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Things to do in Durban

Things to do in  Durban

Welcome to Durban

Located on South Africa's eastern shore, Durban is the country’s third largest city, boasts its busiest port, and is the capital of the KwaZulu-Natal province. And while it hosted the World Cup in 2010, Durban—just a short one-hour plane ride from Johannesburg—often lacks the global name recognition of Cape Town to the southwest, making it an off-the-beaten-path choice for its bustling urban center, revamped waterfront, rich cultural history, proximity to wildlife preserves, and laidback atmosphere. Guided city tours and advanced reservations ensure you don't miss top urban experiences, such as enjoying the scent of fragrant spices at the Victoria Street Market, bungee swinging at Moses Mabhida Stadium, or gliding through the the Durban Point Waterfront Canal on a gondola ride. You can also spend some time in nature: Learn about local marine life and play in the water park at uShaka Marine World; stroll the long stretch of sandy beaches—the so-called “Golden Mile”—along the warm Indian Ocean; venture out of town in search of Africa's “Big Five” on safari tours, including the Hluhluwe Game Reserve; or head into the marshes near St. Lucia to see hippos up close. For a culture fix, immerse yourself in historic Zulu heritage at Shakaland with a guide who can speak to the group's storied past; or take a full-day tour into the Drakensberg mountains to visit the independent country of Lesotho, where the delicious, unique mix of cuisines incorporates Indian and Malaysian influences.

Top 10 attractions in Durban

#1
Victoria Street Market

Victoria Street Market

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The hokey pink and pastel stucco exterior hides the Victoria Street Market’s flurry of color, chaos and activity. Affectionately called The Vic, the two-story building is essentially an indoor flea and farmer’s market with more than 150 lively retail and wholesale vendors. Kitchen utensils, pots, luggage, clothes, wholesale products from China and carved trinkets spill into the building’s second-floor walkways, while butchers, fishmongers and fruit and vegetable vendors set up shop on the first level.In the mix visitors will find many merchants hawking silken saris and incense, spices from fragrant and colorful barrels, plus Indian handicrafts… not your usual South African market fare. The city’s multicultural tapestry—including the largest population of Indians outside of Asia—is reflected in both the market’s vendors and shoppers, and The Vic has long been a shopping hub of the Indian community. Bring your bargaining skills for some unique souvenir finds.More
#2
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

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Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is the oldest proclaimed game reserve in South Africa and one of the few reserves in the KwaZulu Natal region where you can hope to spot lions, leopards, buffalo, rhinos, and elephants. The park is also one of the closest game reserves to Durban, making it popular among vacationers staying in the seaside metropolis.More
#3
Durban Botanic Gardens

Durban Botanic Gardens

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Cape Town's Kirstenbosch gardens may be more famous, but Durban's Botanic Gardens hold the title of Africa's oldest surviving botanical gardens.Founded in 1851, Durban's Botanic Gardens were a response to Kew Gardens' challenge of creating botanic gardens around the world. The goal was not only to furnish Kew with new plants, but also to help raise global awareness of potentially valuable plants. The first garden in Durban was established in 1849 in a different location – it has been at its current location, closer to the city, since 1851.The gardens cover more than 37 acres and are known for their collection of cycads, ferns, and orchids. There are also several events held in the gardens throughout the year, including concerts, tea parties, and an indigenous plant fair in September.More
#4
Durban City Hall

Durban City Hall

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Durban City Hall, in addition to being a gorgeous historic building in the city center, is also home to several attractions worth checking out.Built in 1910, Durban City Hall—also known as eThekwini City Hall—is a building that's hard to miss. Its exterior is decorated in a neo-Baroque style – there are sculptures representing industry, art, literature, music and commerce as well as some representing patriotism and unity. The building is almost an exact copy of the city hall in Belfast.The City Hall obviously is home to city government offices, but visitors will want to check out the Durban Art Gallery and Natural Science Museum that are also inside. The museum features a dodo fossil, among others.More
#5
iSimangaliso Wetland Park

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 (the first in South Africa), iSimangaliso Wetland Park encompasses 820,389 acres (332,000 hectares) of lakes, estuaries, beaches, swamps, coastal dunes and coral reefs extending for some 125 miles (200 kilometers) along the coast of the Indian Ocean.This wide variety of interlinking ecosystems has yielded incredible biodiversity in the area — the park is home to more than 6,500 plant and animal species, including 521 species of birds, as well as African elephants, humpback whales, loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles, Nile crocodiles and hippos.The best way to explore the vast wetland park is by boat, which allows visitors to observe the park’s wildlife from relatively close up. Diving, snorkeling, kayaking, camping and horseback riding are also on offer within the park.More
#6
Sani Pass

Sani Pass

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Set at nearly 10,000 feet (2,865 meters) above sea level, Sani Pass is the gateway between KwaZulu-Natal and the landlocked mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. Via 4-wheel-drive, experience the rugged dirt road cut with hairpin turns on a steep climb to the top of Sani Pass. Your reward is a bumpy adventure along with panoramic views.More
#7
Moses Mabhida Stadium

Moses Mabhida Stadium

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The Moses Mabhida Stadium, built to host the 2010 World Cup games, is one of the country’s top sport and concert venues. Its modern architecture and massive arch set it apart on the Durban waterfront. Overlook the city from a viewing platform at the top of the arch and push your limits on the world’s largest stadium swing.More
#8
Ushaka Marine World

Ushaka Marine World

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With massive water slides, impressive sea life, and white-sand beaches, Ushaka Marine World is one of Durban’s top waterfront attractions. This theme park and aquarium is home to eight different attractions. Visitors can observe sea life in the aquarium, race down slides, challenge themselves on a ropes course, and more.More
#9
Durban Golden Mile

Durban Golden Mile

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A stretch of white-sand beaches lined by a boardwalk on one side and the warm Indian Ocean on the other, the Golden Mile is what draws many travelers to Durban. Whether you’re looking to sunbathe, visit a few cultural attractions, or experience the city’s nightlife, the Golden Mile has it all.More
#10
Howick Falls

Howick Falls

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Howick Falls is a waterfall in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, some 63 miles from Durban. It falls roughly 310 feet from the river into a pool before the river continues on.The Zulu name for the falls is KwaNogqaza, and legend is that a huge serpent lives in the pool beneath the falls. Sangomas, or fortune tellers, are said to be the only ones who can go near the waterfall safely.Whether you believe the stories or not, the truth is that many people have died attempting to cross the Umgeni River just above the falls. Howick Falls remains a popular tourist destination, perhaps as much due to the legends as to its natural beauty.More

Trip ideas

Ways to Experience Zulu Culture in Durban

Ways to Experience Zulu Culture in Durban

How to Spend 3 Days in Durban

How to Spend 3 Days in Durban

Lesotho Tours from Durban

Lesotho Tours from Durban

Recent reviews from experiences in Durban

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Spectacular Views
Julia_C, Feb 2020
Durban Shore Excursion: Valley of 1000 Hills and PheZulu Tour
The crocodiles & snakes were a sight to see and the Zulu dance was excellent.
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Awesome Tala Tour.
martinkbardstown, Feb 2020
Durban Shore Excursion: Tala Game Reserve Tour
He even took us on a side trip to see even more things.
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Johnny's Most Excellent Adventure
catmcsmith, Jan 2020
Culture Walking Tour of Durban
Johnny is a great tour guide and YOU MUST do this tour if you want to see the real Durban.
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Gritty tour
Paul S, Sep 2019
Culture Walking Tour of Durban
My wife and I like to see the real world when we travel and Johnny showed us the real Durban, warts and all.
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Well organised trip to Lesotho
Amanda_F, May 2019
Mountain Splendor -The Kingdom of Lesotho from Durban
But well worth it to get to see the magnificent country of Lesotho.
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