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Durban is not an obvious city and her true beauty is only discovered when you dig a little deeper. The more you explore, the more she will open up to you and show you her wealth of attractions. So prepare to discover the secrets of the city with these unmissable attractions in Durban.
This 16-hectare (40-acre) theme park comprises five sections: uShaka Sea World (the fifth-largest aquarium in the world), uShaka Wet ‘n Wild, uShaka Beach, uShaka Village Walk, and uShaka Kids World. It is located on the strip of land between the beachfront and the harbour.
Officially named the world’s tallest swing by The Guinness Book of World Records, this thrilling swing drops you in a free fall for 80 metres before swinging you out into a massive arc for 220 metres, right into the heart of the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Umhlanga Beach is located in the more trendy neighbourhood of Umhlanga, near fashionable eateries and the biggest mall in South Africa, Gateway. It also boasts CNN’s ‘most beautiful pier in the world‘.
With more than two million visitors a month, this gigantic mall, Gateway for short, is one of the 50 biggest malls in the world and boasts 18 movie theatres, a gym, the highest fountain in Africa and a water park. It has food and entertainment options for every age.
A 20-minute drive from Gateway Mall, Mzinyathi Falls is relatively unknown. The dramatic sandstone amphitheatre makes this a popular rock climbing spot. In summer after heavy rain the falls have an impressive volume. The Rastafarian Caves are a sacred place where Rastafarians who work in the city during the week come on the weekends. The path to these caves is quite difficult to find, contact the Green Corridor to arrange a tour to the caves, falls and surrounding area from R85 (US $6.60) per person.
Also at the Moses Mabhida Stadium is the Adventure Walk. At the top of the 106-metre (348-foot) high arch above the stadium is a viewing deck that provides panoramic views of Durban. There are two ways to get there. The one is to take the SkyCar, which is a glass elevator that moves along the arc, and the other way is to walk on the sky; a 500-step adventure walk that takes 20 minutes along the arc to get to the top.
Take a three-hour tour around Durban on the top deck of a Ricksha bus. It’s practically always blazingly sunny, so enjoy the sun on your face as you pass all of Durban’s major attractions. There are two tours per day, seven days a week. Tickets are R100 (US $7.80) per adult.
There’s nothing like a late-afternoon gallop on the beach, kicking up sand and surf at sunset. And if you happen to fall in, the water is inviting and warm. For R250 (US $19.40) per person, Gary offers a two- or four-person beach ride. Call +2784 205 9797 to arrange yours.
Held on the fifth level of the parking lot at Musgrave Centre on the first Friday of every month, this market is both upbeat and a showcase of local creativity. It features local crafts, live music and some seriously experimental food dishes.
A fine dining restaurant located in Ushaka Marine World, this restaurant is designed inside a phantom ship and features ceiling-to-floor fish tanks that contain sharks and other marine life. You can really dine with the fishes. Dress code is smart and booking essential.
Africa’s oldest surviving botanical gardens are located in the heart of Durban and were established in 1849. This famous garden features a Japanese garden, a living beehive, a herb garden and even a ‘garden of senses’.
Enjoy the kitsch but fun 1970s dining atmosphere of the Roma Revolving Restaurant on the 32nd floor of the John Ross Tower. The Roma is the only revolving restaurant in the Southern Hemisphere. You’ll be privy to an incredible, rotating view 105 metres (345 feet) up in the air while eating hearty Italian food.
Florida Road near Morningside is one of the trendiest streets in Durban. It has a cool vibe with café pavements, antique stores, art galleries and nightclubs. It’s a feast for the soul, as most of the restaurants on this road are among Durban’s best-loved. Some well-known establishments are the Mexican inspired Taco Zulu, Europa Food Emporium, Spiga, and House of Curries, where you can take a bite out of the Indian cuisine that Durban is famous for.
One of Durban’s best-loved attractions, Mini Town gives a good impression of some of Durban’s landmarks. A walkabout will give you an opportunity to view excellent models of some of Durban’s most interesting buildings.
On the first floor of the magnificent Durban City Hall, the Natural Science Museum is a trove of dinosaurs, fossils and taxidermy predators will enchant both kids and grown-ups. Entrance is free.
Durban’s first and oldest mosque is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Find it on Grey Street to take in its geometric splendour. It can fit 6000 worshipers at one time. Remember to remove your shoes and dress respectfully when visiting.
Head to the classic and upscale Oyster Box Hotel for some high tea. Enjoy the classic, colonial-themed hotel with sweeping views of the ocean while nibbling on scones and cupcakes. Afternoon tea costs R220 (US $17) per head and is from 2:30pm to 5pm daily. Booking is essential.
Take a guided tour through the nine markets located in central Durban to get a feel of the pulse of the city. The early morning or ‘Mother’ Market hosts over 640 stalls, with vendors selling flowers, spices and live poultry, fresh produce, and lots more. Tours cost R100 (US $7.80) per person.