As for location, Durban was perfect. Located on South Africa’s east coast, this port city has developed around a long and attractive sandy beach, lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
The area around Durban has been inhabited for at least 100,000 years. The stone only came to the attention of Europeans when he discovered it in 1497 when the Golden Age Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was en route to India. It went through several hands until it was annexed by Britain in 1844. Durban is currently the third largest city in South Africa. More than just beaches, it’s a mix of natural and man-made attractions, from exquisite cuisine to fascinating museums. Come enjoy the sun, sea, and sand. But stay for the culture.
To help you out a little, we’ve picked out the top 15 things to do in Durban here.
1. Dick King Statue
The Dick King statue on Victoria Embankment is another reminder of Durban’s past. This is a bronze equestrian statue commemorating the actions of Richard Philip his king who raised the alarm about a possible attack on the city by the Boers in the 1840s.
King drove between Durban and Grahamstown for 10 days, covering about 125 kilometers a day, and some days he was too sick to even drive. Nonetheless, when he reached Grahamstown, he was able to mobilize the British forces, saving the town from attack and King would become a part of Durban’s history.
2. Durban Natural Science Museum
The majestic columned façade of the Durban Museum of Nature and Science should be enough to lure most visitors to its doors (part of Durban City Hall). Entering the museum via wide stone steps lined with thick red carpets, the exhibits are equally impressive.
Focusing on the living planet, the museum is a treasure trove of animals from yesteryear, from birds and mammals to insects and reptiles. Exhibits date back to ancient Egypt and include Peter’s mummy named Amen, as well as one of the most complete dodo skeletons in existence.
If you know even a little bit about South Africa, you know people love sports. The City of Durban is no exception, and attending a major sporting event is a great way to get a glimpse of what the city is like.
Kings Park Stadium is the home of the rugby union team His Sharks. Most of the domestic league matches are held during the country’s winter season (June to September). At other times of the year, Kingsmead also has the opportunity to play cricket at his grounds and football at Moses Madiba Stadium.
4. Old Court House Museum
Housed in one of the oldest surviving buildings in central Durban, the museum’s wrought-iron verandas and cream-yellow stone window frames add interesting accents to the surrounding office buildings.
Inside the museum, built in the 1860s, you can see a collection of about 10,000 individual works in total. Together they help tell the story of the region and its people, in good times and bad. Even more interesting is the fact that Mahatma was a regular visitor to this building when Gandhi was a lawyer in the city.
5. Phoenix Settlement
Durban’s connection to one of the great figures of the 20th century extends beyond the Old Courthouse Museum. A few miles north of the CBD, Phoenix Settlement was purchased by Gandhi in 1904. This marked the beginning of his transition from lawyer to freedom fighter.
The settlement served as a testing ground for ideas ranging from communal living to non-violent politics, and Gandhi was nominated (unsuccessfully) for the Nobel Peace Prize multiple times. The house where Gandhi lived at the time has been fully restored and can be visited as part of the Inanda His Heritage Trail.
6. Durban Botanic Gardens
Established in 1849, Durban Botanical Gardens is South Africa’s oldest formal botanical garden. It contains a mix of plants native to South Africa and exotic plants from around the world and holds specimens from various flower kingdoms.
These include orchids, palm trees, and cycads (ferns). But the 15-hectare grounds also include an English-style sunken garden filled with colorful flowers, a butterfly garden, and a natural lake perfect for a picnic on a sunny Durban day.
7. Mini Town
A knee-high version of the city beyond the city walls, Mini Town is a retro tourist attraction (with a touch of kitsch, but in a good way) near the beach at Snell Parade. Mini Town is a miniature recreation of Durban, containing versions of all the city’s major buildings.
What makes the mini-town special is the attention paid to the working railroad and its port. It has its own mobile tug and vessel and holds over 200,000 liters of water.
8. KwaMuhle Museum
The Kwamühle Museum is in my opinion the most important and interesting exhibition venue in Durban.
This museum about apartheid and its predecessor, the ‘Durban System’, is housed in the Office of Indigenous Affairs, once hated by non-white South Africans. This is where passports were issued, which must be carried by everyone entering the city.
The museum illustrates all this with its collection of documents, photographs, videos, and objects owned by ordinary South Africans. Refusing to hide from the horrors of the apartheid system, the Kwamühle Museum plays an important role in educating the generation born after Nelson Mandela was released and elected South Africa’s first black president.
Durban is one of South Africa’s most ethnically diverse cities. The population is made up of Zulu and a significant number of British and Indian descent. A fusion of both cultures over the decades, Durban has a food scene, unlike any other city in South Africa. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy it.
The city’s seaside location means fish is always a delicious option, whether it’s fried English-style or slathered in the aromatic spices of the Indian subcontinent. For something unique to the city, try bunny chow, a curried vegetable stew traditionally served in hollowed-out bread.
10. Moses Mabhida Stadium
Built for the 2010 World Cup and named after a prominent anti-apartheid politician, Durban Stadium isn’t just for sports fans. The stadium not only hosts football, cricket, and rugby union matches but also serves as a playground for adventure sports enthusiasts.
The arch that spans the 55,000-seat arena is accompanied by his 550-step ‘Adventure Path’ that leads to an observation deck 106 meters above the ground. For those who don’t like walking, there is also a cable car that takes you to the top. Aside from the views of Durban and the Indian Ocean, this platform is the perfect place to watch as the daredevil throws himself off the arch on his bungee swing and leaps 220 meters across the pitch.
11. The Golden Mile
Durban is not the destination of choice for South Africans for no reason. It doesn’t take long to convince him that the city’s Golden Mile is the best place to be. From the Central Business District (CBD), it stretches across several beaches with charming promenades lined with cafes and restaurants.
Like most Golden Mile beaches, South Beach is patrolled by lifeguards most of the year. It is also protected by a shark-proof net. The atmosphere is a little quieter, so it’s recommended for families who want to play in the sand and enjoy the water temperature of 22°C. Adjacent North Beach is best known for its waves that attract surfers and bodyboarders from all over the world.
12. uShaka Marine World
For a change from the sandy beaches of the Golden Mile, head to uShaka Marine World. Although the park is primarily known as a water park, most agree that its slides hold 4.6 million gallons of water and are nothing compared to an aquarium with 10,000 different marine species. are doing.
The uShaka Marine World aquarium is the largest single tank in the Southern Hemisphere. Its observation windows extend he over 500 meters through four different ‘wrecks’. Each offers a glimpse into a different marine environment. In addition to turtles, seals, and even penguins, you may encounter sharks, manta rays, and more.
13. Port Natal Maritime Museum
Right across from uShaka Marine World is the Port Natal Maritime Museum. Retaining the old city’s name as it was changed in 1835, the museum is set against the backdrop of Durban’s elegant harbor. The exhibits relate to hundreds, if not thousands, of years of voyages in the region.
The star of any visit is the boat or ship you can board and explore. Young children aren’t the only ones who enjoy taking on the role of captain of the SAS Durban or her NCS Challenger minesweeper and discovering the tiny spaces that make up these ships’ features.
14. Umgeni River Bird Park
Once a water-filled quarry, Umgeni River Bird Park is now a 3.5-hectare tropical botanical garden across the city from the Umgeni River. About 800 birds of 200 species live here, including the only specimen of this species in Africa.
Birds to watch out for range from owls and hornbills to vultures and macaws. Many people attend the daily shows in the outdoor auditorium. More birds are seen hatched and reared by the park team, including the increasingly rare walled crane.
15. The BAT Centre
The BAT Center has nothing to do with flying but is a community art project on Durban’s Victoria Embankment. A collection of individual brick buildings containing small stand-alone art galleries, performance halls, eateries, and shops that combine traditional and contemporary KwaZulu-Natal art.
A non-profit center dedicated to honoring the city’s artistic heritage, his BAT Center is arguably the best place in the city to discover a wide variety of arts and crafts.