What to see in Durban

Durban Attractions

Durban's beautiful subtropical climate means the city enjoys a relaxed outdoor lifestyle that makes it a great destination to visit at any time of the year. Renovations for the FIFA World Cup in 2010 revitalised tourist infrastructure, ensuring that there's always plenty to see and do in Durban.

The first place to start sightseeing in Durban is definitely the beach, with the city's famed Golden Mile stretching four miles (6km) from the neon-lit Suncoast Casino in the north to uShaka Marine World in the south. The Golden Mile is famous for its mild water temperatures, great surf spots, and beautiful settings.

There are plenty of beach bars and restaurants to choose from when enjoying a sundowner cocktail or local beer. The beaches are patrolled by colourful rickshaws, which you can hire for a royal trip down the promenade.

uShaka Marine World in South Beach is one of Durban's major tourist attractions, with massive aquariums displaying fish and marine life from all over the world. Its Wet n' Wild Waterpark includes water rides ranging from gentle to extreme. You can even go shark diving or snorkelling for an up close and personal experience with the creatures beneath the waves. It's a relatively short walk from the Golden Mile, and opens right onto the beach.

The Durban Botanic Gardens, centrally located in Greyville and accessible by bus or taxi, are beautifully-maintained, and have one of the best collections of plants in the world. They host regular Sunday afternoon concerts, and are a great place to take the kids for a relaxed picnic. The Gardens are popular for wedding pictures as well, and bridal parties can often be spotted there on Saturdays.

More adventurous travellers will want to take advantage of the plethora of water sports available in Durban, including surfing, swimming, and kiteboarding along the Golden Mile. Available too are snorkelling and scuba diving adventures among the shipwrecks at Aliwal Shoal or simple boat cruises in the harbour.

Those more comfortable on land can enjoy hikes through the Mangrove Swamp or spotting zebras, rhinos, hippos, and other game in the Kenneth Steinbank Reserve or Tala Valley. Most attractions in Durban are relatively safe, as long as travellers refrain from wearing expensive jewellery and clothing and showing expensive cameras. It is always best to stay in a group when walking around in urban areas, and visitors should never walk around after dark.

Durban Botanic Gardens

Durban's Botanical Gardens, established in 1849, are the oldest surviving botanic garden on the African continent, and the city's oldest natural attraction. Located on Sydenham Hill Road, west of the…

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Francis Farewell Square

This historic square in the middle of Durban is the spot where the city originated as a tiny settlement of itinerant traders and hunters in the early 19th century. It is named for Henry Francis Flynn,…

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Juma Masjid Mosque

The grand Juma Masjid Mosque, or Jumma Mosque, was the first mosque to be built in KwaZulu-Natal, starting construction in 1881 and continuing with renovations and improvements until 1943. It is one…

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KwaMuhle Museum

The KwaMuhle Museum focuses on the history of race laws in KwaZulu-Natal, showing through multimedia presentations the experiences of local people during apartheid. It is housed in the building that…

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Moses Mabhida Stadium

The Moses Mabhida Stadium was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and is one of South Africa's most picturesque stadiums. With its iconic 'arch of triumph', the waves of the Indian Ocean crashing in…

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The BAT Centre

On the Victoria Embankment, beside the Durban harbour, is a haven for artists and musicians known as the BAT Centre. The name is an acronym for Bartle Arts Trust, the organisation that helped to found…

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The Golden Mile

Durban's most popular attraction is the length of beach stretching across one end of the city centre. Known as the Golden Mile, the beach starts in the north at Blue Lagoon and eventually stops at…

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