Sitting on a set of hills overlooking the Indian Ocean lies one of the largest cities in Africa, along with some of the best beaches in the world. The City of Durban, known for its sunny weather, beautiful scenery, and international flavor, remains one of the top tourist destinations on the African continent. Miles of sandy beaches, delicious Indian curries, and flavors of the Zulu culture help make Durban a “must-see” destination. For a unique and dynamic vacation, head to KwaZulu-Natal on the southeast coast of South Africa and the incredible metropolis that is Durban.
Beautiful beaches and coastline define Durban. Known as “The Golden Mile,” the beaches near downtown Durban are known for their excellent surfing and perfect weather. Although there is the occasional shark attack, Durban’s beaches are popular with locals and tourists alike. Fabulous restaurants and inviting bars line “the mile.” Victoria Embankment is a popular place for tourists to stop off for a drink. Zacks, located on Wilson’s Wharf, is a great place to get drinks, relax, and take in the panoramic view of the harbor. Joe Kool’s has a rooftop patio and is a wonderful place to watch the sunset while listening to jazz. Along the embankment are frequent free concerts and performances. The Florida Road area is one of the trendiest places in Durban, with hundreds of cafes, boutiques, restaurants, and swanky cocktail lounges. For a historical experience, be sure to visit Mahatma Gandhi’s former residence in Durban.
As far as accommodations go, Durban has hotels and hostels that cover the spectrum. Hampshire Hotel Ballito is a favorite among South African celebrities. This hotel has beach access, and also has many deals for families and business travelers. The Grange Guest House in Upper North Durban is removed from the beach, but offers a forested, suburban setting. Most rooms have expansive sea views. Tekweni Backpackers on 9th Avenue is a fun and young place to stay in Durban. They also offer local tours, barbecues, and are in walking distance of Durban Station. Durban hosts plenty of young travelers, so there are dozens of hostels and backpacker lodges.
Durban is located in the middle of the state of KwaZulu-Natal, which is home to the native Zulu culture as well as the largest Indian population outside of India. This being said, there are plenty of traditional Zulu markets around the city, with the most famous being at the Victoria Embankment. Durban curry is a popular dish and is often served in a hollowed out bread bowl referred to as a “bunny chow”. The Morningside area has hosted several celebrities and dignitaries at their charming sidewalk cafes. Do not forget to try “biltong,” or South African style jerky, for a quick snack.
Durban is sure to provide a diverse and dynamic vacation experience. While the city is tourist friendly, crime is still an issue. Never go to the Mahatma Gandhi Road area, and stick to main streets after dark. Regardless, Durban deserves a place at the top of everyone’s travel list.