Top things to do in Durban

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Date: November 10, 2015
South Africa’s third largest city, home to the busiest container port in Africa, the ninth largest harbour in the world and the largest shopping mall in Africa – Durban is not just a major economic hub. Don’t mistake this city for just a work and no play kind of place. Durban also boasts some exciting attraction, including the fifth largest aquarium in the world with a total of 17, 580 cubic metres of water. Add to that the warm weather and the famous stretch of some of the safest swimming beaches in South Africa. It’s a year-round destination that shouldn’t be underestimated. Here are some Durban experiences you wouldn't want to miss.

1.    Golden Mile
If you are visiting Durban for the first time, the Golden Mile is a must. The revitalised beachfront promenade is livelier and more fun then ever.
Surfing in Durban
Durban beaches are well known for great surf, but if you are not an adrenalin junkie you can simply enjoy a day on the beach, swimming, building sandcastles or playing beach volleyball. The Golden Mile’s 6 km stretch of sandy beach offers plenty of fun or relaxing activities. Take a refreshing stroll or hop on for an exciting rickshaw ride to one of the six piers between Blue Lagoon and the Moyo Pier. For some exercise, you can hire a bicycle or jog along the promenade.

2.    Ushaka Marine World
Fun at uShaka Marine World
The world class uShaka Marine World has the largest aquarium in the Southern hemisphere, the 5th largest in the world, with dolphin and seal shows, penguin presentations and animal feeds. It’s a fascinating journey with around 30 in and outdoor themed exhibits, and you won’t want to miss the spectacular dolphin, seal and penguin shows. In the aquarium, tank after tank offers a glorious insight into the wealth of South Africa’s marine life, an experience not to be missed.

3.    Durban Botanical Gardens
Durban Botanical Gardens
The Durban Botanic Gardens, currently the oldest surviving botanic garden on the African continent includes the main plant collections of cycads, orchids, bromeliads and palms. You can view more than eighty heritage trees which are mostly more than one hundred years old.

4.    Fun & adventure at Moses Mabhida Stadium
Durban skyline
Moses Mabhida Stadium changed the city skyline during the 2010 soccer world cup and has since been Durban’s most iconic building. It is more than just a stadium but a multi-purpose venue and attraction. It offers a variety of attractions for the adventurous and the fun loving. You can try the two-minute SkyCar ride up the stadium arch, taking you up to a 106m-high vintage point for the unparalleled 360º views of Durban and beyond. If you are brave, there is the option of The Big Rush Big Swing, a 80m free fall into the stadium bowl.

5.    Local cuisine  & culture
Art displays in Durban
Durban has a very rich cultural diversity which gives it a vibrancy enjoyed by few other South African cities. Zulu culture is everywhere in the city and it’s no surprise. This is the Zulu Kingdom, add to that – some Indian culture sprinkled at the top. Grey Street is the heart of the ‘Indian Quarter’ and a perfect spot if you are looking for incense, spices and other Indian materials. On the corner of Yusaf Dadoo and Queen Streets you’ll find Jumah Mosque, the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere. Whilst you are there don’t miss out on tasting the famous Bunny Chow.

6.    Isle of Capri Booat Rides
Durban Harbour
Go on an unforgettable trip exploring one of the biggest and busiest harbours in the southern hemisphere. Enjoy a smooth harbour cruise to a rustic harbour marina amongst working slipways and see ships manoeuvring. Wilson’s Wharf offers a yacht’s spectacular view of the working Durban Harbour. See the fourth largest container port in the Southern hemisphere in action. 

7.    KZN Sharks Board
KZN Sharks Board
Audio-visual and shark dissections: At the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence you can enjoy a 26 minute dynamic audio visual presentation that has a powerful combination of aerials, slow pans, tight close-ups and superb imagery. The presentation is designed to entertain and educate visitors about sharks and their role as top predators.  This is followed by a shark dissection where you can see the internal anatomy of one of the ocean’s most feared predators.

8.    Mini Town Durban
Durban Mini Town
It was first established over 30 years ago. Mini Town gives a good impression of some of Durban's landmarks in a 1:24 scale. A walk around mini town will give you an opportunity to view excellent models of some of Durban’s most interesting buildings. One of the most popular features of the layout is a rail network with trains continually on the go. There is an airport complete with airplanes and a very realistic harbour that features a tug and ship traveling around the harbour.  

9.    Phezulu Safari Park
Phezulu Game Park
Less than 35 minutes from Durban you can enjoy a snack overlooking the extraordinary Valley of a Thousand Hills, go on a 4x4 game drive, enjoy an exhilarating live crocodile show, or marvel at a wide variety of indigenous snakes at Phezulu Snake Park. At Phezulu village, the world famous Gasa clan has over the last 30 years, allowed visitors the opportunity to savour the taste and feel the rhythm of Africa with insights into the Zulu culture.

10.    uMngeni River Bird Park
Umngeni River Park
Opened in 1984, the Umgeni River Bird Park is home to almost 800 birds and 200 species from across the world. Surrounded by soaring cliffs and set among 3.5 hectares of lush landscaping, the park is a tranquil haven in the middle of Durban. No visit to the park is complete without seeing the spectacular free-flight bird show.

11.    Ricksha Bus Tour
Durban Bus Tour
Hop aboard the Ricksha Bus for a scenic overview of a range of Durban's major attractions. Route highlights include the Beachfront, uShaka Marine World, Victoria Street Market, Juma Musjid Mosque, Durban ICC, Florida Road, Moses Mabhida, Sun coast Casino and many more.

There is so much more to do in Durbs, you will never be bored. For the must see & do attractions, we recommed our iVenture Durban attractions pass for the best rates and flexibility on attractions to see. 

By:  Dumi Khumalo