Durban is a tropical wonder within the borders of South Africa. It is a vibrant city with a rich culture, stunning beaches, and a variety of things to do for every type of traveler. Whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation, history, or entertainment, Durban has something for you.
In this guide, we will show you some of the best attractions and activities that Durban has to offer, from surfing and snorkeling to museums and markets. You will discover why Durban is one of the most popular destinations in South Africa and how to make the most of your visit. Let’s get started!
Activities and Adventure
Durban is a playground for thrill-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts who want to experience some adrenaline-pumping activities and adventures. Here are some of the best options:
- The Big Rush Swing: If you are brave enough, you can try the world’s tallest swing at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and soar through the air at 120 km/h.
- Shark Cage Diving: Get up close and personal with these majestic creatures at Aliwal Shoal or Protea Banks and enjoy an unforgettable encounter with nature.
- Snorkeling: Explore the underwater world of Durban’s coastline and discover a variety of marine life, coral reefs, and shipwrecks.
- Helicopter Rides: Enjoy a bird’s eye view of Durban’s cityscape, beaches, and landmarks from a helicopter and see the city from a different perspective.
Places to Visit and Tourist Attractions
Durban has a rich history, culture, and diversity that can be experienced through its many places to visit and tourist attractions. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Umgeni Steam Train: Take a nostalgic ride on a vintage steam train and enjoy the scenic views of the Valley of 1000 Hills.
- Khangela Brewery: Learn about the craft beer scene in Durban and taste some of the local brews at this microbrewery.
- Rivertown Precinct: Discover the creative side of Durban and visit its art galleries, studios, cafes, and shops in this vibrant area.
- Umhlanga Lighthouse: Admire the iconic landmark that stands on the Umhlanga beachfront and learn about its history and significance.
Durban’s subtropical climate and year-round beach weather make it an ideal destination for a beach holiday. Whether you want to swim, surf, sunbathe, or just relax, Durban has a beach for you. Here are some of the best ones:
- Umhlanga Beach: This is one of the most popular beaches in Durban, offering golden sand, clear water, and a variety of amenities.
- North Beach: This is a great beach for surfing, skating, cycling, and enjoying the promenade that stretches along the coastline.
- Cave Rock: This is a hidden gem for surfers who want to catch some big waves and challenge themselves.
- Bluff: This is a tranquil beach that offers stunning views of the city skyline and the Indian Ocean.
Museums and Art Galleries
Durban has a number of museums and art galleries that showcase its history, culture, and creativity. Here are some of the most interesting ones:
- Phansi Museum: This museum displays a collection of traditional African art and crafts, such as beadwork, baskets, masks, dolls, and more.
- KwaMuhle Museum: This museum tells the story of Durban’s apartheid era and its impact on the lives of its people.
- Durban Art Gallery: This gallery exhibits works by local and international artists, ranging from contemporary to classical styles.
- African Art Centre: This centre promotes and supports emerging artists from Durban and showcases their work in various mediums.
Theatre and Live Shows
Durban has a vibrant theatre and live show scene that offers entertainment for all tastes and preferences. Here are some of the best venues to catch a show:
- The Playhouse Company: This is one of South Africa’s premier theatre companies that stages a variety of productions, such as drama, comedy, musicals, opera, ballet, and more.
- Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre: This is a popular theatre that hosts local and international performances, such as comedy, drama, music, dance, and more.
- The Barnyard Theatre: This is a fun and lively theatre that features live bands, singers, and dancers performing various genres and themes.
- The Rhumbelow Theatre: This is a cosy and intimate theatre that hosts a variety of shows, such as cabaret, jazz, tribute bands, and more.
Movies and Cinemas
Durban has a number of movie theatres and cinemas that cater to different tastes and preferences. Whether you want to watch the latest blockbuster, an indie film, or a classic flick, Durban has a cinema for you. Here are some of the best ones:
- Suncoast Cinecentre: This is a multiplex cinema that offers 8 screens, Dolby sound, and comfortable seating. It is located at the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World on the beachfront.
- Ster-Kinekor Gateway: This is a cinema complex that offers 18 screens, including IMAX, 2D, 3D, and 4DX options. It is located at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Umhlanga.
- Cinema Nouveau: This is a cinema that specializes in art-house and foreign films. It is located at the Musgrave Centre in Berea.
- The Lighthouse: This is a cinema that showcases local and independent films. It is located at the uShaka Marine World on the beachfront.
Nature and Game Reserves
Durban is surrounded by nature and wildlife that can be enjoyed through its many nature and game reserves. Here are some of the best ones:
- Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park: This is one of Africa’s oldest and largest game reserves that is home to the Big Five and other animals. It offers guided safaris, self-drive tours, and accommodation options.
- Isimangaliso Wetland Park: This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that covers a diverse range of ecosystems, such as lakes, forests, coral reefs, and beaches. It offers boat tours, snorkeling, hiking, birdwatching, and more.
- Durban Botanic Gardens: This is Africa’s oldest surviving botanic garden that features a collection of plants from around the world. It offers guided tours, concerts, picnics, and weddings.
- Krantzkloof Nature Reserve: This is a scenic reserve that features a gorge, waterfalls, forests, and grasslands. It offers hiking trails, picnic sites, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing.
Food and Craft Markets
Durban has a number of food and craft markets that offer a variety of local and international cuisine, fresh produce, handmade goods, and live entertainment. Here are some of the best ones:
- Victoria Street Market: This is a bustling market that sells spices, fabrics, jewellery, pottery, and more. It is a great place to experience the multicultural vibe of Durban.
- Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market: This is a weekly market that offers fresh produce, baked goods, cheese, meat, and more. It also has live music, kids’ activities, and a pet-friendly area.
- I Heart Market: This is a monthly market that showcases local designers, artists, and makers. It offers clothing, accessories, homeware, art, and more.
- Essenwood Market: This is a weekly market that offers a variety of food stalls, crafts, plants, antiques, and more. It is set in a park with shady trees and a playground.
Things to Do with Kids
Durban has plenty of things to do with kids that will keep them entertained and happy. Here are some of the best ones:
- uShaka Marine World: This is a marine theme park that features an aquarium, a water park, a dolphin show, a seal show, a penguin show, and more.
- Mini Town: This is a miniature replica of Durban that features landmarks, buildings, trains, planes, and boats. It is fun for kids and adults alike.
- Mitchell Park Zoo: This is a small zoo that houses animals such as monkeys, crocodiles, tortoises, birds, and more. It also has a playground and a tea garden.
- Funworld: This is an amusement park that offers rides, games, and attractions for all ages. It is located on the beachfront and has a cable car that offers panoramic views of the city.
Durban has a number of shopping malls that offer a variety of shops, restaurants, entertainment options, and services. Here are some of the best ones:
- Pavilion Shopping Mall: This is one of the largest shopping malls in South Africa that offers over 230 stores, 40 restaurants, 12 cinemas, an ice rink, a bowling alley, and more.
- Gateway Theatre of Shopping: This is another large shopping mall that offers over 400 stores, 70 eateries, 18 cinemas, an IMAX theatre, a wave park, a skate park, and more.
- Musgrave Centre: This is a stylish shopping mall that offers over 120 stores, 12 restaurants, 8 cinemas, and a rooftop market.
- The Workshop: This is a historic shopping mall that offers over 100 stores, 20 restaurants, and a cultural centre.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Durban has a lively nightlife and entertainment scene that offers something for everyone. Whether you want to dance, drink, listen to live music, or watch a show, Durban has a place for you. Here are some of the best ones:
- Florida Road: This is a trendy street that features a variety of bars, clubs, restaurants, and cafes. It is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
- Cubana: This is a Cuban-themed bar and lounge that offers cocktails, cigars, tapas, and live music. It is located at the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World.
- The Chairman: This is a sophisticated jazz bar and lounge that offers live music, drinks, and snacks. It is located in the Rivertown Precinct.
- The Jazzy Rainbow: This is a cosy jazz club and restaurant that offers live music, drinks, and food. It is located in Morningside.
Other Fun things to do in Durban and Attractions
- Durban City Hall: This is a beautiful colonial building that houses the municipal offices, a library, an art gallery, a museum, and a concert hall.
- Durban Harbour: This is the largest and busiest port in Africa that offers boat tours, cruises, fishing, and sailing.
- Valley of 1000 Hills: This is a scenic area that features rolling hills, valleys, rivers, and waterfalls. It offers cultural tours, ziplining, mountain biking, and more.
- Phezulu Safari Park: This is a park that offers a cultural village, a reptile park, a game drive, and a crocodile feeding show.
- Durban Rickshaw Ride: This is a fun way to explore the beachfront on a colourful rickshaw pulled by a friendly driver.
- Moses Mabhida Stadium: This is a modern stadium that hosts sports and events. It offers a sky car, a bungee swing, a segway tour, and a stadium tour.
Durban is a city that has something for everyone. It is a tropical paradise with beautiful beaches, warm weather, and friendly people. It is also a cultural melting pot with a rich history, diverse cuisine, and vibrant nightlife. It is also a city that offers a variety of fun activities and places to visit, from adrenaline-pumping adventures to relaxing spas. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo trip, Durban will not disappoint you. So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets and start planning your Durban itinerary today!