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© Shubnum Khan
© Shubnum Khan
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The Quietest Places To Study or Co-Work in Durban, South Africa

Picture of Shubnum Khan
Updated: 7 March 2017
Quiet study and co-working spaces for are hard to come by these days, with an influx of students and freelancers looking for a quiet spot to get some work done. We guide you through 8 of the best quiet places to study or co-work in Durban.

Smart Space

Recently opened at 320 West St in the heart of Durban’s downtown, this co working space offers inspiring and funky workspace solutions with a community of entrepreneurs and freelancers who meet, network and collaborate. They offer unlimited high speed wifi, flexible desks or permanent offices, a business room, amphitheatre, networked printer, ‘Durban’s finest’ coffee, lockers and even a play area to relax in. They have flexible day passes that begin at R100 ($7.60) for the day or a monthly membership for R1000 ($76) a month.

The Amphitheatre at SmartSpace | © Ameera Khan
The Amphitheatre at SmartSpace | © Ameera Khan

Mitchell Park

Blink-and-you-miss-it Mitchell Park is one of Durban’s best kept secrets. This park built in 1910 is more than a century old. It began as an ostrich farm which then introduced larger animals like lions and elephants to it to gain more income. Today the park still has a zoo section, with small animals like birds and monkeys in it. The park is shady with a plethora of old trees, a small pond, a fountain and large sections of grass where you can sit and work beneath the canopy of leaves. Weekdays are best and you can even pop in the Blue Zoo Restaurant or Vide e Caffe across the road for a bite to eat. The weekends get busy with family birthday parties and picnickers. The only downside? There’s no wifi, so this is a place for true ‘blue sky thinking’ and you’ll have to find a new space to work or study if it starts to rain.

Circus Circus (North Beach)

This trendy cafe right on the Indian ocean offers endless views of the sea to work to. They have a great menu for both sweet and savoury lovers and a whole host of options of breakfast, so if you want to fit in an early morning work session here’s the place to do it. It tends to get crowded in the weekends though so avoid then. We suggest you get an early morning run in on the beach promenade and then get cracking at the cafe.

Take in the view of North Beach at Circus Circus Cafe | © KZN Tourism
Take in the view of North Beach at Circus Circus Cafe | © KZN Tourism

Westville Civic Centre Library

If you want to kick it back old school, Westville Library in Westville has one of the best and biggest municipal libraries in Durban. It guarantees quiet time to study or work and contains an abundance of books to refer to. The only issue is the internet connection can be unstable and you might not always find yourself near a plug point. On the plus side, you’re in the heart of Westville, so you’re near food places and the venue is absolutely free.

Open Plan Studio

Open Plan is a space in the newly revamped Station Precinct Drive that’s becoming a hub for creatives. It’s situated on the 4th floor of a newly renovated light industrial building now known as The Design Factory. It overlooks some of Durban’s most iconic spaces, such as the Moses Mabhida Stadium, the Lion Match Factory, the Stables, Durban Club and the Indian Ocean beyond that. It features 8 unique offices that offer individual and shared working space. Whilst it’s a co-working space, it has a particular focus on art and photography studios and event space. The event space blends artist workshops, a container office and a kitchen installation into a dynamic and interactive space.

Interior of the work space © Open Plan Studio
Interior of the work space at Open Plan Studio | © Open Plan Studio

Home Bru Graft Cafe

Located in the trendy Umhlanga Rocks area, Home Bru is coffee shop and shared workspace. You have access to high speed wifi, printers, scanners, a boardroom and of course, coffee. Graft refers to South African slang for work and the concept came from the Home Bru Family needing a place to meet clients, do some work and have lunch all at the same time. Home Bru is a great co-working space because of the vibe that they have created. It’s an office away from home and a space where you are surrounded by people that motivate and inspire you. A day station costs R135 ($10) and for a month you pay R2750 ($212).

Glenwood Bakery

This little bakery is famous for its breads and they’re almost always sold out by late morning, so if you don’t want to be disturbed it’s best to get there mid morning when the rush dies down. They have power points, wifi, a delightful menu and some really interesting outside quiet, and there’s unlimited jugs of water freshened with cucumber and lemons. It’s a win all round.

Interior © The Glenwood Bakery
Interior | © The Glenwood Bakery

Saint Clements

Tucked away behind Musgrave’s busy street is a nursery and garden coffee shop where many a writer has spent their morning tapping away at a keyboard. This cosy little house and garden has a giant fountain filled with bathing pigeons (so don’t get your laptop too close to the water) friendly staff, a fresh menu with quality ingredients and an ambience like no other. There’s also free wifi, great coffee and freshly baked cakes. Tip: try to get the table under the grapefruit tree; besides the pleasure of being able to sit under the shade of globes of grapefruit, you also get a good view of the entire garden and you’re a splash-distance away from the fountain.