Durban is the curry capital of South Africa, and is known for its humid weather conditions and gorgeous warm ocean waters. Having the highest population density of Indian folk outside of the country of India, there is also a distinctive vibe and a fascinating history to this coastal holiday town with a multifaceted cultural buzz. Getting the most out of this town and its spirit means exploring Durban with an adventurous spirit and being open-minded about new experiences.
Here are five attractions that first-time visitors to Durban are encouraged to try …
The Indian District
Guided walks around the Indian District are fascinating and fun, allowing you to sample the colourful vibe of this very multicultural destination. Stop at a traditional Zulu healer; or at various markets, which are brimming with fabulously exciting and unique goods, spices, textiles, and incense. These make for fabulous keepsakes and gifts for friends and family back home. Many of the items are produced locally, while others are imported from exotic countries like Indian and China.
uShaka Sea World
This is one of the world’s biggest aquariums and comprises the uShaka Marine World, the Wet and Wild Water Park and the Village Walk Shopping Centre. Experiences for visitors include walking on the bottom of the Open Ocean Exhibit and shark cage diving with a variety of different sharks and other fascinating fish. The marine life of South Africa is extremely rich and varied, but dwindling fast, thanks to hunting, fishing, pollution and urbanisation. uShaka educates the public and supports local ecology initiatives in a bid to protect this biodiversity.
The Golden Mile
This is a deceptive name, as this strip actually extends for some four miles, between Blue Lagoon and Addington Beach. The promenade is wide and spacious enough for jogging, cycling and walking. The Golden Mile invites locals and visitors to enjoy the beautiful views (best savoured from many piers that offshoot from the promenade and the views are visible from the many hotels in Durban that line the beachfront). Bicycles can be hired for those who want to make the most of this scenic loveliness in the saddle.
The Durban Botanic Gardens
These are the country’s oldest gardens, having been established in 1849. They are renowned for being the home of the world’s best living fossil collection – cycads that are believed to be about 250 million years old. Facing possible extinction, these present a scene that is prehistoric and mysterious. This offers a great adventure for young and old alike, who would like to discover and explore a world of millennia past.
Watch the Sharks Play
Those that are less inclined to get into the water with these animals should definitely visit the new stadium (Mr. Price Kings Park, better known as the Shark Tank) and watch the KwaZulu-Natal team show why they are a world-renowned force to be reckoned with, as they compete against some of the world’s toughest rugby giants. This arena can accommodate up to 52 000 seated fans and is well-equipped to handle all of their refreshment, entertainment and ablution requirements.
Other local attractions include the Inanda Heritage Trail, the many stunning beaches of Durban, and the ever-popular Umhlanga Rocks.