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Introducing Durban

Durban, a cosmopolitan Queen, is sometimes unfairly passed over for her ‘cooler’ Capetonian cousin. But this isn’t fair; there’s a lot more to fun-loving Durbs (as she’s affectionately known) than meets the eye. In preparation for the World Cup in 2010 the city had a major makeover, with a sleek new stadium and a revamped beachfront. With a newfound confidence, the city is still justifiably showing off. It offers stylish cafes, wonderful cultural offerings and excellent shopping opportunities, much of which are clustered in fashionable areas within the suburbs.

South Africa’s third-largest city (known as eThekweni in Zulu), Durban also claims to be the country’s sporting capital. Thanks to its stadiums and venues, golf courses and a swathe of butter-yellow sand, it’s a great city for spectator sports and outdoor enthusiasts.

The downtown area – a buzzing, gritty grid comprising grandiose colonial buildings and fascinating art deco architecture – throbs to a distinctly African beat (but loses its shimmer when the sun goes down). For beach-lovers, the beachfront remains a city trademark for daytime activities.

Home to the largest concentration of people of Indian descent outside of India, Durban also boasts a distinctive Asian twang, with the marketplaces and streets of the Indian area teeming with the sights, sounds and scents of the subcontinent.