Travel
My top 12 things to do in Durban
May 10, 2013
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I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve neglected blogging about my home town, mainly because I love Durban so much I’m afraid I won’t do her justice. Durban is not appreciated as much as she should be. Poor Durban, always overshadowed by glamourous big sister Cape Town and rich big brother Joburg.

Since I’m down in Durbs for Tourism Indaba, I thought its time to give my home town some much deserved attention.  Durban is colourful. She’s a beach city with year round summer, a melting pot of cultures and a chilled out vibe. Durban is home and I love it.

Admittedly, Durban has been through a rough patch, but since the upgrade of the beachfront area for the World Cup, I feel like the city is undergoing a rejuvenation. People are using the space, being outdoors and taking advantage of the great weather. It was difficult to choose, but here’s my attempt on must-dos in Durbs.

1.  The Beach

I know this is obvious, but hitting the beach is my favourite thing to do in Durban. The water temperature is generally warm, even in winter, and there’s miles of uncrowded beaches in the middle of the city, not to mention the hot surfers… need I say more?

North beach

2.  Eat a bunny chow

No its not a rabbit. The bunny chow is Durban’s original fast food – basically a chunk of fresh white bread, with a local Durban curry filling. Lamb, mutton, beans and chicken bunny chows are traditional, but these days you get more exotic fillings as the humble bunny chow has made it into some restaurant menus.

bunny chow

Bunny chow (By EricEnfermero CC via Wikimedia Commons)

3. Visit Ushaka Marine World

The Ushaka aquarium is  fun (even for bigs kids like me) as well as educational, and you can even try out the shark cage experience in the shark tank. The water park is great for kids and families and good value if you buy a combo ticket.

4. Explore the Indian District

Take a walk around the Indian district, a testament to Durban’s multiculturalism. Walk down Commissioner and Grey streets, visit the Juma Masjid, the biggest mosque in the southern hemisphere. A must-see is the Victoria street market, famous for its array of Indian spices and the nearby Muti Market, where a herbalist can provide remedies to find your lost lover.

victoria street amrket

5. Enjoy sundowners at Moyo Ushaka pier

 

The view from moyo ushaka pier, DurbanThe view from Moyo Ushaka pier. Nuff said.

6. Experience ekasi cuisine

Enjoy the tastes of traditional ekasi (township) life and African cuisine at Max’s Lifestyle restaurant in Umlazi. Try their famous shisanyama, listen to some ekasi beats and hang out with the locals.

7. Cycle, skate or stroll down the Golden Mile

Rent a bike, borrow some roller blades or just take a stroll down The Golden Mile, a.k.a The Beachfront. Durban’s upgraded promenade is long, broad, beautiful stretch of beach from Blue Lagoon to Ushaka Beach. Buy an ice-cream, walk the piers, check out the skaters or just watch the locals walk by. Invest in an ‘I love Durban’ hat, best R20 I spent!

I hear Durban

9. Party on Florida Road

Florida Road is famous for its nightlife and is jammed with bars, restaurants and clubs. Start off with dinner at Spiga, cocktails at Cubana and choose your club beats to party till dawn.

10. Visit Durban’s iconic Moses Mabida Stadium

Take the sky car up Moses Mabida stadium or if you’re feeling adventurous, try the adventure walk, both offering 360 degree panoramic views of the city. For adrenalin junkies, the stadium also offers its own Big Swing – the only stadium swing in the world, and the highest of its kind. You can also do a guided tours of the stadium.

Moses Mabhida stadium

Moses Mabhida Stadium (Pic By Marcello Casal – CC via Wikimedia Commons)

11. Take a KwaZulu Natal Sharks Board Boat Tour

There are few shark incidents in Kwazulu Natal as its beaches are protected by shark nets. Join a working Sharks Board crew on an early morning boat tour to see the safety system, learn about sharks, and maybe even encounter dolphins and turtles. The Sharks Board also offers shark dissections – very interesting, especially for the kiddos!

12. Take in Durban’s coffee culture

Have a kiff coffee at The Corner Cafe which even comes with some live jazz on weekends. Stock up on your beans and teas at Colombo Coffee and Tea, or  if you feel like a listening to some vinyl with your coffee, head over The Bean Grean for their Bluff Bru blend of premium Ethiopian beans.

For some Durban inspiration, check out this short timelapse video that captures the spirit of the city.

Calling all Durban locals, any other tips on must-do’s in Durban?

 

 

About author

Meruschka Govender

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There are 9 comments

  • Roxanne says:

    After spending many childhood holidays in Durban, I haven’t been back for years. Thanks for reminding me why I should! I remember the Botanical Gardens being cool and beautiful too.

    • mzansigirl says:

      Thanks Roxanne! Definitely worth a revisit, Durban is remembering why it was cool, and has so much going on. Love this city!

  • […] My top 12 things to do in Durban […]

  • Here’s a few of my suggestions:

    1. Reptile Parks
    If you love reptiles as much as I do, you might want to visit one of the reptile parks in Durban. My personal favourites are Crocodile Creek and Phezulu Reptile Park. Both let you get up close with the creatures. Hehe

    2. Run on the Beach Front promenade
    There’s a 10km marked route along the Durban promenade for those runner/walker enthusiasts. Great views of the beaches and Durban hotties :P. This promenade is great for cyclists and roller bladers too

    3. Umhlanga Village – lots of great venues to shop, eat, drink, party, and its close to the beach

    4. Botanical Gardens – awesome place for botanists or just for families to picnic. Durban Botanical Gardens is Africa’s oldest botanical garden, being in operation for over 150 years

    • mzansigirl says:

      Thanks for the suggestions! I think I need to write a follow up post, too many fun things to do in Durban!

  • Marisa says:

    Perfect timing for rereading this piece! We are newcomers to Indaba and hadn’t been to Durban before. Looking forward to seeing you and looking forward to our bunny chow

  • cynthia says:

    I was in durbs last december and thanks to the only gentlement that was a shop assistant at Mango, Gateway shopping centre (on new year’s eve), i discovered a cool bar in the heart of the CBD. The Chairmans is located in a historic precinct but offers world class live entertainment and the venue is as sofisticated as can be! Check it out on http://thechairmanlive.com/.

    The Gateway shopping centere also has some nice botiques for hopeless shopperholics like me.

    Eyadini, a tshisanyama also in Umlazi and down the road from Maxi’s is also a cool spot with a very similar concept to Maxi’s.

    The Suncoast Casino is also a must see especially for those that are hoping to get lucky.

    Its a pity no one told me about the Indian District but i will surely explore it the next time i go to KZN?

    • Meruschka Govender says:

      Hi Cynthia. Thanks for the tips! I love the Chairmain, it’s one of my favourite bars in Durban! I go there almost every time I’m in Durbs, the live jazz is great and so is the atmosphere. Haven’t been to Eyadini but will surely put it on my list.

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