7 things to do in Durban
- Explore the Indian District
Two waves of Indian emigration—one of indentured servants under British rule beginning in 1860 and the second by traders in the 1880s onward—helped make Durban home to the highest concentration of Indians outside India. You can stop off at the Zulu Muti (traditional medicine) Market and the Victoria Street Market (the Vic), where dealers in traditional kurtas and saris hawk incense, ornately embroidered fabrics, and aromatic spices.
- Stroll or Bike the Golden Mile
Named for the golden sand beaches lining the coastal edge of the city’s central business district, the popular “Mile” actually extends about four miles from Blue Lagoon south to Addington Beach and Durban Harbor. A wide, brick-paved promenade makes it easy to walk, jog, or bike the route, detouring out on the piers to watch surfers and kite boarders or soak in the warm Indian Ocean breeze.
- Learn About the “Durban System” at KwaMuhle Museum
Housed in the former headquarters of the city’s Native Affairs Department (colonial-era architects of the “Durban System” racial segregation policies), the KwaMuhle Museum shares the story of Durban’s past and present. Topics covered range from black migration and apartheid to ongoing “green street” (energy-saving retrofitting and indigenous tree planting) efforts in historic Cato Manor township. Photographs, government documents, videos, and personal testimonials illustrate how the Durban System provided the framework for the national apartheid policy. True to its name—isiZulu for “the place of the good one”—the museum celebrates the courage of the “ordinary” South Africans who challenged racist policies and won.
- Walk Among “Living Fossils” at the Botanical Gardens
Founded in 1849, Africa’s oldest surviving botanical gardens houses one of the world’s top collections of “living fossil” plants. These pre-dinosaur cycads (seed-producing plants extending back 250 million years) face possible extinction in the wild. The Wood's Cycad species is named for founding Durban Botanic Gardens curator and botanist John Medley Wood, who, in 1895, discovered a single, surviving cycad plant in a Zululand forest. Walking through the Gardens’s cycad forest is a bit like stepping onto the set of Jurassic Park. No dinosaurs here, but the pink-backed pelicans sitting in the trees do look eerily like pterodactyls.
- Hit the Beach
Comfortable sea temperatures averaging 70°F year-round, a subtropical climate, and 300-plus days of sunshine make any day in Durban a potential beach day. Each stretch of golden sand has its own identity: South Coast for world-class surfing, Addington Beach for families, Bay of Plenty for beach volleyball tournaments. The Golden Mile beaches closest to Durban’s city center are the most convenient.
- Visit Moses Mabhida Stadium
The Moses Mabhida Stadium boasts some impressive views of the city and coastline. Take a trip on the SkyCar or make the 550-step adventure walk to the top of the arch and enjoy panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and Durban. Or take a look inside the stadium with one of our all-access (90 minute) or general (45 minute) tours. For the adrenaline junkies, try plunging off the 106 metre arch on the Big Swing.
- Hang out on Florida Road
With its warm street vibe, spending time on Florida Road in Durban is an atmospheric experience. Home to a range of restaurants, galleries, boutiques, studios and bars, Florida Road has earned its reputation as one of the city's trendiest streets, where people gather to shop, eat, drink, meet and hang out.
When eating out in Durban, your choice of cuisine is extensive, with African, Indian, Mediterranean or European-inspired menus.
Meat is almost always of a high standard wherever you are, and a number of restaurants offer a variety of game such as springbok, ostrich and kudu. Vegetarians, however, will find their choice rather limited. South Africa is a meat-loving country and menus rarely include anything but the most basic dishes for vegetarians.
provides hundreds of reviews and contact details for restaurants throughout the country.
South Africa is home to a wealth of diverse destinations and experiences. Popular destinations outside of Durban include Nelson Mandela’s capture site
, Mahatma Gandhi’s Phoenix Settlement
, and further afield there’s the option of flying to Cape Town or Johannesburg.
More information is available at www.southafrica.net/za/en/articles/overview/durban