The vibrantly coloured city of Durban is the perfect paradise for all things beach related. The alluring warm water of the Indian Ocean glides across golden sands for more than 12 km; from the base of Durban Point to South Beach, passing North Beach, Suncoast Casino toward Umhlanga and Blue Lagoon.
Whether it is the classically attired suit wearing businessmen strolling along the beach shore during a lunch break or the multi-coloured maidens dressed in their cultural saris; Durban’s beach attracts them all, even traditional sangomas can be seen collecting ocean water for ancestral rituals.
Outside of Asia, Durban has the largest population of Indians in the world and is truly South Africa’s version of eastern culture meeting western modernity. The city is alive with the gleaming sites of golden domed mosques, the distant sounds of echoing minarets and the mouth watering aroma of zestfully spiced cuisines. Apart from the Indian culture, Durban is probably most famous for uShaka Sea World, which is the largest aquarium in the Southern Hemisphere and boasts one of the world’s top ranking conference centres too.
Durban is ideally situated as the gateway to many surrounding areas, such as Zululand, the historic Battlefields and the majestic valleys of the Drakensberg Mountain Range.
The city’s King Shaka International Airport (KSIA) is linked by numerous daily flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town and other South African cities. There is an excellent road network which makes Durban an ideal destination for the self-drive travellers.
Suggested Stay Details
This is a great beach holiday destination. There is enough variety and activity to fill an entire vacation. We recommend a minimum of 3 nights for a short visit.
Type of Experience
DURBAN CULTURE: The vibrant city of Durban is filled with a bustling atmosphere and friendly locals. The city is a predominant amalgamation of Indian and Zulu communities. Annual Indian festivals occur in various areas in and around Durban which are characterized by jovial markets, firecrackers and even religious body piercing during trans-like states. Zulu influences can be seen in the streets of Durban, from the market selling traditional Zulu crafts to the dramatically dressed men dragging rickshaws throughout the pathways of Durban.
INDIAN CUISINE: A visit to Durban would not be complete without indulging in the succulent tastes of an authentic Indian curry. The combination of zestful spices is truly an art form passed down from generation to generation. Even if your palate is sensitive, you will certainly appreciate the tender, mild to hot curries which are prepared with fiery passion.
Possessing the busiest port in Africa, Durban is equipped with an outstanding network of road and rail transport. The urban areas boast world class infrastructure such as sophisticated banking, large malls and five star rated hotels and resorts. The architecture is a combination of Zulu, Indian and European influences. Elegant Victorian boutique hotels and luxury colonially styled lodges boast spectacular spas and gold estates for your enjoyment.
The coastal regions are picturesquely lined with soft golden beaches and warm Indian Ocean.
The coast was first sighted by the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama in 1497 while searching for a route from Europe to India. Arriving during the Christmas season, da Gama named the area "Natal", which mean Christmas in Portuguese.
In 1824, Lieutenant F. G. Farewell and Henry Francis Fynn arrived in modern Durban and established a settlement on the northern shore of the Bay of Natal. Befriending the Zulu King and aiding his recovery after suffering from a stab wound during battle, Fyn was granted coastal land by Shaka as a gesture of appreciation.
A capital city was built and named “d’Urban” after the governor of the Cape Colony, Sir Benjamin d’Urban. In 1839 the Republic of Natalia was built by the Voortrekkers who were reportedly mistreating many Zulu tribes in the area. As a result, in an attempt to regain territory and establish British rule in Port Natal, the Cape Colony built The Old Fort in 1842 and attacked the Voortrekkers, but the British forces failed and withdrew. After reinforcement arrived to aid the British, the Voortrekkers retreated. In 1844, British rule was firmly established in Durban but due to the conflict, the Zulu population fled the lands.
Large scale immigration from Europe and the Cape Colony occurred since colonial rule. The first sugar cane plantation was established in the 1860’s but due to the evacuation of the Zulu communities, British contracted thousands of indentured Indian’s to work on the plantations.
Today, Durban hosts the largest population of Indian’s outside of Asia and the city boasts Africa’s busiest port.