Otherwise known as eThekwini (Zulu meaning ‘bay’ or ‘lagoon’), Durban is the largest city in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. It serves as the most important manufacturing hub of South Africa after Johannesburg and is the busiest port in South Africa as well as Africa.
Often left out when one thinks of a visit to South Africa’s main cities, Durban really is something to behold. You could say Durban mixes the business life of Johannesburg with the play of Cape Town but with a touch of it’s own distinctive flavour. With its luxurious beaches and subtropical climate, Durban is well known for it’s Ibiza-like night scene.
It was first inhabited by Zulu tribes (evidence in the Drakensberg Mountains place their location here from 100,000 BC) and is still to this day mainly Zulu. It is the capital of the ‘Zulu Kingdom’.
Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, was the first European to discover KwaZulu-Natal when he sailed parallel to its coast at Christmastide in 1497, searching for a route from Europe to India. He named it ‘Natal’ (Christmas in Portuguese).
What’s special about Durban? African languages and influences are most strongly felt here. Everyone in Durban speaks Zulu, it being the only city in SA that offers Zulu as a second mandatory language.
Durban is part modern city part beach city with a large dose of Africa on top. It has many attractions of every variety, its Golden Mile (which has been filmed and photographed countless times for it’s beauty) as well as its national parks and historic sites of Zulu Kingdoms and the Drakensberg Mountain Range are must visits. Not forgetting the magnificent Moses Mabhida Stadium launched in time for the FIFA World Cup which the city co-hosted in 2010.
Durban, a beach city in South Africa, is already stealing the spotlight from top cities across the world with its hefty share of global tourists’ quotient. One of the beautiful things the city offers is its gorgeous coastlines of nice beaches.
A notable Durban attraction that you must see is the Golden Mile. It is a strip of beaches and piers linked by lined palm. Its wide, brick-paved promenade makes it easy to walk, jog, or bike the route. Tourists often detour out on the piers to watch surfers, kite boarders, and sand castle architects, or soak in the warm Indian Ocean breeze with friendly promenade.
Rivertown with its popular market, beer hall and soon to be completed raft boutique for local brands also stands out.
The uShaka Marine World is a place to get a great bang! It has one of the world’s largest aquariums—the uShaka sea world, and it is home to rays and assorted pelagic fish, including sardines, tuna and dorado (mahi-mahi). This is where you also experience the Shark Dive.
KwaMuhle Museum is the place dedicated to Durban racial history. There are Photographs, government documents, videos, and personal testimonials that illustrate the Durban history, especially the courage of the ordinary South Africans who challenged apartheid and won. The Inanda Heritage Trail which has key chapters in South African history is another key historic site.
Two things you should not miss: good news and good food! Fortunately, both may be one and the same! The good news is Durban is cooking! Don’t get things mixed up, we don’t mean the temperature. We are talking about the mouth-watering Durban cuisines and wines. From Ethiopian food to spicy Szechuan and bunny chow to artisan charcuterie, there’s something for every palate; and you don’t need to go far to get all of these. The city has nice hotels, restaurants and bars with some foreign and South African’s culinary offerings, top quality alcohol brands, award-winning wineries and chocolatiers.
Some of the popular foods in Durban are Bunny chow—a mutton or bean curry crammed into a hollowed-out white loaf, fresh sardines on toast with onions, Shisa Nyama—hot and flavourful barbecue, Bombay Crush—a frothy blend of rose-colored Rooh Afza syrup, milk, and tukmaria (basil) seeds topped with a couple of dollops of vanilla ice cream, mogodu (tripe), amadumbi (Zulu potatoes), and pap (hard maize porridge). The list is almost endless!