For a person who visits Durban quite frequently, you would think that I would have blogged about this coastal city by now. I guess for me, I have always seen Durban as “My home away from home” – I spent 5 years of my adolescence years in the Natal Midlands and we would visit Durban frequently.
Dubbed “THE WARMEST PLACE TO BE”- a phrase I will use with caution. Durban is a cosmopolitan city, with gorgeous coastline and a popular holiday destination for most VAALIES.
In 2014, Durban city was officially voted as the New 7 Wonder City of the World. On the 15th September 2015, Durban was officially named as host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games on Wednesday, making it the first African city to stage the sporting spectacular.
What to do
Surprisingly enough, Durban has a lot to offer for fun seeking families, couples and friends on holiday.
- The Golden Mile
- A popular stretch of beachfront that runs roughly from South Beach (where the uShaka Marine World is located) to Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World in the north. A stretch of some of the safest swimming beaches in South Africa and a popular tourist destination, here you will find the Zulu Rikshas, walkers, cyclists and joggers.
- When I told my sister that my husband and I go to uShaka Marine Wet and Wild park for the water slides, her response was “are you guys serious? aren’t you a little too old for that” What she does not understand is that some of the water slides are awesome and offer pure adrenaline. We particular love The Drop Zone (the highest slide in Africa), the Tornado and the Plunge. Wet and Wild also offer other relaxed slides ideal for adults traveling with kids.
- Other highlights of uShaka Marine are:-
- Sea World – The largest aquarium in the Southern Hemisphere, with dolphin shows, seal shows, penguin presentations, shark dives, and so much more!
- Kids World – A perfect place for the kids can have complete freedom to play.
- Chimp & Zee – A new rope adventure park
- Address: uShaka Marine World 1, King Shaka Ave., Point, Durban;
- Tel: +27 31 328 8000
- The soccer stadium that was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup now offers a variety of activities.
- Sky Car – You can discover Durban from a 106m-high vantage point and enjoy panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and Durban.
- Big Rush Big Swing – For the adrenaline junkies, the big rush swing in a must. You will plunge off the 106 meter arch on the Big Swing.
- People’s Park – Green lawns, trees, fountains and huge space, the people park make this an ideal play area for kids all ages. There’s a kid’s play area for under 12’s and the Café is an ideal location to grab a light meal.
- Segway Gliding Tours
- Stadium Tours
- Adventure Walks
- Address: Moses Mabhida Stadium, 44 Isaiahntshangase Moses Mabhida Stadium,
- Tel: +27 31 582 8222
- A surfing spot, water park and entertainment complex that located at Gateway Shopping Centre. Another fun place for families and a hangout spot for teenagers in Durban.
- Visit the Durban Markets
- Durban has day, night and weekends markets. It all depends on what one is in the mood for.
- I heart Market – Moses Mabhida Stadium, Imbizo Lawns
- Wonder Market – Chris Saunders Park situated in Umhlanga
- Litchi Orchard – Seaforth Avenue, Salt Rock
- Shongweni Farmers Market – Cnr Alvestone and Kassier roads, Shongweni
- Victoria Street Market – Corner of Queen and Victoria Streets, Durban –
- If you feel like a drive, I highly recommend Valley of 1000 Hills it is a bit of a drive from Durban lovely experience, you will find restaurants and craft markets along the way.
Where to Stay
Whether it be 5 Star Accommodation or a Back Packer’s Lodge, Durban has a wide selection of B&Bs, Guest Houses, Hotels and Self Catering Accommodation. Below is a list of some of the places I have stayed and the overall experience was splendid. Umhlanga and Ballito have a wide selection of places to stay, during PEAK season ensure you book early to avoid not finding a place.
- The hotel forms part of a Casino and shopping complex and is situated in the heart of the Golden Mile with amazing sea views and a mere 400m away from the beach.
- Their standard rooms are small but livable.
- The hotel is situated in Palm Boulevard in Umhlanga opposite Gateway Mall, great location for shoppers. I love this hotel for its apartment style feel, the rooms are spacious and with a decent size balcony. Umhlanga beach is about 5m drive.
- Stayed at this hotel for a conference, its perfect location for a both business and leisure traveler.
- Spacious Rooms, view with modern facilities. Staff are great.
- If your budget allows, a stay at the Beverly Hills is a must, all rooms at the hotel boasts uninterrupted views of the ocean and are extremely comfortable.
- The service is 1st Class and hotel has some options on where one can eat. A great place for afternoon sundowners.
- Beachfront location with direct beach access, the hotel offers many bars and restaurants. Top quality service and impeccable accommodation.
- The food is a bit on the DUUR (expensive) side but High tea, Dinner and Sundowner at the hotel are as must.
- Whether you are staying at the Lodge, Resort or a Rental home, this coastal estate offers complete tranquility. Guests staying at the estate have access to a variety of facilities and recreational activities.
- During the PEAK season, it gets VERY busy and the hotel staff sometimes seem a bit overwhelmed. The service is great but they do tend to drop the ball with their bookings.
Where to Eat
Whether it’s the popular Florida Road in Morningside, or Chartwell Drive in Umhlanga or dining at one of the hotels, there’s plenty places to grab a bite to eat. It all depends on your location and what type of food you are in the mood for.
Below is some of the places I like to eat when in Durban.
- A family run Italian restaurant in Umdloti, the best place to sit during the day is outside, they have great views of the ocean.
- As much as I love the food here, I have mixed reviews about this place. I have had possibly the best and worst service. We had booked a table and they were very busy that evening, we were made to sit at the bar/lounge area and were ignored until such time that we decided to leave. Let’s just say the rest of the evening did not go well and things just kept going wrong.
- Will still recommend it thou.
- Located in the popular Florida Road in Morningside, this Italian restaurant has the best pasta in Durban and never disappoints. From their bruschetta’s to their pizza and desserts, there’s something on the menu for everyone.
- Overall great service, great vibe and good value for money.
- House Of Curries (HOC)
- Eating Curry one of the things that one must do when visiting Durban and HOC has some great curries. It’s also situated on Florida Road in Umhlanga, HOC is pretty much a modern sheebeen and very laid back.
- In the heart of Umhlanga, on Chartwell Drive you will find Olive and Oil. Diverse menu with lots to choose from.
- A shipping container that’s been converted into a café, so creative and my type of vibe. The Freedom Café is located in Greyville, Morningside on St Mary’s Avenue.
- Good place for a breakfast meeting or just laid back meal with friends, good menu.
- In the heart on Umhlanga Ridge situated in an office complex, great place to grab a cup of coffee, they have one of the best Flat Whites.
I’m really looking forward to my next visit to Durban as I have discovered some really cool places that I would like to try.
The other thing that I would STILL love to do is learn to surf, I still don’t know why I did not do that back then. I guess it’s never too late to learn and try something new.