Durban has a lot more to offer in terms of activities to do and places to see than you may think. The capital of the KwaZulu-Natal province is South Africa’s third largest city and one of the country’s most thriving and popular tourist attractions. There are plenty of tourist attractions in Durban ready for you.
It’s a remarkably multicultural city, with a population that includes Zulus (who obviously make up the majority); Indians (who arrived in 1860 to work on the sugar plantations and now make Durban the country’s largest Indian city); British descendants (who arrived in the area in 1823); and Boers, who are direct descendants of the Dutch.
Durban is a terrific spot to visit all year because of the great weather. It’s only one hour flight from Johannesburg and two from Cape Town.
Durban’s rich multi-cultural legacy may be found in the Zulu and Indian marketplaces, as well as culturally significant attractions, beautifully groomed parks along the water, and exquisite Indian-influenced cuisine. See Mrpocu.com list of the top-rated tourist attractions in Durban for more suggestions on where to go.
Tourist Attractions In Durban
Durban Botanic Gardens
The Durban Botanic Gardens are Africa’s oldest surviving botanical garden. The gardens were constructed in 1849 for the testing of agricultural products on the slopes of Berea Hill, northwest of the city center. Visitors can now stroll amid the indigenous and exotic subtropical plantings, which include grand historic trees that are over a century old.
Cycads, orchids, bromeliads, and palms are among the principal plant collections, and tourists can also visit the Garden of the Senses. The gardens are home to at least fifty different species of birds, in addition to the rich plant biodiversity.
Victoria Street Market
The Victoria Street Market’s burst of color, noise, and movement is hidden behind the goofy pink and pastel stucco facade. The two-story facility, affectionately known as The Vic, is effectively an indoor flea and farmer’s market, with over 150 vibrant retail and wholesale vendors. Butchers, fishmongers, and fruit and vegetable vendors set up business on the first level, while kitchen utensils, pots, luggage, garments, wholesale products from China, and carved souvenirs stream into the building’s second-floor corridors.
Many merchants selling silken saris and incense, spices from aromatic and colorful barrels, and Indian handicrafts can be found among the crowd… This isn’t your typical South African market food. The market’s vendors and shoppers represent the city’s multicultural tapestry, which includes the world’s largest population of Indians outside of Asia, and The Vic has long been a shopping hub for the Indian community. Bring your negotiating talents to find some one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Sani Pass, at over 10,000 feet (2,865 meters) above sea level, serves as a connecting point between KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho, a landlocked mountain kingdom. Experience the rocky dirt route cut with hairpin curves on a steep ascent to the top of Sani Pass via 4-wheel-drive. You’ll be rewarded with a bumpy ride and magnificent vistas.
The “Golden Mile” is a fantastic place to start a walking tour of Durban. High-rise hotels, entertainment complexes, stores, and restaurants flank this busy beachside promenade. The wide, golden beaches attract surfers, swimmers, anglers, and sunbathers who come to surf, swim, fish, or simply relax in the sun. The majority of the beaches are protected year-round by lifeguards and shark nets.
Pedestrians jostle with joggers, bikers, Segways, and skateboarders along the bustling beachside walkway, giving the area a California vibe. uShaka Marine World, Moses Mabhida Stadium, and Mini Town, a miniature copy of Durban with a miniature train network, airport, and harbor scene, are among the other attractions along this length of coastline.
Umgeni River Bird Park
The Umgeni River Bird Park, located in the Riverside region on the north bank of the Umgeni River, is home to over 200 kinds of birds, some of which are the only ones of their kind in Africa. Visitors can see a variety of indigenous species as well as birds from Southeast Asia and Australia, such as lories, cockatoos, and aras, on a network of walkways that wind through beautiful landscaping and waterfalls. The park’s bird show is one of its highlights, with visitors learning more about exotic species as they perform. The park is one of the top tourist attractions in Durban.
uShaka Marine World
One of the primary attractions on Durban’s Golden Mile, uShaka Marine World, is a water-themed fantasy packed with thrills. The largest aquarium in the southern hemisphere, Sea World, is situated on replicas of four shipwrecks, and visitors may get up close to aquatic life through underground viewing tunnels.
There’s also a Dolphin Stadium, a Seal Stadium, and a Penguin Rookery here. Wet ‘n’ Wild is a waterpark extravaganza with slides, pools, and super tubes, while uShaka Kids’ World is a playground for kids aged two to twelve. The playgrounds, treasure cave, and creative activities will appeal to children. After a day of fun at the sea-themed attractions, tourists can wander along Village Walk’s outdoor shops and eateries.
Mitchell Park and Jameson Park
Mitchell Park, in the affluent Morningside neighbourhood of Durban, is one of the city’s oldest parks. Because of its shady lawns, large plantings of bright blossoms, and wide wheelchair-friendly paths, it’s also a favourite spot for picnics and walks. The playground, tiny zoo, and walk-through aviary will delight children, while the outdoor cafe will satisfy adults. Jameson Park, which is adjacent to Mitchell Park, has over 200 different types of roses.
Moses Mabhida Stadium
The Moses Mabhida Stadium, which was built to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, is one of the country’s most important sporting and concert venues. On the Durban waterfront, its modern style and enormous arch set it unique. View the city from the top of the arch’s viewing platform, and test your boundaries on the world’s largest stadium swing.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Since 1999, iSimangaliso Wetland Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the first in South Africa), encompassing 820,389 acres (332,000 hectares) of lakes, estuaries, beaches, swamps, coastal dunes, and coral reefs that stretch for 125 miles (200 kilometres) along the Indian Ocean coast. The park is home to more than 6,500 plant and animal species, including 521 bird species, African elephants, humpback whales, loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles, Nile crocodiles, and hippos, thanks to its diverse ecosystems.
The greatest method to see the enormous wetland area is via boat, which allows visitors to get a close look at the region’s fauna. The park also offers scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, camping, and equestrian riding.
Durban City Hall
Durban City Hall, in addition to being a beautiful historic structure in the heart of the city, is also home to a number of interesting attractions. Durban City Hall, also known as eThekwini City Hall, was built in 1910 and is a striking structure. The building’s exterior is ornamented in a neo-Baroque style, with sculptures depicting industry, art, literature, music, and trade, as well as patriotism and solidarity. The structure is nearly identical to Belfast’s city hall. Visitors will wish to visit the Durban Art Gallery and Natural Science Museum, which are both located inside City Hall. Among the exhibits at the museum is a dodo fossil. The City Hall is one of the best tourist attractions in Durban hosting thousands of tourist every year.
The Battle of Isandlwana, which took place on January 22, 1879, was one of the worst military losses in British history. The battle, which took place near the same-named hill in Zululand, occurred early in the Anglo-Zulu war when a British invasion column led by General Lord Chelmsford was ambushed by a 20,000-strong Zulu force, culminating in a humiliating defeat. Stone cairns mark the resting places of troops killed in the war on the Isandlwana Battlefield today. A modest on-site museum and visitors centre displays artefacts, relics, and historical information about the fight, which is especially useful for individuals who are touring the battlefield without a guide.
Valley of a Thousand Hills
The Valley of 1,000 Hills is a magnificent region of gently rounded hills dotted with scenic vistas, Zulu homesteads, and gorges located inland from the popular tourist location of Umhlanga Rocks. As the Umgeni River pours into the Indian Ocean from the distant Drakensberg mountains, the hills grow up along its banks. The historic route between Durban and Pietermaritzburg runs along the valley’s southern border, providing breathtaking vistas.
After going through Hillcrest and Botha’s Hill, travellers will arrive at Phe-Zulu, a historic Zulu hamlet where visitors can watch traditional dance performances and witness witch doctor procedures.
Umhlanga Rocks (pronounced Umshlanga) is a prominent, affluent resort community 16 kilometres north of Durban. The picturesque Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, contains eight interconnected habitats, three main lake systems, and Africa’s largest estuarine system, Lake St. Lucia, stretching 200 kilometres north of Durban and interrupted by rocky coast.
Water sports lovers will find enough to do in Umhlanga Rocks. Some of the water activities available include surfing, deep-sea fishing, whale watching, dolphin watching, scuba diving, and kiteboarding.
Shopping is another popular pleasure. One of the largest shopping malls in the southern hemisphere is the Gateway Theatre of Shopping. Championship golf courses, the KZN Sharks Board, wildlife reserves, and museums, including Mahatma Gandhi’s former home, are among the region’s other attractions.
Florida Road, which runs from Sandile Thusi Road to Innes Road and is known for its well-preserved 100-year-old Edwardian structures, is a popular tourist destination in Durban. The street, which is lined with cafes, boutique stores, galleries, and eateries, comes alive as the sun goes down with locals and tourists who come to eat, shop, and enjoy Durban’s never-ending summer. The African Art Centre, the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery, and the Artisan Contemporary Gallery are also worth seeing for art lovers.
This is the best restaurant in town to try “Bunny Chow,” a traditional Indian-Durban delicacy consisting of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with flavorful curry.
Himeville, in KwaZulu-Natal, is around 132 miles from Durban and near the magnificent Drakensberg highlands. It’s the starting point for the Sani Pass, which leads to Lesotho. Himeville was founded in the late 1880s, and the city’s museum is housed in a 1900 structure. In this portion of South Africa, there are exhibits reflecting the area’s agricultural history and rural life. Outdoor hobbies including as rafting, horseback riding, and fly fishing are popular in the Drakensberg area near Himeville. The neighbouring Sani Pass connects South Africa with the Lesotho enclave, albeit the road is challenging enough to need 4×4 cars. Himeville might not be one of the top tourist attractions in Durban, but it’s worth visiting if you looking to learn more about the beautiful city.