What to do in Durban?
When people think about tourist destinations in South Africa, they generally think about Cape Town or the Kruger National Park. But don’t underestimate what Durban can offer too. Well the rest of the country has its share of cold, gloomy weather, Durban’s warm subtropical climate and long stretches of sandy beaches rarely let its visitors down.
The Golden Mile
The Golden Mile is a long stretch of popular beachfront, running from South beach (where the uShaka Marine World is located) to Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World in the north.
“The Mile” is one of the main tourist attractions in the Durban area, and the ideal place to frolic alongside the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Sunbathing, surfing, scuba diving and swimming are the obvious fun in the sun activities to partake in. But there’s a lot more to do that doesn’t require getting your feet wet. For instance, there are a range of market stores where you can find indigenous art and crafts, a skate park, the Sunset Casino and Entertainment World.
- photo – BBM Explorer
Fauna and flora
Within the city itself, you can visit the Durban Botanical Gardens, where you can picnic amongst the majestic palm trees, fragrant herb gardens, and varied bird species.
In Amanzimtoti, you can visit the Oriental gardens with flower displays and ponds that are perfect for a tranquil stroll.
At the Stainbank Nature Reserve, situated in Yellowwood Park, you can see zebras, monkeys, buck, bushbabies and birdlife up close, whether during a short 20 minute walk or a three hour long trail.
And don’t neglect a visit to the Mitchell Park and Zoo, where besides its well-stocked aviaries and zoo, it’s also known for its artistic display of flowers, shrubs and trees.
Durban is a melting pot of Asian, African and European influences. Durban boats the highest population of Indians outside of India, which led the Indian comedian, Russell Peters, to quip that should ever India be wiped off the map, Durban would effectively become the new India. There’s also a strong Zulu presence as Durban is situated in the KwaZulu-Natal province, where 80% of the population speaks Zulu, so you may want to have Zulu translation materials handy.
To experience the diverse culture Durban offers, browse the Victoria Street Market, which offers an insight into the Indian heart of Durban, with genuine oriental spices, curios and souvenirs. Visit the Durban Cultural Centre that shows the history, clothing, paintings and artefacts of the Indian community, including the indentured Indian servants.