South Africa is a beautiful and diverse country. Each of its nine provinces has a distinct appeal.
South Africa’s favourite domestic holiday destination is KwaZulu-Natal. Some of the most notable features in the province are the Drakensberg Mountain Range and the beautiful coastline areas and historic battlefields but the capital city is the biggest draw-card for local and international tourists alike.
The bustling city of Durban has a warm sub-tropical climate with weather that stays pleasant almost all year round, making this the perfect holiday destination. Often described as South Africa’s very own Miami Beach, this cosmopolitan city offers a cultural experience unlike the rest of South Africa.
A rich Zulu heritage is intertwined with the large Indian community that came into existence under South Africa’s British rule.
The strong Indian cultural influence has led to one of the most well-known characteristics of Durban, the Natal curries. It’s recommended that visitors try a sample of these dishes which range from mild curry to the hottest Vindaloo imaginable!
On a stroll down Grey Street, Indian vendors and bazaars will introduce visitors to many varieties of Indian delicacies and Durban’s very own contribution to world cuisine: the Bunny Chow. This is a simple dish that consists of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry, made from either beef, mutton, chicken or beans.
Accommodation in Durban ranges from luxury five -star hotels to cosy guesthouses, but location is very important. The most prominent suburbs in Durban are the Berea, the Bluff, Durban Central and Durban North, Glenashley, Glenmore, Glenwood and Morningside. The latter is an upmarket suburb offering classic examples of large Victorian architecture and is ideally situated within easy reach of the main attractions and activities available throughout this vibrant city.
Durban is all about the beaches. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean lap the golden sandy beachfront which is lined with palm trees. The beach stretches for miles on end and is a playground paradise for many sun-worshippers and water sport enthusiasts. The Golden Mile is Durban’s most popular strip and stretches from South Beach, where uShaka Marine World is located, all the way to the North where the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World lies.
Water sports such as body boarding, sailing and scuba diving can be enjoyed by tourists but the biggest draw is Durban’s reputation as a surfing capital. During the month of July the annual Mr. Price Pro World Surfing Championship takes place here. There is a big local surfing community and the laidback impression surfers make is very obvious and quite infectious.
One of Durban’s premier attractions is uShaka Marina World; a world-class entertainment hub located at South Beach which stretches over an impressive 15 hectares, making it Africa’s largest marine theme park. As well as the impressive aquarium, there are many restaurants where one can enjoy scrumptious seafood. There is also an extensive range of retail stores and boutiques at uShaka that feature arts and crafts, outdoor gear as well as locally produced items.
At uShaka Marine World’s Dolphin Stadium, the antics of these intelligent creatures never fail to entertain visitors. At the Wet ‘n Wild World there is something to entertain every member of the family including swimming pools, river rides, sandy beaches, and high speed chutes. Other interactive activities and highlights include the touch rock pool, coral gardens, a penguin breeding colony, an 8 metre long window to gaze into the open ocean and the Deep Zone where some of the most bizarre and spectacular sea creatures are revealed. ‘Dangers of the Deep’ brings visitors up-close to several of the ocean’s most feared creatures including sharks, sea snakes and the devil fire fish.
Other attractions and activities
The International Conference Centre (ICC) has been nominated as Africa’s leading conference centre for six consecutive years. As a focal point for the business district, the main attraction at the ICC is the continual events that include expos, festivals and fairs which attract both local and international business.
Tourists who have a fondness for wildlife, birding and eco-tourism will enjoy trips to the Botanical Gardens, Snake Park or the Umgeni River Bird Park. As one of Durban’s greatest attractions, the Umgeni River Bird Park is located on the banks of the Umgeni River. The park welcomes tourists to a journey through beautiful green vegetation complemented with some amazing rock faces and waterfalls in the walk-through aviaries.
While in Durban, tourists with a penchant for shopping should indulge in a day of retail therapy at Gateway, the “Theatre of Shopping”. With more than 280 stores, this modern mall also boasts an extraordinary recreational centre. At a staggering 24 meters, the indoor climbing wall at Gateway is the world’s highest, and adrenalin junkies are sure to enjoy the experience. There is also a skate park that was designed by legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk, who also officially opened it. Other attractions at the Gateway shopping centre include ten pin bowling, go carts, bumper cars, mini golf, a foofie slide and an IMAX theatre. The Surf and Extreme Sports Centre Wavehouse is where amateur surfers can learn to surf on artificially made waves under the watchful eye of local professionals.
Durban really is South Africa’s playground! With so much to do in a city that has perfect weather conditions almost all year round, you are sure to enjoy it too!
Exclusive Getaways South Africa is a collection of celebrated South African country getaways, including the lavish Victorian style Quarters Hotel in Durban’s suburb of Morningside, KwaZulu-Natal.