sample the rich diversity of KwaZulu-Natal art and craft. The gallery is a lively social hub for artists and art lovers. The Arts Café serves scrumptious meals with an adjoining children playground.
166-174 Bulwer Road, Glenwood. TU to FR 09H00-17H00 SA 09H00-16H00 SU 10H00 to 15H00 Tel: 031 – 202 3686

Diving

The diving in Durban Bay is mostly centered on the two major reefs.

  • No. 1 Reef, otherwise known as Outer Anghorage
  • Blood Reef a rather macabre name which dates back to the days of commercial whaling.

durban divingThe best time to dive is in May, June and July when the rivers are low. A light south-westerly wind usually cleans the water, while the north-easterlies churn up the sea and make it unsafe for diving. The visibility is usually less then 10m, but can range from zero to as much as 30-40m when the warm, clean water of the Mozambique Current flows in close to the shore.

Durban‘s scuba diving and snorkeling sites:

  • Outer Anchorage (No.1 Reef) In a direct line due east of the Anchorage Beacon
  • Dolphin Reef Umhlanga Rocks. Approximately 300m off Umdhloti tidal pool.
  • Cooperlight wreck South-East of the Cooper Lighthouse between Brighton Beach and the Umlaas Cutting.
  • Limestone Reef Approximately 400m swim in a North-Easterly Direction from Vetch’s
  • Pier, parallel to the coastline.
  • Ovington Court (1940) wreck In front of Addington Hospital, approximately 50m offshore.
  • The Pinnacles (Durban) Located on Blood Reef, off the Bluff
  • Lighthouse Reef 200m offshore, just south of the Umhlanga Rocks lighthouse.
  • La Mercy Snorkeling – About 200-300m south of the Sea Belle Restaurant and approximately 600m offshore.
  • The Trawler wreck Some 2km offshore and 500m South of Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse.
  • Faultline (Deep Blood) Opposite the water tower to the South of Blood Reef.
  • Vetch’s Pier Snorkelling. Located 800m North of the harbour entrance.
  • T-Barge – Wreck Umhlanga Rocks. Approximately 3km off Virginia Beach.

Umkomaas is worth an extra mention because 5km offshore lies the internationally renowned scuba-diving combination of Aliwal Shoal and the Nebo – a steamer that sank in 1884.
Aliwal Shoal is rated by Jacques-Yves Cousteau as one of the TOP 10 dive sites in the world

Entertainment

Durban after dark is a buzz with elegant lounges, funky taverns and cosy inns…distinctive local theatre and live music…trendy clubs, pubs and discos. Rave ’till dawn and catch sunrise over the vast Indian Ocean horizon – this is nightlife in a modern, authentic African metropolis! Florida Road is an exiting blend of old world charm and stylish hotspots, with some of Durban’s best restaurants and hottest bars along this beautiful tree-lined street.

Fishing

The annual migration of vast shoals of sardines [pilchards] up the KwaZulu-Natal coast heralds the beginning of another fishing year. It is the sardine run, a fantastic, annual phenomenon that occurs during June / July every year and the game fish that follow it, that attracts many a person to take up rod and reel and “go fishing”. The Elf (Bluefish in the United States) then makes an appearance, and being the voracious feeders that they are, they fall easy prey to the countless anglers who pursue them until the 31st of August each year. Surf and estuary fishing is about as old as the Port of Natal, Durban. Today offshore angling is practiced extensively from this section of the South African seaboard. From nearly every rocky promontory that affords some protection from the relentless surf line, a ski-boat club has been formed. During the summer months, the warm Mozambique current makes its way close to shore and brings with it a fair concentration of a wide variety of pelagic game fish including King Mackerel, Tuna, Bonito and Dorado, with a fair number of Sailfish and Black, Blue and Striped Marlin also being caught each year. Reef fishing for species such as Black and Red Steenbras, Kob, Yellowtail and Rockcod is a winter sport, when the colder green water pushes in from the south.

Food, glorious food

South African cuisine is world-renowned for its unusual variety, derived from the culinary traditions of its diverse population. Here in Durban we have three main influences – African, Indian and Western.

On the Indian side, Durban is the home of the Bunny Chow – the half-loaf of bread, filled with some kind of tasty Durban curry. Bunnies as they are known are available at most take away shops and are the staple food of students and surfers as they are cheap, nutritious and filling – and very tasty. The Bunny is one of the tastier leftovers from the apartheid days. In those days people of colour were not allowed to be seated in restaurants, but could be served take-aways through a small window in the back of the restaurant.durban-food

This was before the days of disposable containers so an innovative Durban restaurateur came up with the idea of combining the meal and container – he scooped the inside out of a loaf of bread, filled it with curry, used the scooped out bread as a lid and viola – the bunny chow. Depending how hungry you are, Bunnies come in halves, and quarters as well with a variety of fillings.
Rotis are another Indian take-away that Durbanites delight in. A Roti is a flat, round pancake type of bread that is filled with a curry of your choice and rolled up. Because eThekwini has the largest Indian population outside India, there are many fine Indian restaurants in town.

The Hare Krishna Temple in Chatsworth has a restaurant, Govindas, is open daily where you can enjoy pure vegetarian food, prepared according to their very strict standards. Tel: 031 – 403 3328.
For a panoramic view of Durban and mouth watering food visit the Roma Revolving Restaurant, John Ross House, Victoria Embankment, CBD Tel: 031 – 337 6707

Glossary of Foods

  • Amadumbe: Tubers boiled and peeled.
  • Amasi: Sour-milk often mixed with hard maize porridge.
  • Beans: Cooked as part of a stew, boiled on their own, mixed with puthu into a thick mush.
  • Breyani: A blend of spicy curry, cloves, ginger and rice soaked overnight in yoghurt, speciality on offer in many Indian households and restaurants.
  • Bunny-chow: There is no Durban without bunny-chows. Using half a loaf of white bread, with the hard end as a base scoop out the middle, pack full with curry and sambals and replace the inside as a lid. An authentic Durban phenomenon.
  • Cane Rat: A delicacy enjoyed by rural folk.
  • Chicken Feet: Some people might sneer at our chicken feet, but township folk salivate at the mere mention of this snack called ‘walkie talkie’.
  • Chillies: Hot chili is the stuff eaten by any self-respecting Durbanite, goes with salad and chutneys.
  • Curries: Thanks to the Durbanites of Indian extraction, the majority of meals served in Durban households are curries.
  • Dhania: Fresh green coriander leaves used to flavour curries.
  • Fish: The turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean teem with a variety of fish ranging from shad to bass. The annual sardine-run in May has Durbanites taking full advantage of the harvest.
  • Fruit: Subtropical Durban, the ‘Banana City’ with fruits such as bananas, mangoes, paw paws, litchis, pineapples and coconuts.
  • Pap and vleis: Durbanites enjoy their braai (barbeque). In the townships and at taxi ranks there are shisanyama outlets where you can buy a piece of meat and braai it on the fire.
  • Pan: Leaf of the betel tree, wrapped around lime and creca-nut parings, is chewed as a palate cleanser after a meal.
  • Roti: A pancake made of flour, and filled with curry.
  • Sambals: Fresh, chopped onion, tomato, chilies and sometimes coriander. Served as a side dish with curry.
  • Samoosa: A three-sided deep fried triangle with spicy curry fillings.
  • Sorghum: Granules are ground into a fine mixture for breakfast cereal.
  • Sugar: The ‘white gold’ for Durban. Freshly squeezed cane juice is another favourite.
  • Uputhu: or Putu is a dry maize porridge enjoyed with a variety of stew dishes or roasted meats.
  • Vegetables: Colourful varieties grow in abundance, including juicy pumpkins, potatoes, amadumbe, cabbages, carrots , beetroot, mielies (corn) and sweet potatoes.

Golf courses

While estate golf inland features high on the list of courses that abound, you can also tee off alongside the ocean or pause on the green as the field thunders by on race day.

Beachwood Golf Course in Durban North is one of the finest links courses in the country.

Durban Country Club – opened in 1922 and has hosted more South African Open Championships than any other golf course. The Complete Golfer has rated the course one of the best in South Africa. The course has holes with either tee or green (and sometimes both) set atop the large sand dunes, and also holes on the flatland where trees shape the fairways. It was once referred to as being unique “a links course with trees.” Tel: 031 – 313 1777

Kloof Country Club – situated in the verdant hills of the mist belt of Kloof, west of Durban, Kloof Country Club Golf Course is regarded as one of KZN’s. Each of the 18 holes has a unique character of its own and integrates the natural beauty of the area with some challenging hazards. All of the greens are constructed to U.S.G.A. standards and are seeded to Penncross bent grass which does well in the cool Mist Belt climate. The club also boasts a well equipped Pro-Shop. An indigenous tree planting programme has made the club grounds a haven for bird-watchers. Tel: 031 – 764 0555

Royal Durban – Situated in the Greyville Race Course. Tel: 031 – 309 1373

Windsor Park Golf Course is just on the other side of the Umgeni. Tel: 031 – 312 2245

Marinas

The sea plays an important part in this region, with three marinas for yachting purposes – the main marina opposite the Esplanade, served by the Point Yacht Club and Royal Natal Yacht Club, the Wilson’s Wharf marina used predominantly by motor craft and the Bluff Yacht Club facility in the Silt Canal near Bayhead.

Museums & Monuments

Campbell Collection

Housed in “Muckleneuk” which is situated high on the Berea overlooking the city and Indian Ocean. An internationally acclaimed collection of rare archival material comprising the Killie Campbell African Library, Mashu Museum of Ethnology, William Campbell Furniture and Picture Collection and Jo Thorpe Collection of African Art.
C/O Marriot and Essenwood Road By Appointment Only. Tel: 031 – 207 3432

Kwamuhle Museum

The museum provides a vital link with the city’s apartheid past. Inside the building are a number of powerful displays, which provide a fascinating insight into the life of South Africa‘s then “second class citizens”. Of special interest is a permanent exhibition on the history of Cato Manor, the informal settlement behind the Berea. The Zulu treasures and artifacts on display portray the indomitable spirit and resilience of the African heritage, which has survived a turbulent history.
130 Ordnance Road, Durban Central. MO to SA: 08H30 to 16H00 SU: 11H00 to 16H00. TEL: 031 – 311 2213

Mahatma Gandhi Bust

The statue serves to commemorate the time Gandhi purchased a first class train ticket to Johannesburg in June, 1893. On the way to Pietermaritzburg, someone on the train complained that there was a non-white in the first- class section and Gandhi was forcibly removed at Pietermaritzburg
160 Pine Street, Tourist Junction Building, Old Train Station, City Centre

Maritime Museum

The museum deals exclusively with the city’s seafaring tradition, from nautical equipment, memorabilia and
photographs to the ships themselves – pilot boats, tugboats and minesweepers.
Entrance via Small Craft Harbour, Victoria Embankment. MO to SA: 08H30 to 15H45 SU: 11H00 to 15H45. Tel: 031 – 311 2230

Natural Science Museum durban museum

From dinosaurs to fossils and prehistoric man are on display for the young and old. The Natural Science Museum houses a unique range of stuffed animals, birds, reptiles and insects, as well as a dodo skeleton and South Africa‘s only ancient Egyptian mummy.
First Floor, City Hall, Smith Street, City Centre. MO to SA: 08H30 to 16H00 SU: 11H00 to 16H00. Tel: 031 – 311 2256

Old Court House Museum

The museum portrays the rich history of early Durban and KwaZulu-Natal through fascinating replicas of contemporary, colonial and pre-colonial exhibits. This is Durban’s CBD oldest public building.
77 Aliwal Street, Durban – behind the City Hall. MO to SA: 08H30 to 16H00 SU: 11H00 to 16H00. Tel: 031 – 311 2225

Old Fort & Warrior Gate

The original ammunitions magazine has been transformed into a chapel. Include Warriors’ Gate and Moth Museum of Militaria which includes a collection of battlefield relics, medals, badges and other militaria.
1 NMR Avenue, Old Fort Road, City Centre. TU to SU: 11H00 to 15h00 SA: 10H00 to 12H00. Tel: 031 – 307 3337

Phansi Museum

This unique private collection of southern Africa tribal artefacts is housed in Roberts House, an early Victorian home and historical monument.
c/o Cedar & Frere Road, Glenwood. Viewing by appointment only. Tel: 031 – 206 2889

Victoria Embankment

  • Dick King Statue – In 1842 Dick King rode 600 miles in ten days, to get reinforcements in the Cape after the Voortrekkers besieged Durban
  • John Ross Statue – In honour of sailor John Ross who walked 600 miles to Delagoa Bay, to get medical supplies for his compatriots in distress in Port Natal.
  • Vasco Da Gama Fountain and Clock – Erected in 1897 in commemoration of the Portuguese discoverer Vasco Da Gama, who landed at this spot on Christmas Day four centuries ago.

Places to visit

Botanical Gardens

If it is peace and sheer beauty you are after, make for Durban’s Botanical Gardens. Majestic palm trees, beautifully laid out parks and herb gardens galore. A large variety of bird species frequent the gardens. Have a picnic, watch the birds and just lie back and relax.
The orchid house is best during the spring months and is open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm. The charity tea garden offers teas and light refreshments from 9H30 to 16H15. Guided tours are offered every month and must be booked in advance. There is also a herb garden and a garden for the blind. Ask about their ‘Music by the Lake’ evenings – wonderful music played by KZN’s Philharmonic Orchestra in wonder surrounds.
Entrance off Sydenham Road opposite Greyville Race Coarse. Open daily from 07H30 to 17h00. Entrance FREE. Tel: 031 – 201 1303 or 309 1170

Casinos

  • Sibaya Casino, M4 North of Umhlanga. Tel: 031 – 580 5000
  • Suncoast Casino, Suncoast Boulevard, Golden Mile. Tel: 031 – 328 3000

City Hall

This very prominent building was inspired by the City Hall of Belfast, Northern Ireland and replicated it. It is a notable example of Edwardian neo-Baroque architecture, built in 1910. The building is richly embellished with groups of allegorical sculptures representing the Arts, Music, Literature, Commerce and Industry. Sculptures on the main pediment represent Britannia and Unity and Patriotism. The building was established in 1910 and houses the Durban Museum, Art Gallery, Library and Municipal Offices.
City Hall, West Street, Centre. Tel: 031 – 311 1111

Jummah Mosque

Situated in the most vibrating region to the west of city centre. It is held by many to be the largest and most beautiful mosque in the southern hemisphere. Mosque’s are known to have distinctive architecture and this Mosque does definitely not fall short. It is definitely a cultural highlight and is the oldest in the country, dating back to 1880 and holds about 6000 worshippers.
c/o Grey & Queen Street, City Centre. Entrance is on Queen Street. Tel: 031 – 306 0026

Mini Town

Meticulous scale models of Durban’s best known buildings as well as a working train, harbor and airport complete the city’s miniature replica.
114 Snell Parade, Beachfront. Tel: 031 – 337 7892

Mitchell Park & Zoo

With several well stocked aviaries and zoo, Mitchell Park is well known for its colourful and artistic display of flowers, shrubs and trees. Tea Garden and children’s playground.
Innes Road, Morningside, Top end of Florida Road. Open every day. Tel: 031 – 312 2318 or 303 2275

Riksha Rides

A ride along the beachfront in one of these rainbow-coloured, two-seaters, pulled by a man in a beaded costume with a massive horned headdress, is considered compulsory for visitors o Durban!!
Marine Parade, Golden Mile, Beachfront.

Sharks Board

The KwaZulu- Natal Sharks Board services a combination of shark nets and recently-deployed drumlines, spread at intervals along 320 km of coastline in KwaZulu-Natal, thereby providing protection against shark attack at 38 localities. It employs about 170 staff members, most of who put to sea on 15 boats to service the equipment. The other members of staff are engaged in research, administration, public relations, store-keeping and maintenance.
Public shows for members of the public at their complex in Umhlanga Rocks where they can view a 25 minute audio-visual presentation on the day to day work done by the Sharks Board. This is followed by a 20 minute dissection at the following times: TU: 09H00 & 14H00 WE: 09H00 & 14H00 TH: 09H00 & 14H00 SU: 14H00
1a Herrwood Drive, Umhlanga, 15 km north of Durban. MO to FR 08H00 to 16H00. Tel: 031 – 566-0400

Boat trips

Experience and enjoy the sights of Durban as you travel through the harbour and out to sea into the rising sun. These trips are run seven days a week, and on weekdays one can see the shark nets being serviced along Durban’s “Golden Mile”. Sharks are not often found in the nets but there will be an opportunity to see and learn about the dolphins, seabirds and fish life that abound in our coastal waters. The boat is licensed for 12 passengers but a minimum of six passengers are required. Boat trip leaves at 06H30 Meeting time 06H20
Whilson’s Wharf, Victoria Embankment. Tel: 082 – 403 9206

Sugar Terminal

Among the largest in the world, the vast sugar terminals are able to store more than half a million tons of raw sugar. Fascinating tours are available.
Maydon Wharf, off Victoria Embankment. West side of Harbour. Tel: 031 – 365 8100

Spas

Umgeni River Bird Park

Offers walkways and hides for close-up views of colourful birds from around the world. Many rare and endangered species are bread at the park. Young chicks are fed hourly around the clock by dedicated staff, and you can watch this through a viewing window. The most special feature of the park is the show – where visitors are inspired “think conservation” a free-flight show is presented.
Riverside Road, Northern bank Umgeni River
Daily: 09H00 to 17H00 Flight Shows @ 11H00 and 14H00. Tel: 031 – 579 4600

uShaka Marine World ushaka

The re-creation of a wreck of a 1940’s cargo ship, with the 5th largest aquarium in the world and water slides amusement park, uShaka is a complete ‘Theme park’. The park is tastefully themed with a focus on family entertainment. Tel: 031 – 328 8000

  • Village Walk – the retail food and beverage outlets and information centre.
  • Sea World – a salt water aquarium with indoor and outdoor displays, a dolphin stadium, the seal stadium and a penguin rookery. In addition, Sea World offers edutainment and special interactive activities such as, Snorkel Lagoon, Rocky Touch Pool and Dangers of the Deep.
  • The Phantom Ship Restaurants
  • The Upper Deck – Located at the bow is suited for the whole family. Tel: 031 – 328 8068
  • Cargo Hold – Dine amongst the sharks in this up market restaurant.
  • uShaka Beach – Bell’s Beach, adjacent to uShaka Marine World, has been set aside for adventure seekers and offers perfect all-year non-stop fun. Activities include windsurfing, beach volleyball and beach rugby, surfing, kite surfing, paddle boat rides and dolphin viewing charters.
  • Wet ‘n Wild – A fresh water entertainment wonderland that features separate swimming pools for kids and adults, relaxing river rides and high speed chutes for the adrenaline junkies. For the more adventurous we offer the highest slide in Africa which is 72m long, six storey high and at a 30 degree inclination.
  • Special Tours – Be fascinated by a behind- the- scenes tour into the functioning of the park.

Point Development, Durban Beach Front
www.ushakamarineworld.co.za. Tel: 031-337-8099

Victoria Street Market

For a taste of the exotic east, make your way to Durban’s original Indian Market, where over 170 stalls offer impressive African arts & crafts, brassware, spices, fruit, fish and lots more. The nearby Grey Street and surrounding areas is another legendary source of fabrics, clothes and jewellery, at bargain prices and all.
Between Queen and Victoria Street, off Grey Street.

Further afield

Hare Krishna Temple of Understanding

Designed in the shape of a lotus flower, the temple is an opulently decorated architectural masterpiece and an African landmark. Guided tours are given of the ornate marble temple room and inner sanctuary along with an audio visual show. There is an excellent vegetarian restaurant.
Chatsworth, N2 south Direction Airport the Higginson Highway. Tel: 031 – 403 3328

Krantzkloof Nature Reserve

It is the spectacular meeting place of two river gorges, the Molweni and Nqutu. Zebra, different species of buck, monkey and over 200 species of birdlife awaits you. Plenty of nature walks.
152 Kloof Falls Road, Kloof – 26 km inland from Durban.
Turn off the R613 at Kloof Station turn-off, cross the railway bridge, turn immediately left, turn left again at the t-junction, then right into Kloof Falls Road and continue until after the Emolweni river is crossed. Tel: 031 – 764 3515

Marianhill Monastery

Established in 1882 as a Catholic Mission. Famed for its fresh organic produce, including milk, cheese and yoghurt, the monastery also has an outdoor tea garden.
N3 west pass Pinetown, Marianhill turnoff. Tel: 031 – 700 4288

Palmiet Nature Reserve

Situated in the Palmiet River Valley around rugged krantzes. The reserve covers a wide range of vegetation from riverine forest to grassland on the upper slopes. There is abundant birdlife.
From Durban on the M13, take the Rockdale-Jan Hofmeyr Road turn-off, go left over the bridge, continuing along Jan Hofmeyr Road for about 1,5 km. Just before the Westville hotel turn right into David McClean drive. The reserve entrance is at the bottom of this road on the right. Tel: 031 – 203 7065

Stainbank Nature Reserve

Situated in Yellowwood Park. Zebras, monkeys, buck, bush-babies and birdlife are abundant. Choose from short 20 minute walks to long 3 hour trails.
Kenyon Howden Road, Yellowwood Park – 14 km south from the city centre. Tel: 031 – 469 2807

Shopping

gateway shopping center durbanShopping in Durban can be very first world or totally third world. It’s your choice. You can linger in luxury malls and trendy antique shops or you can buy from street vendors and spaza shops where they may or may not bargain with you.

For mall rats

Markets

  • There are a number of flea markets, especially over weekends where you can get original and second hand clothing, crafts and gifts. Some markets stock pirated CD’s and DVDS and other branded goods, so watch out for the cops. Street traders across the city offer flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, clothing and shoes at knock down prices.
  • The centrally located Victoria Street Market in Durban (off Grey Street) is a bustling modern version of the original Indian market, which burned down decades ago. Bargain for brassware, African baskets and carved ivory. Incense mingles with curries, spices and the exotic odours of the fish market next door and leads you past colourful saris and a vast array of nick knacks.
    Visit the Warwick Triangle adjoining the Victoria Street Market for a totally different shopping experience. Leave this world behind and emerge in an ancient world of magic and sprits. This is the site of the muthi market where traditional healers sell pungent mixtures of indigenous herbs, plants, bark, snake skins, bird wings, crocodile teeth, dolphin skulls and monkey paws. Do not go alone. Enter only with a guide.
  • Many people sell roasted mealies (corn on the cob) on the corners of the streets in town. Apart from being roasted it can be boiled too. The street vendors charge about R 1.50 to R2.00 per cob.
    Township people mostly shop in the city at supermarkets or on their way home from work. Unlike suburban people who are able to shop in bulk because most get paid monthly and have their own transport, most township people commute by public transport, so they buy only what they can carry. Prices are marked up in the townships and informal settlements where people can buy in small quantities and consumers often pay greatly inflated prices for the convenience of buying from spaza shops or pavement dealers close to home who sell single cigarettes or sugar by the cup or paraffin or even water and airtime cards.

Antiques & collectables

  • Antiques & Bygones – 437 Windermere Road, Morningside Tel: 031 – 303 8880
  • Old Vicarage Antiques – 16 Windermere Road, Morningside Tel: 031 – 309 2796
  • Eclectic – 155 Gordan Road, Tel: 031 – 303 2218

Surfer’s dream

Life’s a Beach! For daily surf conditions look at Sharesurf or our North Beach Webcam.

The Golden Mile – Marine Parade

The clean golden sandy beaches and warm Indian Ocean is still popularly used by locals from all walks of life. Protected year round by shark nets and expert lifeguards, our sea has rhythm…and invites you to leap and frolic in waves perfect for surfing and body-boarding. surfing durban

Durban’s North Beach

Designated areas keep bathers and surfers safe distance apart, so there’s no chance of being speared by an errant piece of sporting equipment! If you’re new to surfing sheltered Addington Beach has ideally-small waves for learning the ‘three- dimensional dance with nature’s energy’. For the kite-surf enthusiasts try Country Club Beach as this is where beginners can learn and the pro’s can “take-off”. Durban’s own ‘hang-ten’ history is displayed with devotion at the Timewarp Surfing Museum.
Further added dimensions to the beachfront’s surf, sand and sun are daily dolphin shows and fascinating marine life at uShaka Marine World and scaled-down perspective of Mini Town. Salt-water paddling ponds and olympic-size swimming pool ensure we cater for water-babies of all ages. For a low-flying bird’s-eye view, survey the scene from our cable-car route…or stroll the long, water’s-edge promenade for a more orthodox panorama.

Theatres

Catalina

Nautically themed theatre at Whilson’s Wharf. Comedy, Musical theatre and local and international musicians can be seen here. There is children’s theatre during school holidays.
Whilson’s Wharf, Small Craft Harbour, Victoria Embankment. Tel: 031 – 305 6889

Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre

Founded in the 1980’s as an experimental theatre for the University of Natal’s drama students. Performances range from rock n roll dance shows and dramas with three international festivals held here annually.
University of Natal, South Ridge Road. Tel: 031 – 2602296

IMAX Theatre

An enormous five story high screen with an image of unsurpassed clarity and impact.
Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Umhlanga. Tel: 031 – 566 1890

The Playhouse

Durban’s main theatre caters for everyone. The Playhouse Company is one of South Africa‘s premier theatre
organisations hosting various festivals throughout the year. Downstairs is the Zulu Jazz Lounge.
231 Smith Street, Centre –opposite City Hall. Tel: 031 – 369 9555

Supper clubs

Top rated musical theatre and comedy shows.
Barnyard, Gateway Mall, Umhlanga. Tel: 031 – 566 3045
Boho, c/o Florida & Windermere Roads, Morningside. Tel: 083 – 915 8000
Dockyard, Musgrave Centre, Musgrave Road. Tel: 031 – 201 9147

Transport

rikshaw durbanThe Central Business District, a hive of activity, is within easy reach of the beachfront and residential areas of Berea, Morningside and Glenwood. There is a frequent and reliable local bus service, called the Mynah Bus running through central Durban, the beachfront and surrounding suburbs. There is an extensive road network leading to and from any destination in South Africa. Durban International Airport, http://www.airports.co.za is only a 15 minute drive from the City and is serviced daily by domestic flights, as well as international flights.

Airlines

Bus companies

Intercity coaches (Greyhound, Translux, InterCape and Luxliners) all run multiple daily departures from Durban to all major destinations through-out southern-Africa. Tickets and schedules can be booked on www.computicket.com
Baz Bus runs a hop-on hop-off schedule – www.bazbus.com

People mover

This is one of the best ways for visitors and locals to get around Durban. The bus is spacious, air-conditioned and is wheelchair and pram friendly. Buses arrive every 15 minutes between 06H30 and 23H00 daily. Links the beachfront with the CBD as far as Victoria Street Market. Routes run from the West Street Interchange to the Suncoast Casino in the north and uShaka Marine World in the south. Tel: 031 – 309 5942

Car hire

Around About Cars run a country-wide booking network – www.aroundaboutcars.com

Taxis

Zippy Cabs. Tel: 031 – 202 7067

Distances from Durban

CITY DISTANCE KM TIME ROAD TIME AIR
Bloemfontein 650 km 07 hours 1h10
Cape Town 1750 km 20 hours 1h50
East London 680 km 07 hours
George 1320 km 13 hours 1h30
Johannesburg 580 km 6 hours 1h00
Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park 300 km 3 hours
Kruger Park -Skukuza 800 km 9 hours
Ladysmith 250 km 2H30min
Maputo – Mozambique 620 km 7 hours
Margate 200 km 2 hours
Maseru – Lesotho 600 km 7 hours
Mbabane – Swaziland 570 km 6 hours
Mthatha 450 km 5 hours
Nelspruit 710 km 8 hours
Pietermaritzburg 80 km 1 hour
Port Elizabeth 990 km 10 hours 1h10
Pretoria 640 km 6H30min
Richards Bay 200 km 2 hours
St.Lucia 250 km 3 hours
Ulundi 240 km 3 hours

Taxi Hand Signals

Taxis, not to be confused with the little yellow cars or sedans with drivers and meters that tick over, are mini busses and they have become the cheapest, easiest and also the most complex way of getting around Durban.

Taxis stop wherever they like although they often run along an informal route. One word of warning about taxis- they are not for the squeamish – the drivers are always in a hurry and the decibels are usually very high. Many taxis spend more money on their sound system than the value of a small car, so if you have sensitive ears, wear earplugs. You do not need to tell the driver assistant (the small-ish guy who operates the door and takes the bucks) in a taxi where you are headed. One assumes that if you jump into the taxi you would know where you are going because of the hand signs that you made to get the vehicle to stop for you.

Over the past years, a set of hand signals have been developed to signify some of the better used destinations like town centre and The Wheel. The Town sign, this is simply the lifting of the index finger in the air. Then we have the Wheel, South Beach and Point sign which, is the index finger making a circular motion. All these signs will get you from a residential area to the CBD but they become more complicated when you need to get from the CBD to a residential area.

 

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