Durban’s harbour is the busiest port in South Africa and counted among the busiest in Africa.
Durban is South Africa’s self-styled ‘playground’, where year-round warm weather encourages visitors to make the most of the province’s outdoor lifestyle.
Also known as ‘Surf City’, Durban is renowned for its magnificent bathing and surfing beaches, which stretch along the city’s beachfront from Durban harbour in the south to the upmarket suburb of Umhlanga in the north.
An expansive paved promenade offers access to the best of these beaches – the Golden Mile – where joggers, cyclists, dog owners, surfers, bodyboarders and walkers enjoy early-morning and late-afternoon exercise.
Visitors cannot miss Durban’s striking Moses Mabhida Stadium, host venue to top-notch sporting events, Segway tours, a city-viewing SkyCar and bungee swing.
Closer to the harbour, uShaka Marine World, a world-class water park, aquarium (fish, dolphins, seals, penguins and others) and restaurant complex overlooks the ocean and offers hours of entertainment for the whole family.
Culturally, Durban exhibits a mix of Indian, Zulu and post-colonial influences, reflected in the city’s architecture and cuisine. Curries, seafood and fusion food are popular at beachfront restaurants, Wilson’s Wharf, and at the gourmet hot spots and coffee shops that line Florida Road and Helen Joseph Road.
The art deco-style Suncoast Casino complex, flanking the promenade, houses seafood and curry restaurants, movie theatres, a casino and coffee shops – with secure on-site parking and semi-private beach access.
Shopping is best enjoyed at Durban’s out-of-city malls: the Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Umhlanga; the Pavilion in Westville; and the Galleria in Amanzimtoti. An overwhelming choice of shops in air-conditioned comfort makes spending money a most enjoyable pursuit.
Half an hour inland from the city, the Valley of a Thousand Hills promises a taste of African culture, while further into the countryside the Midlands Meander features about 150 art-and-craft outlets for city-dwellers in search of fresh air and home-made fare.
Adventure activities are well catered for in and around this coastal city, with deep-sea fishing charters, dolphin viewing, jet-skiing, shark cage-diving, quad biking, scuba diving, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, boat cruises and much more readily available.