Durban, South Africa

Name: Durban
Province: KwaZulu-Natal
Map: Google Map
Population: 3064624
Altitude: 0m
Geography: The city is located on a huge natural lagoon that forms its harbour with a range of hills inland that are the remains of fossilized sand-dunes.
Climate: Sub-tropical, mild and sunny winters, hot and humid summers. Average temperatures are around 16 to 25° C year round.
Key Economic Sectors: Tourism, transport, agriculture, manufacturing
Football Clubs: Amazulu, Golden Arrows, Thanda Royal Zulu, Maritzburg United (Premier) Durban Stars, Nathi Lions (1st Division)
Stadium: Durban Stadium

Place to See

BAT Centre – A colourful bohemian arts centre started in 1995 as a job-creation and training project. It houses upmarket art and craft shops, artists’ studios (explore a bit to find them), occasional live music, and a bar-restaurant (Trans-African Express), all cut through with a lively trans-Africa theme. Free activities, such as regular drum circles, are on offer.

Botanic Gardens – A 20-hectare garden with one of the rarest cycads, Encephalartos woodii, as well as many species of bromeliad and is a pleasant place to wander. On weekends local bridal parties galore pose with their petals for the photographers. The gardens play host to an annual concert series featuring the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and other concerts.

Dick King Statue – Near Gardiner St, commemorates the historic ride of this teenager in 1842 to fetch a British frigate, after the Boers took control of Durban.

Harbour – Busiest in Southern Africa (and the ninth busiest in the world). A pleasant place to view the activity is from Wilson’s Wharf or the balcony at the BAT Centre.

Mini Town – A typically tacky model city with replicas of Durban’s best-known buildings of the 1970s – best for the mini adults.

Promenade – The Promenade is the pedestrianised tourist superhighway running up the beach from Smith St north of uShaka. On the other side of the road, particularly along Marine Pde, you will find the canyon of high-rise hotels, bars, restaurants and nightclubs typical of seaside cities from Florida to Queensland.

Sun Coast Beach – The casino’s Sun Coast Beach is a safe and pleasant spot to lie and bake. It has lawn, deck chairs and brollies.

Umgeni River Bird Park – Umgeni River Bird Park on the Umgeni River makes for a relaxing escape from the throng. You can see many African bird species in lush vegetation and aviaries. Look out for the chicks in the ‘baby room’.

uShaka Marine World – Divided into several areas (Sea World, Wet’n’Wild World and uShaka Beach), uShaka Marine World boasts one of the world’s largest aquariums, the biggest collection of sharks in the southern hemisphere, a seal stadium, a dolphinarium, marine animals and exhibits, a mock-up 1940s steamer wreck featuring two classy restaurants, a shopping centre, enough freshwater rides to make you seasick, and a beach featuring activities from surfing lessons to kayaking.

Vasco da Gama Clock – A florid Victorian monument on the Victoria Embankment just east of Stanger St, was presented by the Portuguese government in 1897, the 400th anniversary of Vasco da Gama’s sighting of Natal.

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2 thoughts on “Durban, South Africa

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