Durban Things to Do

  • Rockpools at Umhlanga
    Rockpools at Umhlanga
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Beach at Umhlanga
    Beach at Umhlanga
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt

Best Rated Things to Do in Durban

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    Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World

    by GerryFM Written Nov 11, 2003

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    Art Deco Buildings at Suncoast Casino in Durban

    A new landmark on Durban's Golden Mile is the new and impressive Art Deco Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World.

    Itis the biggest single private sector investment to have been undertaken on Durban's beachfront with a total investment of R1.4 billion. With it's combination of gaming, retail and leisure elements, it is guaranteed to provide patrons with an unparalleled array of premier entertainment opportunities for the whole family.

    Phase 1 of the Art Deco themed Suncoast Casino & Entertainment World, opened on 29 November 2002, and boasts a casino area with no less than 1250 slot machines & 50 gaming tables; a variety of dining options and entertainment guaranteed to thrill the whole family. Completing the line-up, one of Durban's most popular attractions, the Suncoast Waterworld theme park, has been included in the complex.

    Phase 2 opened on 25 June 2003 and includes the Suncoast Nu Metro CineCentre, conferencing facilities, beach access plus additional restaurants, entertainment venues and shops.

    Subsequent phases, opening in 2005, will offer white-knuckle rides and a luxury hotel.

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    • Casino and Gambling

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    Leisurely observe the bustle of Durban harbour

    by CatherineReichardt Updated May 14, 2012

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    Entrance to Durban Harbour
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    I always think that harbours are fascinating places, bustling with activity, which makes them great places to kick back and watch other people work!

    Durban is South Africa's busiest port, with much of the shipping now being containerised. Having done two moves across the Indian Ocean myself, I always find it a little sobering to see the ships piled high with sea containers - they look just a little too precarious when you consider that they're heading out into the open ocean, which probably explains how I justified spending such a fortune on shipping insurance at the time!

    Being south of the CBD and surrounded by warehouses, the harbour used to be a bit off the beaten track, but the development of uShaka World just to the north has reinvigorated the whole area and given it a new lease on life. Because of their proximity, it makes sense to incorporate the two into a day out, and they provide an interesting combination of experiences.

    The view across the harbour entrance to The Bluff is one of Durban's most famous.

    As with most harbours, Durban's offers a seafood restaurant from which you can watch the boats come and go - it's several years since we visited, but at the time, the food was good and reasonably priced.

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    Aquarium at uShaka World is worth a visit

    by CatherineReichardt Updated May 14, 2012

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    (work in progress)
    The aquarium at uShaka World is a welcome addition to Durb's tourist offerings.

    The design of the aquarium is based on a sunken ship and is frankly odd. Aesthetically it didn't excite me, but I have to credit it for being original, and it will probably appeal to kids (mine weren't with me at the time to offer a definitive opinion).

    The best exhibit for me was the tank entirely devoted to stonefish, which wasn't something that I'd seen elsewhere. These highly venomous fish rely on camouflage and make staggeringly convincing stones - on first inspection, I estimated that there were three or four in the tank, but the more I looked, the more there were, and the final head count was well over a dozen!

    One of the great attractions of uShaka World is that you can snorkel in one of the larger tanks: not the shark or stonefish tank, I should add! I visited late in the day, so didn't see anyone doing this, but I imagine that it must be amazingly exciting for kids who are only learning to snorkel to do so in close proximity to some pretty big fish! Don't know how they'd cope with huge numbers in peak season, but presumably they manage this - maybe the cost is exorbitant ;) ???

    On the downside, I found that the signage in the aquarium was sub standard, and the notices that were in place weren't always obvious. On this count, the Two Oceans aquarium in Cape Town is streets ahead, and, to my mind, is the better of the two aquaria. Having said that, if you're not going to visit Cape Town and/or you're in Durban anyway and looking for something to do with the kids - especially if the weather's not good - this is an excellent option (and, let's face it, your kids are going to try and drag you to uShaka World anyway, so you might as well give in gracefully!)

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    • Aquarium

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    uShaka - Aquarium aquatics

    by Gillybob Updated Jan 12, 2008

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    Enjoying a snuba experience!
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    uShaka is the fairly recently built aquarium on the sea front at Durban. As with all aquariums, it will take a while for the tanks to bed in and look like their intended natural locations, but they are already very well stocked. There is also an adjoining water park where the kids can have a great time riding all the slides into the pools.

    This aquarium also gives you the options of a snorkel tank where there is plenty to see, even if the tank still has a very new look about it.

    There is also the opportunity to take a snuba where you go down to between 3 and 4 metres attached to an air hose. In the snuba tank there are non-predatory sharks and rays as well as fish.

    uShaka Sea World and Wet 'n' Wild is open Monday to Sunday 09:00 to 18:00.

    Related to:
    • Aquarium
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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    The Sardine Run

    by GerryFM Written Oct 31, 2003

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    The Sardine Run

    Witness the phenomenon of the annual sardine run or as the locals like to call it 'The greatest shoal on earth.'

    Every June or July, huge shoals of sardines leave their home on the Aghulas Banks to make their way northward to Mozambique along the coast travelling close in-shore and even, occasionally beaching themselves.

    'Sardine fever' sets in as thousands of people rush to the seaside to help themselves to these tasty morsels. Serious fishermen take to their ski-boats to take advantage of the excellent fishing afforded by the number of game fish following the sardines. Thousands of bottlenose and common dolphins as well as the humpback, southern right and mink whales are in pursuit. Add to this hundreds of Cape gannets and seagulls circling overhead and you have spectacular ocean frenzy that is believed to be unique to this coastline.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Mini Town

    by ratherton Written Oct 7, 2003

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    Mini Town is just back from the North Beach in Durban. My parents always used to take me and my sister here when I was a child so in May 2003 when I was back in Durban, I couldn't resist the opportunity to go back there again.

    Mini Town is exactly what it says it is. It's model town with exact replicas of Durban's best known buildings scaled down to 1/24 size.

    Related to:
    • Theme Park Trips

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    Gateway Shopping Centre

    by MikeAtSea Written Apr 5, 2005

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    Gateway Shopping Centre

    One of the largest shopping centres for the metro Durban is situated in Umhlanga Rocks.
    Built in sugar cane land this shopping complex offers besides plenty of shopping, a climbing tower, an IMAX theatre, a surfing venue and tons of restaurants and cafes.
    Best you check the web link below for more information and also certain special activities that may occur there.

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    • Theater Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    Queen Victoria Statue

    by MikeAtSea Written Feb 11, 2005

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    Queen Victoria Statue

    Natal which is known as KwaZulu Natal today was the only province of South Africa where British influence was predominant since the settler times. Hence a lot of people still say Natal – the last British Outpost. Victoria the long reigning Empress has got her statue right opposite the Town Hall.

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    Relax at the tranquil Umgeni River Bird Park

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jun 25, 2011

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    Roller
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    The Umgeni River Bird Park is located just inland of the Umgeni River mouth, and has been constructed in a disused quarry. The rather uninspiring website listed below doesn't do it justice, but I have included it nonetheless to provide access to up-to-date information on opening hours and pricing.

    The old quarry walls have been cleverly landscaped to create waterfalls and cliffs, and the dense vegetation provides is a lot of shade, which is extremely welcome on a hot day.

    The Umgeni River Bird Park was opened in April 1984 and was privately funded by a group of bird enthusiasts who saw a need for education. By 1989, the park was recognised as the “Premier Durban Attraction” by the Durban Tourism Board and was home to over 4,500 birds of 400 different species. The park pioneered the concept of the Free Flight Bird Show in South Africa as early as 1995 (now also a feature of the excellent Montecasino Bird Park in Johannesburg).

    As is sadly so often the case, problems set in when the original founder retired in 1997 and the park was sold to the Tsogo Sun entertainment group. Tsogo Sun closed the park at the end of August, 2009 but it was reopened in June 2010 after the Regency Foundation Network agreed to fund its purchase and the City of Durban committed to taking over the operating expenses.

    Obviously the birds are the main attraction, but the attractively landscaped surroundings and peaceful ambience are also a major drawcard. For families and animal enthusiasts, it is a logical add on to the wildlife experiences of the aquarium at uShaka World and the Natal Sharks Board at Umlanga Rocks, as well as the excellent inland game reserves such as Hluhluwe.

    Sadly we haven't had the chance to visit the Bird Park in several years, but I hope that it is still as lovely place to retreat as it was back in 2003 - if you visit, please let me know what it's like today!

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    Umhlanga beach: sand + rockpools = ideal for kids!

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jun 25, 2011

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    Beach at Umhlanga
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    I must confess up front that I've never really been a 'beach person' but since I had kids, I am fast discovering their virtues!

    Umhlanga (pronounced "Um - shlanga") is located a short drive north of Durban and is one of the North Coast's most famous beaches. I like it because although it's a beautiful beach, it's not just a stretch of sand and offers lots of rock pools to explore - much more my sort of thing!

    Umhlanga is a major holiday destination, and offers all the amenities and entertainment that you would expect as a result. As KZN has a subtropical climate, the tourist season is not as limited as that in the Cape (its major competitor) and Umhlanga attracts visitors pretty well year round, as well as a large number of retirees. If I might offer a word of advice, avoid visiting during the long Christmas holidays and over Easter unless you want to pay top dollar and really enjoy (lots and lots of) company!

    For me, the biggest attraction of Umlanga has always been the brilliant Natal Sharks Board centre at Umhlanga Rocks (see my travel tip), and combining beach and Sharks Board would be a really great day out.

    This area got hit by storms a couple of years ago, and has been upgraded as a result - I haven't visited since, but it was pretty nice before, so it must be even better now!

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    Moses Mabhida Stadium - Sky Car

    by MikeAtSea Updated Jan 12, 2010

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    Moses Mabhida Stadium - Sky Car
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    One of the newest additions to Durban is the sky car that operates from the Northern side of the newly built Moses Mabhida Soccer Stadium. The car takes you right to the top of the arch that allows specatacular views over the beachfront and city.

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    • Adventure Travel
    • Architecture

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    Smuts Statue

    by MikeAtSea Written Feb 11, 2005

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    Smuts Statue

    Seldom does one see a statue of an Afrikaaner in former British nominated regions of the world. Exception is Jan Christian Smuts who changed sides from the Boer Army to join the British Forces in successful battles against the Germans during World War I. His statue is placed outside the town hall as well as outside Westminster in London

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    The Valley of the Thousand Hills

    by MikeAtSea Updated Feb 11, 2005

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    The Valley of the Thousand Hills

    On the Western outskirts is this stretch of rural country side directly outside of the city of Durban. Here many Zulus reside next to small towns and the garden suburbs of Durban. The parallel road to the main highway N3 makes a lovely drive with beautiful views over dams and villages.

    Related to:
    • School Holidays
    • Road Trip
    • Family Travel

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    The Drakensberg

    by MikeAtSea Written Feb 11, 2005

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    The Southern Drakensberg

    About two hours drive inland from Durban are the Drakensberg a mountain range that goes above 3500 meters. Here mountain walks, unspoiled valleys and the adventurous Sani Pass invite the mountain lovers. During the winter months of June and July it is possible that it even snows here even though that in Durban one still swims in the sea.

    Related to:
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Road Trip

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    The Vasco da Gama Clock

    by MikeAtSea Written Feb 11, 2005

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    The Vasco da Gama Clock

    A present from the Portuguese Gouvernement to the city of Durban commemorating the 25th of December 1498 when da Gama discovered the region of what is today Durban. The original name Natal comes from the Portuguese word for Christmas still remembering the originally discovery as the Christmas Province.

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    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture

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Durban Things to Do

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