10 Best Things to Do in Durban, South Africa

|   Last Updated on April 2, 2020

If you want a place to get away from your day to day worries, you need to look no further than Durban on the eastern coast of South Africa! While not the capital of the country, this city boasts some of the world’s most beautiful sights.

This jewel of a city offers cultural sites for you to explore, wildlife to discover, and plenty for those that would rather take a walk through nature or sit on a beach. With so many options on the table, this should be a port of call for everyone.


1. Durban Markets

You’ll find sprawling markets in the historic Indian District. There you will find a wide variety of items from clothes, and the fabric to make them, to other such thing such as shoes and leather items, oddities, various types of jewelry, and of course, modern day electronic items.

If you’re in the mood to make a quality Indian dish for dinner, you can also find Indian spices at the marketplace.

2. Juma Mosque

Located on what is now known as Dr. Yusef Dadoo Street, this mosque, known as Juma Mosque, or more commonly known by it’s previous street location named, Grey Street Mosque. Officially opened in 1930, and located with shops nearby to help pay for and maintain the mosque needs, it is the religious center for the Muslim religion in Durban.

Up until the 1970s it was the largest in the southern hemisphere.

3. Inanda

There are other cultural sights to see, such as Inanda. For those who do not know, Inanda is a town to the northwest of Durban. It was there that Mahatma Gandhi, who lead the campaign that would lead to India’s independence without the use for violence, was based while in South Africa.

It turns out that Inanda is a hot spot for for historical events, as John Dube, who would become the first president of the African National Congress would be born there, and it was also where he opened a local Ohlange Institute, which was the first school founded by an African.

It is also where Nelson Mandela voted in the country’s first truly democratic election.

4. Inanda Heritage Route

This particular area is called the Inanda Heritage Route, and is an area that holds the historic sites listed previously, as well as Gandhi’s Phoenix Settlement, which was his communal home.

There’s also another area that is home to the country’s oldest girls-only school, called the Inanda Seminay. The school was founded by American missionaries. If you’re interested in history, you can request a guided tour of the area.

5. Safari

If historical and cultural areas aren’t what you’re interested, we will turn our eyes to some more wild encounters. If you’re willing to travel outside of the city, Durban offers a half day safari is you travel an hour from the city. The tour guides share their knowledge and experience.

The tour stops at two wildlife related areas, one being Natal Lion Park and the other being the Tala Private Game Reserve, which houses 380 different species of birds and larger game, to name a few such as rhinos, wildebeests, warthogs, and hippos.

If you would like to explore at your own pace, you can take a drive by yourself or spend two hours with a ranger. If you’re the type who wants to stay the night on the 7,400 acre reserve, you can stay in one of the lodges or huts in the area, and would be woken by something called the ‘Voice of Africa’ which is a call made by the African fish eagle.


6. uShaka Marine World

If you would like something closer to Durban, you can visit uShaka Marine World, which is a 40-acre theme park that’s divided into 8 areas, uShaka Sea World, ushaka Wet’n WIld, uShaka Sea Animal Encounters Island, uShaka Beach, uShaka Village Walk, uShaka Kids Wolrd, uShaka Dangerous Creatures and chimp & Zee.

The uShaka Sea World exhibit allows visitors to walk on the ocean floor with a diver, and snorkel with fishes. The Aquarium also houses animals such as seals, sharks, and dolphins

The Dangerous Creatures exhibit is also apart of the uShaka Sea World area, and houses a various range of reptiles, arachnids, and amphibious creatures, some of which are venomous, and thus located in away from the actual main aquarium, and contains animals native to the area as well as exotic ones from elsewhere.

The main aquarium also houses restaurants which you can view the sharks, and is ranked as the fifth biggest aquarium in the world.

The uShaka Wet’n Wild section is a water park, which contains twelve slides, one of them being the highest in Africa at an 18-meter drop for the thrill seekers.

uShaka Beach has direct access from the amusement park and a large pier where visitors can walk out onto the ocean.

The uShaka Village Walk is a an area designed to look similar to an African village, and includes restaurants, cafe’s and other various shops to visit. In the same area uShaka Dangerous Creatures exhibit is an area home to Dart Frogs, tarantulas, Bearded Lizards, and more animals you wouldn’t want to bite you if you value your appendages.

The uShaka Chimp & Zee park is for true adventure seekers, a rope adventure park! This adventure park boast the longest continuous belay system if you want to swing your way to adventure.

7. The Golden Mile

An area called the Golden Mile, which is actually four miles in total, this area resides of the coastal edge of Durban and is named such for it’s golden beaches, and is an area you can relax, surf, kite board, build sand castles, or take a morning bicycle ride.

You won’t have to worry about a bad day for the beach, Durban typically stays 70 degrees Fahrenheit (or if you prefer 21 Celsius) all year, and gets 300 or more days of sunshine. The Golden Mile is contains the beaches closest to Durban’s city center.

8. Durban Beaches

The various beaches cater to all, wheither it’s a family relaxing, a person looking for volleyball tournaments, swimming, and offers kite boarding at Umhlanga Rocks, or a hike to the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve, which is home to Vervet Monkeys and is a coastal forest boardwalk trail.

9. Botanic Gardens

If the beach isn’t your thing, but you want to have a peaceful nature walk, Africa’s oldest surviving botanical gardens houses one of the world’s best collection of pre-dinosaur cycads, which are “living fossil” plants, which can be traced back to up to 250 million years ago, and face possible extinction out in the wild.

Named after John Medley Wood, The Wood’s Cycad is the single surviving cycad plant from the Zululand forest. There’s no dinosaurs in the garden’s cycad forest, but it feels eerily like the set of Jurassic Park, especially with the pink-backed pelicans that roost in the trees.

10. Suncoast Casino

If you don’t really want to be outdoors, visitors can go to Suncoast Casino, one of Durban’s destinations offering beachfront entertainment, including a cinema center where you can watch the latest movies, or if you’re a family group you can take your kids to an arcade called The Magic Company.

Obviously, if you’re an adult you can play casino games which offers cash and car prizes.

Finally, the most attractive thing about Sunset Casino is the Barnyard Theater where guests can watch various shows, events, and entertainment as well. Suncoast Casino also offer various restaurants for visitors to eat at and provides access to the beach nearby.

Durban is a city that offers some of the best in South Africa as a whole, no matter the occasion you have in mind.

Conclusion

Durban is a jewel located along the eastern coast of South Africa, and a beautiful vacation destination for people of all ages.

You can visit beautiful beaches where you can participate in various activities, wildlife reserves with various types of native and exotic animals, and historical sites that helped shape the country as a whole, and played a key part in allowing South Africa to become the nation it is today.

Normally a sunny area, Durban boasts wonderful vacation weather and beach going days. The city of Durban looks and feels pretty great year round, so book you vacation today and experience all the wonders Durban can give you!


Last Updated on April 2, 2020

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  • Rovology is leveraging advice from Vagabonds, Tourists, Digital Nomads, Wayfarers and Travel Writers to give our readers a guide on the best things to do no matter where they go.