For more than 100,000 years, people have been visiting what is now known as Durban (called "eThekwini" in Zulu, for its deep, natural harbor), and it's easy to see why. The mild subtropical climate, 299 days of sunshine annually, and fantastic beaches have a universal appeal. To that splendid swath of sand, the centuries have added all the modern amenities, from a rollicking nightlife and enormous theme parks, to fine colonial buildings such as Emanuel Cathedral that are well worth visiting. If you need a break from tanning, there are several popular day trips from Durban, into the Zulu heartland, sweeping safari parks, and the "Kingdom in the Sky," stunning Lesotho.
Day 1: Relax along the Golden Mile
While the city's cultural milieu offers all sorts of enriching destinations, such as the famed Indian market selling pungent "Durban curry," you're probably here for fun in the sun. Welcome to the Golden Mile, actually six kilometers (four miles) of wide beaches, touristy piers, overpriced restaurants and attractions that range from the Suncoast Casino, with shopping, gambling, and a private beach; to one of the world's largest marine parks, uShaka Marine World, with dolphin shows, 32 tanks, and Africa's highest waterslide. There's no end to the smaller attractions in between, not the least of which is world-class surfing. Grab a "Zulu rickshaw" and enjoy.
Day 2: Enjoy Local Culture
Of course, Durban has plenty of urban offerings, including a surfing museum at North Beach, and first-rate football (soccer) at striking Moses Mabhida Stadium. But the real cultural attractions lie outside the city's sprawl. Just up the KwaZulu-Natal coast is the birthplace of Shaka Zulu, where a huge kraal (rural village) still honors the legendary Zulu king. Book an eight-hour tour into Zululand that visits a traditional kraal, where you'll sample the local cuisine, including homemade beer. Or, climb to the mountaintop Kingdom of Lesotho, on a 13-hour tour through independent villages and past sweeping vistas over peaks and waterfalls.
Day 3: Get out into the Wild
Durban itself is home to its own wildlife attractions, including the vast aquariums at aforementioned uShaka Marine World, and fabulous Umgeni River Bird Park, overlooking the river. Set into beautiful, shady gardens, this enormous aviary is home to some 300 bird species, and offers low-key shows and other family fun. But this is Africa. If you want to see white rhinos, giraffes, leopards, elephants, cheetahs, wildebeests, and other creatures of the wild African savannah, book a 12-hour trip to fantastic Hluhluwe Game Reserve.
Reply by Viator, February 2013
Doing what: Mountain Splendor -The Kingdom of Lesotho
If you are in Durban don't miss this tour, its absolutely a must with excellent scenery and great experience going up(and down) Sani Pass. Our guide was very nice with great knowledge and we were very lucky with the weather, great views all the way
Reply by Viator, June 2012
Doing what: Durban City Sightseeing Tour
Interesting city with a very kind, understanding tour guide, especially when I became ill during the tour!
Reply by Viator, June 2012
Doing what: Shakaland - Zulu Cultural Center
Fascinating history that was particularly well presented. It certainly wasn't Disneyland, but provided a insight into daily Zulu life