Durban KwaZulu Natal | Destinations & Attractions in Durban,KwaZulu Natal: Bustling Durban is the hub of the province's business and industry and pulses with all the energy of a major port city. Luxury hotels abound on Durban's beachfront, and this city is often referred to as South Africa's Miami Beach. Durban is one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the world. Its port is the busiest in South Africa and also one of the 10 largest in the world.
Bustling Durban is the hub of the province's business and industry and pulses with all the energy of a major port city. Luxury hotels abound on Durban's beachfront, and this city is often referred to as South Africa's Miami Beach. Durban is one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the world. Its port is the busiest in South Africa and also one of the 10 largest in the world. Durban is blessed with balmy weather all year round, making it a perfect holiday paradise. The beachfront is bordered by five star hotels and luxury apartments, all of which have an idyllic view of the Indian Ocean.
The Central Business District, a hive of activity, is within easy reach of all hotels and convention venues. If however, you wish to travel further afield, there is a very competent public transport system running throughout Durban, as well as an abundance of taxis. Durban is a major gateway to Africa and is also the largest and busiest port city on the continent. Due to this, there is an extensive road network leading to and from any destination in South Africa. Durban International Airport, is only a 10 minute drive from the City and is serviced daily by domestic flights, as well as international flights. The International Convention Centre, centrally located, is an innovative, world class convention centre which can cater for conferences of up to 5000 people.
Durban is a sporting paradise. The sunny climate combined with a wealth of facilities makes for a year round sporting extravaganza. Watersports such as surfing, body boarding, sailing and scuba diving are obvious favourites given Durban's proximity to the warm Indian Ocean. Rugby, soccer and cricket are also very popular with Durban boasting world class stadia for all major sports.
Durban's beaches are characterised by soft, golden sand, palm trees and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. The main beaches are shark netted and patrolled from sunrise to sunset by trained lifeguards who have an impressive track record in beach safety. The main beaches also have change and shower facilities as well as an array of restaurants and bars. Those who crave seclusion can find many remote beaches along the coast which are not patrolled.
Durban's beaches stretch in a long line from Addington Beach to Country Club Beach. Facilities include changing 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 17º C.
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. Funworld, with its bumper cars, roundabouts and hurdy-gurdy machines, is a firm favourite with the younger set. A ride in a cable car offers a birds-eye view of the beach front and the pools, fountains and lawns of the Amphitheatre Gardens.
Da Gama Clock
A memorial donated by the Portuguese community to commemorate the first sighting of Durban by the famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco de Gama in 1497.
Besides flowering trees and lush tropical vegetation, the gardens are notable for an orchid house, a collection of rare cycads and a special garden for the blind.
Deep sea cruises leave the Sarie Marais Jetty, weather permitting, every day. The operators, Sarie Marais, also charter boats for parties, sundowners and lunches. Isle of Capri operates pleasure cruises daily, weather permitting, from Aliwal Street jetty.
Durban's Grey Street
Grey Street is home to Durban's Indian district and is the best place to enjoy spicy local food. Here, you will find the Juma Musjid Mosque and its gilt-domed minarets, the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere. Wander around the area and the bazaars and buy some of the incredible spices and textiles from local Indian vendors.
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.
uShaka Marine World
At the end of Durban’s Golden Mile is the beginning of a new world of fun, entertainment and excitement. uShaka MARINE WORLD, spanning over 15 hectares of prime beach front, is Africa’s largest Marine Theme Park. uShaka incorporates fresh and sea water, lush vegetation, natural materials and the recreation of a 1920’s cargo ship wreck into a magical world of sea and marine life.
The marine park is tastefully themed with African imagery and exudes an air of fun and excitement. No matter what the occasion, you will always find something to do at uShaka MARINE WORLD, from sizzling entertainment at Sea World, to restaurants offering excellent cuisine to cater for all food passions, an unforgettable shopping experience in uShaka Village Walk retail village, to fun-filled water slides in Wet ‘n Wild or simply a lazy day spent sunbathing on uShaka Beach.
Umgeni River Bird Park
Overlooking the Umgeni River, this park ranks among the world's best. Many varieties of brightly coloured birds, both indigenous and exotic, inhabit walk-in aviaries set in picturesque gardens.
Durban City Hall
Designed in Modern Renaissance style and completed 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. The Natural Science Museum focuses mainly on animals, birds and reptiles. Educational programmes and films are presented from time to time.
KwaZulu Natal's rich history is documented in a number of fascinating museums in and around the city. The development of Durban into the city we know today can be viewed from a number of important perspectives. The history of apartheid is found in the Kwa Muhle museum, seafaring memorabilia can be found in the Maritime museum and the history of Indian indentured labour is shown in photographic and document form in the Durban Cultural and Document Centre.
The remains of a fort where British were besieged by Boer forces in 1842. A war museum is housed in Warrior's Gate. Formerly a powder magazine, the chapel of St. Peter in Chains is a war memorial and a popular venue for weddings.
Things to see and do in Durban
Visitors come to Durban for one reason, but stay for a hundred. Delegates and accompanying persons are spoilt for choice.
In addition to the magical theme evenings arranged for delegates (…a beach party or a banquet in the bush!) tremendous opportunities exist for visitors to explore the city and surrounding areas.
Accompanying persons programmes
Scheduled tours and excursions are arranged in accordance with visitors' interests. These include:
Adventure Sports :
Abseiling, microliting, surfing, mountain climbing, paragliding, scuba-diving, sky-diving, yachting, white water rafting – for beginners and experienced sportsmen alike – are co-ordinated and supervised by professionals.
Natal Sharks Board : The only one of its kind in the world, the Natal Sharks Board researches one of the ocean's most controversial predators. Responsible for monitoring shark activity on our coastline, the Natal Sharks Board is open to the public for audio-visual presentations and shark dissections. The more adventurous wanting first hand experience of their research, can take an early morning boat trip out to sea and may even catch a glimpse of whales and dolphins.
Beaches : Durban's Golden Mile is famous for its sun-drenched beaches which attract millions of holiday makers all year round. Beaches here are endless...the sea temperature warmed by the Agulhas current seldom drops below 20°Celcius (68°F).
Dolphin Coast : Just north of Durban, the Dolphin Coast is home to the friendly bottle-nosed dolphin, whose presence is visible all year round. This area is famous for its golden beaches, sheltered coves and day and night entertainment.
Bird Parks & Bird Sites :
Durban is a bird lovers' paradise. The Umgeni River Bird Park is a world class facility with a free-flight bird show that is unique in Africa. Bird watchers will also enjoy the Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve and the Bluff Nature Reserve, situated just south of the city.
Crocodile & Snake Parks : A number of crocodile parks provide opportunities for safe, close up encounters with these magnificent reptiles and an insight into their habitat and behaviour. The Fitzsimmons Snake Park on the beachfront houses some of South Africa's most dangerous snakes, including green and black mambas, Gaboon adders and puff adders.
Theatre : The Playhouse Entertainment Complex takes centre stage opposite the Durban City Hall in the Central Business District. It has a proud history and an exciting future showcasing dance, opera, drama, music and cabaret. Visitors are encouraged to experience first hand the passion and talent which drives South African theatre.
Supper theatre is very popular and available at numerous venues.
With our tropical climate Durban's parks and gardens display a colourful variety of indigenous and exotic flora and fauna.
Mitchell and Jameson Parks :
At the top of Florida Road with its fine examples of Victorian architecture are Mitchell and Jameson Parks. Apart from beautiful flowers, Mitchell Park features a garden restaurant and children's park, and the city's only zoo. Opposite is Jameson Park with its glorious rose garden.
Japanese Gardens : A peaceful retreat for weary travellers lies just minutes away from the city centre in eight hectares of authentic Japanese Gardens.
Places of Worship : Durban is a colourful weave of cultures and religions. Traditional African beliefs exist alongside Hindu, Muslim and Christian religions. The gilded splendour of the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere - the Grey Street mosque - contrasts with the brick and stone of the nearby Catholic Cathedral.
In Chatsworth, South Africa's busiest Indian residential area, is the Temple of Understanding - South Africa's most spectacular Hindu temple.
The three gold and white domes rising above the dazzling octagonal steel roof depict three distinct moods - traditional, contemporary and futuristic.
Township Tours : Regular township tours around Durban enable visitors to experience how the vast majority of Durban's population lives. Tours cover history, housing, education, health, transport and the formal and informal sectors. Visitors are entertained at Shebeens and taverns and encouraged to get to know the local customs.
Durban's buzz comes from a combination of first world sophistication and Africa's entrepreneurial spirit. Fleamarkets provide the perfect opportunity to discover that unusual gift or special trinket. Many of the goods are hand crafted by local artists.
African crafts, including unique Zulu beadwork, have become world class exports. Buy them at the market on the beachfront or for a wider selection - from African art shops, such as the Bat Centre on Victoria Embankment.
Durban's vibrant Warwick Junction, which includes the largest herb market in the southern hemisphere, offers an authentic encounter with Africa's market traders and traditional healers. The streets and pavements transform themselves into informal shopping malls where bead and basket sellers ply their trade alongside the traditional herbalists, known as ‘inyanga'.
The Victoria Street Market is an Asian emporium offering the largest collection of spices, silks and brassware outside of India.
Shopping : At the other end of the spectrum are the airconditioned malls where quality food and fashion stores are combined with a wide variety of entertainment to provide a world class shopping experience.
The Durban Pavilion and Musgrave Centre are two of Durban's most popular upmarket shopping complexes, while the new Gateway Shopping Centre in Umhlanga, north of Durban, is setting new standards in shopping entertainment. Gateway is 110 000m2 of pure pleasure - from retail stores and restaurants to cinemas, games arcades, an Imax theatre and the centre's Xplore area featuring the world's highest climbing wall, a Waveloch with a 2 metre wave for the brave, and a world class skate park.
Cuisine : The cuisine is as varied as the shopping from fast food outlets and roadside vendors offering everything - including the bunny chow - a half loaf of bread crammed with curry - through sushi bars, pavement cafes, friendly pubs to the traditional South African "braai" or barbeque.
A full spectrum of attractions: hotels, restaurants, shops, cinemas, live entertainment as well as the beach, are just minutes away from ICC Durban - making it the ultimate in conference convenience.