The third-most populous city and the main seaport of South Africa, Durban is beautifully set on Natal Bay of the Indian Ocean. This coastal city sitting on the coast of Kwazulu Natal is slowly earning its own reputation for being one of the most laidback and charming tourist destinations in South Africa. Beautiful beaches dotted with piers, multiple museums, delectable cuisines, and more – one can never have a dull time in Durban, South Africa. People coming to visit this vibrant city will soak in its mild sub-tropical climate and its cosmopolitan feel mixed with pristine and laid-back beauty is something to truly fall in love with. A surfers’ paradise, a city packed with frolicking activity options, and a city to indulge in the jazzy nightlife, these are the best places to visit in Durban, South Africa that are next to beautiful.
Durban port is the largest and also the busiest shipping terminal in Africa and from Johannesburg and Cape Town, the city can easily be reached by air. Drenched in history and having a rich multi-cultural heritage, the city is idyllic, ideal to enjoy sun, sand, and surf, and it also boasts an active Indian community too. Come with family or travel solo, its relaxed days, enticing nights, and energy will satisfy your soul. Allured to set a visit to this coastal city? Check out the best places to visit in Durban, South Africa.
The Best And Top-rated Places To Visit In Durban, South Africa:
Unlike the other beaches in South Africa, Durban’s beaches are hit-worthy round the year. Thanks to the warm Indian Ocean and Mozambique Current, Durban remains warmer than rest of the places of the country throughout the year. So if you are planning to spend days strolling on the beach and indulfgng in surf and sand, Durban beaches are the best places to head to. Whether you are at the city center or at the subarbs, the city has plenty of beautiful photo-worthy beaches.
The Golden Mile is a stretch of land along North Beach which is mainly popular among the strollers, joggers, baskers, and swimmers. This beach along this promenade is a surfer’s paradise as it gets huge waves. Lined by restaurants, hotels, shops, and other exciting activity areas, Golden Mile along Durban’s North Beach is one of the best places to visit in Durban, South Africa.
Addington Beach which is a less crowded beach nearer to the Harbor is a great family-friendly beach and is excellent for swimming. Another family-friendly beach, great for swimming is Umdloti Beach.
uShaka Marine World:
One of the key attractions on the Golden Mile, uShaka Marine World is another popular and family-friendly destination in Durban that one must visit. This 40-acre water-themed park has 8 different sections. Among them, uShaka Sea World is set on replicas of five shipwrecks and is the fifth largest aquarium in the world. This section also holds several restaurants and from the dining areas, one can have views of the sea world including a big-sized shark too.
The other sections are uShaka Wet ‘n Wild, uShaka Sea Animal Encounters Island, uShaka Beach, uShaka Village Walk, uShaka Kids World, uShaka Dangerous Creatures, and Chimp & Zee. Your kids will have a splashy time in the Kid’s World and among the other fun activities, one must see the dolphin show and go indulge in scuba diving at Calypso. The Dangerous Creatures section is a place to see some reptiles and insects like Tarantulas and is surely not for the faint-hearted.
Just north of Durban on the same coast of Kwazulu Natal locates this resort town which is another charming place to visit during your trip to Durban, South Africa. Beautiful beaches, world-class hotels and resorts, upscale market regions, and shopping stores define the Umhlanga Rocks region and the town is probably best known for being the land of ‘Gateway Theatre of Shopping’ which is the largest shopping mall in the Southern Hemisphere. Two of the main beaches in this town are Bronze Beach and Main Beach and one must also head out for visiting the Isimangaliso Wetland Park which also is a world heritage site. The post-card-like lighthouse at Umhlanga Rocks just adds on to the beauty of the region’s landscape.
Durban Botanic Gardens:
Established in 1849, Durban Botanic Gardens is Africa’s oldest surviving botanic garden and it was originally formed for the trial of agricultural crops. A beautiful place full of greenery and plants, this garden is aimed at conserving plants and providing plant-based education. Covering an area of 37 acres, the garden is filled with many indigenous and exotic trees, some of which are pretty old. Cycads, ferns, orchids, bromeliads, and more – the garden contains an extensive variety of species. There are about 917 palm trees in the garden and apart from plants, the garden is also home to more than fifty different species of birds. It is also the place where many social gatherings, events, and plant fairs are organized every year.
Durban Art Gallery:
Situated right next to Durban’s City Hall, the Durban Art Gallery, founded in 1892, hosts a beautiful collection of artworks that makes it one of the most attractive and touristy places to visit in Durban, South Africa. This is a national gallery that showcases the beautiful South African artistic ethnicity and is a brilliant place to look into African art and craft. From traditional art and sculptural works to contemporary art objects made by local artists, the permanent collections of the gallery are a must-visit. Its historic collection dates back to the 15th century and it is also a great place to learn about many histories of the KwaZulu-Natal region. Objects of the art gallery include many traditional baskets, carvings, clay pots, sculptures, wirework, to many French and Chinese ceramics.
The Sugar Terminal:
Not everybody visits this place but if you want to learn about the history of the sugar cane trade that was the base of the sugar industry in the KwaZulu-Natal region in the mid-nineteenth century, you have to visit the Sugar Terminal. Locating at the western end of Durban Bay, the terminal has three huge silos that can hold up to 500,000 tons of refined sugar. It is the largest one in southern Africa and also is one of the largest in the entire world. Guided tours are organized by the South African Sugar Association which you can take part in. See video presentations on how sugar is made and then how it is processed and loaded from silos onto cargo ships and lastly how it is shipped and transported to many parts of the world. Off-beat and interesting, the Sugar Terminal is an amazing attraction of Durban, South Africa.
Among the other attractions, visitors must not miss out on Moses Mabhida Stadium, Umgeni River Bird Park, Durban Holocaust Centre, Mitchell Park Zoo, and Japanese Garden.
Durban, South Africa is a foodie’s paradise and without checking out its excellent food scene, no trip to this city can come to an end. Though you get to taste food from all over the world, the city is the most special for its spicy Indian dishes. The most popular dish being ‘bunny chow’, the city has some visit-worthy curry dens to outstanding barbecue places that are so impressive. Taste fresh sardines on toast, the cool concoction of Bombay Crush (traditional Asian falooda), and also visit the local wine shops. The city also has North Indian delicacies to Goan seafood dishes and your gastronomical tour in this city is gonna be exciting as never before. This largest city in KwaZulu-Natal is also a great spot to dig in authentic Zulu cuisine.
Some of the best restaurants to check out while in Durban, South Africa are Daruma, Big Easy Durban by Ernie Els, 9th Avenue Waterside Bistro, Butcher Boys Morningside, Circus Circus Beach Café, Havana Grill, Indian Restaurant, etc.