What to See and Do in Durban, South Africa

We wanted to expand on our episode 5 Things to Do in Durban, South Africa by giving you a few extra options of what to see and do in the great city of Durban. I had the pleasure of visiting Africa’s third largest city for three incredible days and take in some of the local culture, cuisine, and popular sights.

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Durban is a wonderful mix of gritty, cosmopolitan, modern, and traditional – a true melting pot of Zulu culture and African hospitality. The city is home to the busiest seaport in Africa, but it also boasts beaches, vibrant markets, tasty local dishes, and proximity to South Africa’s unique wildlife.

Here is my list for things to see and do in Durban:

Moses Mabhida Stadium

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The futuristic Moses Mabhida Stadium isn’t jus the stadium that was used during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It’s also home to world’s tallest swing according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The Big Rush swing has a height of over 721 feet (220 meters). If you’re not into that kind of adrenaline rush, but still want to enjoy the views from the stadium, the SkyCar gives you the chance to discover Durban from a 106m-high vantage point. For R60 per person,

Golden Mile

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Durban’s Golden Mile, or “The Mile” for short, is one of the city’s most popular attractions. This pedestrian-friendly beachfront promenade is 6 kilometers long and has a wide stretch of sandy beach, which is perfectly safe for swimming and surfing thanks to a system of shark nets. It’s also a great place to browse the crafts of local vendors, stop and have a casual lunch, check out the Blue Lagoon fishing spot where the uMngeni River flows into the sea, or stop into uShaka Marine World for a visit (see below).

uShaka Marine World

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uShaka Marine World is the largest aquarium in Africa. Aside from having a vast collection of marine life, uShaka Marine World boasts several activities for every age and interest. Some of these include the Wet n’ Wild water park, sea animal encounters (dolphins, rays, sharks), Chimp & Zee zipline park, not to mention the Cargo Hold restaurant situated inside a shipwreck. General admission is R175.

Victoria Street Market

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The Victoria Street Market, also known as the Indian Market, is the perfect place to get your Durban souvenirs. Pick up some Indian curry powder or spice packets to take home with you. I especially loved browsing the meat, seafood, and produce market on the ground floor. There are also a few vendors selling handmade African crafts such as paintings, sculptures, and masks. The Victoria Street Market is open from 8am to 6pm (Monday-Saturday); 10am to 4pm (Sunday and public holidays).

House of Curries

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It would be a shame to visit Durban and miss out on a delicious Indian-inspired meal. House of Curries on Florida Road serves up large portions of authentic curry dishes in a casual setting (think sports bar vibe). The restaurant menu has roti, biryani, samosas, and tandoori dishes, but their claim to fame is the bunny chow (hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry).

Tala Game Reserve

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In less than an hour’s drive from bustling Durban you can be on a thrilling safari in Tala Game Reserve – a mix of open grassland and wetland. Tala is home to Rhino, Kudu, Hippo, Zebra, Giraffe, Sable, and several bird species. They offer game drives and bush walks, and a wonderful break from city life should you desire. Tala also has several types of accommodations ranging from fully services luxury lodges to self-catering rustic cottages.

Umhlanga Rocks

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Umhlanga Rocks is one of the safest areas of Durban, nicknamed the “South Beach of Durban.” It is known for its beautiful oceanfront resorts, upscale nightlife, sandy beaches, and home to Gateway Theatre of Shopping. Gateway is the largest mall in Africa and also the largest mall in the southern hemisphere.

Amanzimtoti

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Just south of Durban, Amanzimtoti (meaning ‘sweet waters’ in Zulu) is an area situated along the Sapphire Coast. Its marine life makes it a popular destination for scuba divers, surfers, snorkelers, and fisherman. There also the Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary, which is home to 150 bird species.

Ballito

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Ballito is another resort town located 40 kilometers from Durban. Visitors come to enjoy its sandy beaches, wonderful surfing conditions, and 2.5-kilometer-long beachfront promenade. The frequent dolphin sightings have earned it the nickname “Dolphin Coast.”

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Where to Stay: Check out AccommoDirect for great Ballito, Amanzimtoti and Durban accommodation deals. Here you can find virtually every type of accommodation: hotel rooms, private homes for rent, self-catering apartments, and more.

Been to Durban? share your suggestions on what to see and do in Durban, leave us a comment below!

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