South Africa’s cosmopolitan port city is a tropical paradise with an abundance of things to do. There are beaches, parks and museums – and the famous uMhlanga Rocks!
The N3 Western Freeway runs through the central business district to the west under Tollgate Bridge and on to Sherwood and Mayville. The EB Cloete Interchange is an important transfer point between the freeway and the N2 Outer Ring Road.
Durban is the gateway to KwaZulu-Natal’s beaches and game parks. It’s also a hub for culture and business, with high-rise buildings and colonial-era landmarks such as the neo-baroque City Hall and Port Natal Maritime Museum. The Victoria Street Market sells Afro-Indian textiles and the Durban Art Gallery exhibits both European and indigenous works.
The city centre is home to the Kingsmead cricket ground (host of several Test matches and one-day internationals) and the 54,000-capacity HollywoodbetsKings Park Stadium, known as the Shark Tank, where the Cell C Sharks play their domestic and Heineken Champions Cup rugby union games.
Visitors can explore the area by bus or taxi. Metered taxis are cheaper and more reliable than minibus taxis that may only have a handful of seats. A fun alternative is to ride a rickshaw decorated with traditional Zulu elements, which is pushed by a costumed driver and a popular option for tourists.
Almost untouched stretches of bright white sand lapped (sometimes pounded) by warm Indian Ocean waters are what makes Durban beaches so distinctive. From the sheltered beachfront at uShaka Marine World on the southern tip of Durban’s bay to the bustling North Beach, the city’s coastline is peppered with swimming beaches and promenades filled with joggers and families.
More remote beaches like Tiger Rocks Beach in Isipingo offer grand seclusion. The rocky beach boasts multiple tidal pools teeming with exotic South African marine life and attracts a flock of fishermen during the winter sardine run.
From artisan crafts to glossy malls, Durban is packed with bargain-hunting opportunities. The Victoria Street market, with its heady mix of bric-a-brac and fragrant spices, is an absolute must, while the old Oriental bazaar now sells trendy surfing-related merchandise.
For a more streamlined shopping experience, visit the Musgrave Centre in Durbans Berea suburb. Here, long standing local department stores like Woolworths and Pick n Pay make for solid anchors alongside more boutique shops, while stationery shops, booksellers, restaurants and cafes all add to this malls simple, easy-going charm.
Alternatively, the Gateway Theatre of Shopping is touted as Africas largest mall, with a gastronomical selection to match its size. Theres also Fields in Kloof, Southway Mall and the Pavilion Mall for a wider choice of retail outlets.
Food & Drink
With a reputation for incredibly sweet desserts, it’s worth trying the popular Milk Pie (tart with concentrated milk, vanilla essence and cornflour) or the Malva Pudding (pudding with apricot jam, butter, cold milk, vanilla essence and corn syrup). South African wines are well known internationally while rooibos tea or redbush tea is enjoyed all over Durban.
Beer is widely consumed in Durban and the ‘Brew or Beer Route’ around the city is a great way to try many of the small local breweries. Wine is a good alternative and South Africa produces a very high standard at very reasonable prices compared to other countries in Europe and beyond. The melktert (custard-filled pastry) and biltong are also popular in Durban. Alcohol is served at bottle shops which are the equivalent of British off-licences and bars can open from Monday to Saturday.
In Durban, there are a variety of bars and clubs to visit. Some of the best are found along Florida Road which hosts a range of bars and restaurants.
Other hotspots include the upscale Origin, where you can drink cocktails while listening to top DJs play music. The club also has cosy nooks to sit and chat.
Alternatively you can head to Wonder Lounge on Windemere Street for an all-inclusive nightclub experience. This gentlemen’s club has a professional feel to it and offers bottle service.
There is also the massive underground club, Mondise MVG, which has a Vegas feel to it. Expect to find bikini clad dancers and plenty of VIP treatment. If you prefer a quieter venue, head to Waxy O’Connors Irish Pub where they serve draft beer and traditional Irish food.