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8 exciting Durban, South Africa city experiences

8 exciting Durban, South Africa city experiences.

8 exciting city experiences
8 exciting Durban, South Africa city experiences.
Durban is mostly known as an attractive beach destination but the city has so much more to offer. Dorine Reinstein investigates.

1. Watch the sunset from the Golden Mile


The Durban beachfront has received a substantial upgrade over the past few years and is now showcasing hot and trendy new dining spots like Afro’s Chicken, California Dreaming and Surf Rider’s Cafe.

Strolling along the Golden Mile Beach promenade at sunset is without a doubt one of the city’s best experiences, says Elsa Watson, Marketing Manager, N3 Gateway. “It’s one experience not to miss because it’s beautiful and the cosmopolitan culture is authentically alive at the beachfront,” she says.

Durban’s Golden Mile is popular and famous for surfing, fishing, jogging, swimming and cycling, says Mayasree Moodley, PR Officer, Durban Tourism. The numerous beach restaurants and bars dotted along this strip will keep travellers entertained.

2. Sip cocktails at Moyo


Moyo, with its unique location on the Pier of Durban, offers panoramic views from where travellers can see the city. “The building is a Top 10 architectural landmark in Durban. We have our main restaurant, capable of hosting up to 500 guests and functions of up to 1 000 people. The restaurant is a work of hand-made art in the African tradition and boasts views of the ocean and promenade,” says Brett Cronje, General Manager, Moyo uShaka.

3. Indulge in the city’s culinary offering


Durban is a melting pot of different cultures, which has translated into a rich culinary offering with exciting flavours and tastes. Home to the largest Indian community in the world outside of India, eating one of Durban’s local curries should be at the top of the list of any adventurous traveller, particularly Durban’s most famous fast food dish – bunny chow – which consists of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with Indian curry. “Nothing is as delicious as the flavours of a hearty Durban Indian community.”

Durban’s African cuisine is also a big draw. Travellers can immerse themselves in the city’s rich township lifestyle by experiencing the rich history of the Woza eNanda Heritage Route, says Moodley. “No visit is complete without visiting a township restaurant, such as Shisanyama Experience, where fresh meat is grilled on coal. Max Lifestyle in Umlazi is also a popular hangout.”

3. Get your adrenaline fix at the Moses Mabhida Stadium


The Moses Mabhida Stadium, built for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, is an attraction that has changed the perception of Durban, says Phillip Sithole, Head of Durban Tourism. “The design is not a design of today, it’s a design of tomorrow. It shows that we are forward thinking and tells a story about how the city will position itself in years to come.”

For the ultimate adrenalin rush, travellers can climb the stadium’s iconic arch and then take a leap from the top. “Tourists can get their adrenaline pumping with the Big Rush Stadium Swing or, for a more relaxed ride, they can enjoy a 360 degree view of Durban from a trip on the Sky Car,” says Moodley.

4. Uncover the underwater world at uShaka


One of the world’s largest aquariums, uShaka Marine World, encompasses the Wet and Wild Water Park, Sea World and the Village Walk Shopping Centre.

Travellers can enjoy a large number of experiences at the marine world, which is a responsible and sustainable operation. The Ocean Walker experience will allow tourists to walk slowly across the bottom of the Open Ocean Exhibit, with a tethered breathing helmet. They will see rays and assorted pelagic fish that include tuna, dorado and sardines. Visitors can also go swim with sharks. Guests step into a clear, enclosed cylinder and drop into the large shark tank as part of the Shark Dive Experience.

5. Explore the city on a ricksha


A ricksha tour is a unique local way to explore Durban’s Golden Mile. “This is one of my fondest childhood memories. I remember being fascinated by the colours of the ricksha and the strength of our ‘driver’,” says Watson.

Travellers will find authentic ricksha-pullers along the beachfront. They wear magnificent head-dresses adorned with beads and other decorations.

6. Soak up the city’s rich Indian heritage


Travellers can spend a day exploring Indian traditions and culture, which have become interwoven into the tapestry of modern Durban. “This includes visiting places that played a significant role in the life of Gandhi during the period when he lived in the city,” says Brad Glenn, MD The Inside Edge. Tourists can also visit the bustling markets and impressive temples. “The day then culminates with visitors joining a local family in their home, sharing in a feast of Indian dishes and delicacies.”

7. Follow the Inanda Heritage Trail


Inanda, a township northwest of Durban, is significant in South Africa’s history. Mahatma Gandhi nurtured his passive-resistance philosophy here as an Indian expat lawyer in 1904. John Dube, first president of the African National Congress, was born in Inanda in 1871 and opened the local Ohlange Institute where, in 1994, Nelson Mandela voted in South Africa’s first democratic elections.

The Inanda Heritage Trail encompasses key historic sites, including Gandhi’s Phoenix Settlement and the Inanda Seminary, one of South Africa’s oldest schools for girls.

8. Visit the city’s vibrant markets


Durban has a great number of local markets that showcase the city’s rich culture. The Morning Trade, for example, is a weekly market for local farmers, artisanal product producers and organic merchants to share their wares with Durban’s public. It is a place to source locally-produced fresh and speciality goods, or just to meet friends over delicious artisan food and drink in Durban’s newest community-orientated market.

The Victoria Street Market, on the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets in Durban, is the most popular Indian market in KZN. When you enter the market, you feel like you’ve stepped into a different world. The market is set in a tall building with an ornate structure and purple Indian minarets. It was built at the beginning of the 1980s to replace the famous 1910 Indian market, which was destroyed by fire in 1973.

Even though the Victoria Market is best known for its amazing food, with the entire ground floor dedicated to food produce, visitors can also buy saris, scarves, arts and crafts, woven baskets, beaded dolls and animals and oriental ceramics. The market is a must for anyone who wants to experience Durban’s rich culture and pick up fantastic bargains at the same time.

Why not visit Durban, South Africa today?  Ask us now!

This post is adapted from Southern Africa Tourism

Filed under: Southern African Travel Blogs

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Amanda Sampaio

A bit about me: I am Rhodesian born, grew up in Zululand, South Africa. Post matriculation, I studied a 3 year Travel & Tourism National Diploma; I then spent 7.5 years (during the mid-90’s) working in various operational roles for SAA at the old Durban Airport; My husband, son & I then moved to the UK and lived in south-west London (Worcester Park) for 10.5 years – I worked for 3.5 years in Local Government (at Epsom & Ewell Borough Council) and then for 7 years for QANTAS as part of the Cabin Crew Ground Management Team based at Heathrow and later with Qantas Corporate Sales based in their London Hammersmith office. My family and I have been back in South Africa for almost 3 years now (having missed too much of our family, SA sunshine and braai’s) and during our time back, we are also delighted to have welcomed our 17 month old baby girl into our family! Travel is definitely my passion and is in my ‘blood’ as I am firmly back in the travel seat with my current role within Sales and Marketing at iGo Travel and look after this for our newly launched brand ‘iGO Africa’.