Content and photos courtesy of KwaZulu-Natal
- Area: 226 km² (87 sq mi)
- Calling Code: 031
- Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)
- Population (EST): 595,061
- Official language: English, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans
- Time Zone: UTC/GMT +2
10 Reasons to Visit Durban
1. A laid back, yet busy city, Durban (Durb’ to the locals) combines an exciting mix of urban Zulu culture, a sizeable Indian population together with English speaking South Africans. Famous people associated with the city include the Zulu King Shaka, Henry Francis Fyn and the Portuguese sea farer Vasco da Gama. The name Durban was adopted after the Cape Governor, Sir BenjaminD’Urban.
2. Set on Natal Bay, Durban benefits from a year round subtropical climate with summer temperatures (December to February) often exceeding 30C. Winters are mild with low rainfall and rarely below 20C which combined with warm coastal waters makes Durban an inviting place to both work and as a holiday destination.
3. The largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, with a population of over 3million, it is the 2nd most important manufacturing hub. It forms part of the eTheKwini metropolitan municipality. Durban is famous for having the busiest sea port not only of South Africa, but of Africa. A sophisticated and cosmopolitan city for companies to trade with, todays’ economy is diversified and based on foreign trade. It boasts plentiful hotels and service companies. Africa’s largest travel trade show takes place in Durban at the Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, during the month of May.
4. “The friendliest city in South Africa” according to Durban Experience.co.za , it has also been selected as 1 of 34 most sustainable cities among 14 countries. (we love cities.org).
5. The historical town centre is easily explored. Places to visit include the City Hall, dedicated to its founding fathers, and today housing the Concert Hall and Science Museum; the Local History Museum and the Old Fort. Mahatma Gandhi’s civil rights struggle is reputed to have begun when he was working as a barrister in Durban. Various tours enable one to retrace his steps on The Gandhi Trail.
6. A thriving Indian culture is part of the city’s identity and nowhere is this blend of Africa and Indian culture as easy to experience as in the distinctive dish “Bunny Chow” – a hollowed –out loaf of bread filled with delicious Durban Curry – of the original takeaways! Bunny Chow can be found in cheap takeaways throughout the city but particularly in Victoria Market where you can also shop for spices, souvenirs and clothes.
7. Shopping for souvenirs? Why not visit the BAT Centre, a harbour based arts precinct located off Victoria Embankment. On the outskirts of the city several excellent craft centres can be found showcasing the work of local artists and traditional wares such as Zulu beadwork.
8. Durban is famed for its Golden Mile; 6 Kilometres of sandy beaches with evocative names such as Hibiscus and Sugar Coast. A curiosity of the Golden Mile are the’ Zulu Rickshaws’ with their colourfully decorated vehicles. It also hosts national and international surfing competitions.
9. The UShaka Marina World, at the Southern end of the Golden Mile, is home to an impressive collection of aquatic life from Africa’s eastern ocean. It is also houses the Oceanographic Research Institute.
10. No visit to Durban would be complete without experiencing some of the wildlife it has to offer. Tala Private Game Reserve and Hluhluwe Umfolozi (reputedly one of Africas’s oldest game reserves) are but 2 of easy to reach reserves. On the outskirts of the city the Krantz Loof Gorge Nature reserve is famed for its spectacular waterfalls. The nearby ST Lucia Wetlands Park allows one to experience costal wildlife.