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Durban

4.0 / 5 26 votes

Country rank: 4 out of 6 Places To Visit In South-africa

Sub-Region: KwaZulu-Natal


Weather:

Ideal duration: 3-5 days

Best time: June - August (winters) (Read More)

Nearest Airport: Durban (Check Flights)

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Durban Tourism

Though not one of the 3 capitals of South Africa, Durban is definitely among the top cities of the country. It is the largest port in all of Africa, and is actually among South Africa's top tourist destination. A city with a rich blend of history and modernity, Durban makes for an exciting stay!

Durban definitely ranks among South Africa's top cities, and with one visit you'll see that it's with good reason. The city is one of South Africa's true international destinations, complete with a vibrant mix of different cultures and languages. The nearby Valley of the Thousand Hills will get you well acquainted with the history of the famous Zulu tribe, along with their fascinating culture and way of life. And then the fact that Durban is home to a massive Indian population, Indian cultures have seeped into Durban as if they were it's own, which you will see clearly in the street foods and festivals in the city, and most emphatically in the grand Hare Krishna temple. Visit the superbly built uShaka Marine World for an absolute ball of a day, with their fun theme park and the enormous aquarium which will surely engross you deeply. Check out the massive Moses Mabhida Stadium, with it's iconic archiecture and imposing arch through the centre. The best part about the stadium, however, are the adrenaline pumping activities like the Big Rush Big Swing, the world's largest swing, or climg up to the top of the arch via the tour to view some fantastic vistas of the city. Of course, in Durban you just cannot miss the supremely famous Golden Mile, with it's fantastic beaches, restaurants, bars and several other attractions. The SunCoast Casino on the Golden Mile is the perfect place to have a brilliant night out to cap the perfect day. Mind you, there are several points along this popular stretch if you're looking to have a lively night! The Gateway Theatre of Shopping is an absolute must visit, even if you don't plan on buying from here. Just a stroll through this impressive mall is worth it. Visit Durban for the great South African experience!

Hotels in Durban

Top Hotels in Durban

  • Ocean Vista Boutique Guest House

    ZAR 1,300 /night onwards

  • Khanyakude Bed and Breakfast

    ZAR 898 /night onwards

  • Umhlanga Getaways

    ZAR 1,488 /night onwards


View All Hotels in Durban >
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More on Durban


The rand is the only currency accepted. That being said, major cards are widely accepted, especially Visa and MasterCard. ATMs are located throughout the city.

There are several money exchange options in Durban. A whole lot of banks in the city exchange foreign currencies, and many exchange offices like Travelex and American Express provide services as well. ATMs can be used to withdraw currency too, but it's best to inform your bank about international travels and enquire about international transaction costs.

Durban isn't an overly expensive city, mostly because the exchange rate for the rand is favourable. Depending on how you get around, where you eat and the attractions you visit, your daily budget should be in the region of : Budget trip : ZAR 400 - 800 Comfortable trip : ZAR 1000 - 1500 Luxury trip : ZAR 1800 - 2300

Christianity, with a blend of African and Protestant Christian beliefs.

General customs in Durban coincide a lot with those of the west and in particular Britain. There are no real rules of clothing, but it's always preferable to dress smartly and neatly. Tipping is customary in South Africa. In restaurants and bars with service, 10% of the bill is enough, and a few rands at petrol stations, parking lots and to security guards is sufficient. Tipping guides and drivers in the region of ZAR 10 - 20 per day per person is also enough.

English is spoken widely in Durban and you should not have many troubles on your travels.

History of the region goes back more than 100,000 years, when it was occubied by hunter-gatherers. However, written history of the region appears only after Vasco da Gama discovered in 1497. He named it Natal, or Christmas in Portuguese. The city we see today began in 1824, when a group of 25 Britishers moved to establish a settlement from the Cape Colony. Henry Francis Fynn, an adventurer, helped a Zulu King recover from a wound he suffered in battle, and received 50 kilometre long strip of land along the coast, stretching 160 km inland. The name d'Urban was given to the city in 1835 after Sir Sir Benjamin d'Urban, then governor of the Cape Colony. The Voortrekkers then established the Republic of Natalia near d'Urban in 1938. After several conflicts between them and the Zulus, the British decided to get involved due to fear of losing their own control in the region. The British were triumphant by 1944, and the entire region was brought under colonial rule. Durban then grew under the British, mainly due to the plantation business. Around the 1860s, many labourers were brought from British colonies, especially from India, to work on these plantations. As a result, today there are several thousand Indians in Durban today. Today, Durban is a great tourist destination. It is the busiest container port in Africa. It's famous Golden Mile has become an iconic destination for people all over South Africa for holidays.

Durban has a great nightlife. There are several clubs and bars where the party goes on until dawn, and you can see the sun rise over the Indian Ocean as you are on your way back. There are several great clubs on the famous Golden Mile, located right across the beach. Other popular areas are Glenwood, and the suburbs of Kloof and Hillcrest. As you go around the town, you will learn much more about the fascinating nightlife of Durban.

There are many shopping avenues in Durban. From the high end boutiques to street shopping for the famous curries, spices, and local goods, Durban has it all. The prime destination for shopping in Durban is the Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Uhmlanga. It has a great collection of top-end boutique stores and many great restaurants, along with cinema complexes and an iMax theatre. Other really good malls include the La Lucia and the Pavillion Shopping Centre. Street markets like the crafts speciality market, the Essenwood Market, or the farmers' market in Shongwemi are also popular. And also, do check out the Stables Lifestyle Market, set up on Wednsesdays, Fridays and Sundays in actual stables that were built a century ago! Since Durban has a major population of Indians, shops and stores of Indian spices and curries are something you should check out as well, in Downtown Durban.

Durban is a an international city and as such you have a plethora of options of where to eat. There are several high end restaurants where you can find the best of some international cuisines, as well as fast food joints for a delicious quick fix. A great feature of Durban food is the influx of the Indian cuisine, since Durban is home to the biggest Indian population outside India. Some dishes you have to try though include the 'bunny chow', a famous street food; 'shisa nyama', a zulu delicacy of tender meat; 'Bombay crush', which is literally the falooda from India, a favourite syrupy dessert; and of course don't forget to try the sardines, caught fresh and served on a toast.


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