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.
Best places to stay in Durban
World's worst shark infested beaches
We all know that in theory we’re more likely to be struck by lightning or win the lottery than be eaten by a shark, and the stats* prove it: there have been 1076 reported unprovoked shark attacks in the world since 1990, only 10% of them fatal...
Durban destination guides
Kruger & Coast
Sample the best of three stunning southern African countries on an eye-popping tour like no other. From busy Johannesburg, travel into Kruger National Park for an out-of-this-world African safari and then into the Kingdom of Swaziland, with its friendly locals and verdant mountain ranges.
Garden Route Adventure
Travel to South Africa and Lesotho and explore the exquisite Garden Route on a tour from Durban to Cape Town via the Stellenbosch Wine Region. Combining the classic Garden Route with the enchanting beauty of the Wild Coast, this adventure offers the chance to experience the incredible variety of cultures, stunning landscapes and unique flora and fauna of South Africa.