Durban - Beautiful Beaches and much more!
Durban is much more than beautiful golden beaches and year-round sunshine; in fact like much of South Africa, you have to scratch the surface to really discover the heart and soul of the place.
Durban is a modern coastal city with a diverse and rich culture, plenty of shopping, entertainment and facilities for the tourist to explore.
There are plenty of heritage sites in Durban and the Woz’ eNanda Route is well worth exploring; consisting of 5 key cultural highlights:
The Ohlange Institute – this is where Nelson Mandela cast the first vote in the historic election of 1994.
The Phoenix Settlement – where Mahatma Gandhi evolved his ideas on passive resistance.
Inanda Seminary – a renowned school for girls which has a legacy of producing some of the country’s finest black women leaders.
Ekuphakameni & Ebuhleni – these traditional African villages are home to the followers of ‘Shembe’ an African Christian sect set up by Isaiah Shembe in the early 20th century.
Durban also offers a ‘Township Lifestyle’ experience whereby visitors can immerse themselves in the life of the township with its vibrant community and rich heritage, engaging with the locals and even tasting the local food.
Durban is perhaps the most cosmopolitan of South Africa’s cities with influences from Africa, Europe and Asia, ensuring that the experience of visiting Durban will be exciting and vivid.
Ten other great attractions and sites:
Durban Botanical Gardens (Tel: 031 322 4000)
A great free attraction, the Botanic Gardens are situated close to the city centre and easily accessible using the People Mover bus service. The gardens date back to the late 19th century when potentially useful commercial crops were trialled. The gardens evolved over the years with collections of sub-tropical trees, palms and orchids. There are regular events and exhibitions throughout the year – for more information check out the botanical gardens website.
uShaka Marine World (Tel: 031 328 8000)
Located at the end of Durban’s Golden Mile, uShaka Marine World is Africa’s largest Marine Theme Park incorporating Sea World and Wet ‘n Wild with a host of other attractions for children and adults alike. There are a range of tickets available including a combo-ticket which will cost about £12.00 for adults and £8.00 for children – excellent value. For full information checkout the uShaka Marine World site.
Much of the area was redeveloped for the World Cup and the Golden Mile now offers a range of tourist attractions, shopping and entertainment along golden sun soaked beaches.
Valley of 1000 Hills
Head a few miles west of Durban and you will hit the Valley of 1000 hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty with spectacular views and numerous tourist attractions, particularly for the more adventurous. A great way to see the area is to take a journey on the Umgeni Steam Railway which operates on the first and last Sunday of every month.
Mitchell Park and Mini-Zoo (Tel: 031 303 2275)
Located in the Morningside area of Durban, Mitchell Park is another great free attraction with lush lawns winding their way through well-maintained flower beds. There is a small charge for the Mini-Zoo, but with a tea-room and restaurant and plenty of areas for picnics this is an excellent place to spend a lazy afternoon.
Located approximately 15km up the coast from Durban, Umhlanga Rocks is an upmarket resort with plenty of shopping and entertainment and great beaches.
Durban North Japanese Gardens (Tel: 031 311 6976)
Another tranquil (and free) attraction to spend a lazy few hours, the gardens are well-maintained with beautiful water-features and plenty of Japanese flora.
Moses Mabhida Stadium (TEL: 031 582 8222)
This state of the art multi-functional stadium, with its ‘arch of triumph’, is a landmark which reflects the ambitions and dreams of South Africa. Incorporated into the stadium design are several attractions including an Adventure Walk, the Skycar, a Stadium Tour and for thrill seekers the Big Swing (see Big Rush Urban Adrenalin below.
Big Rush Urban Adrenalin (Tel: 031 332 3250) LINK
Providing the ‘ultimate ride of your life’ the Big Rush Big Swing is a must for the adventurous thrill seeker. Jump from a height of 106 metres and swing out in a 200 metre arc under the iconic stadium arch. Cost approximately £50.00.
The Jumma Musjid Mosque (Tel: 031 306 0026 )
The largest Mosque in the Southern Hemisphere, the Jumma Musjid Mosque has become an iconic feature of downtown Durban, especially when the sound of the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer.