With the summer holidays approaching everyone is planning how to spend their holidays. Over and over I keep promoting the concept of being a local tourist in your city or country. Durban is a popular holiday destination for both local and international tourists.
I was born in Durban and returned here after living abroad to make it my home again in 2010. Coming home I have discovered just how beautiful my city is and now am seeing Durban through the eyes of a Tourist. During July , I headed off on a 15 day #ExploreWC and this made me realise how much I love my home city and miss all the things I take for granted.
In 1497 , Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama discovered Durban on Christmas Eve and called it “Terra do Natal” meaning Christmas country. A proper settlement started in 1824. A group of 25 British men arrived from the Cape Colony and set up camp in Durban.
The British established a sugar cane industry in the 1860s. Farm owners had a difficult time attracting Zulu labourers to work on their plantations, so the British brought thousands of indentured labourers from India on twenty five-year contracts. As a result of this , Durban has the largest Indian population on the African continent, and has the largest Indian population outside of India. The local African tribe of Zulus led by the mighty warrior King Shaka were the original settlers in Durban.
With such a rich melting pot of history and culture Durban truly is the best city in South Africa. But incase you are not convinced check out these :
- In 2014 , Durban was named one of the New 7 Wonder cities by the New7Wonders Foundation.
- It is home to the world’s oldest and longest Ultra Marathon that takes place each year. The Comrades Marathon draws runners from around the globe yearly to compete in this race.
- Moses Mabida stadium is home to the World’s Largest Bungee Swing.
- uShaka Marine world is the 5th Largest Aquarium in the world.
- Gateway Shopping Centre in Umhlanga is Africa’s largest shopping centre. Boasting 350 shops and 70 eateries this is a popular shopping destination.
- CNN in 2014 rated Durban “as the coolest city in SA”
- Durban port is the largest in Africa and operates 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
- It is the 3rd largest city in South Africa with approximately 3.4 million people.
- The Jummah Masjid Mosque in Grey Street is the largest mosque in the Southern hemisphere.
- The Durban July is Africa’s greatest horse race which happens the first Saturday of July. It is a day of fashion and betting on the horses.
So yes Durban is pretty awesome all year round because of the weather and the fact that we do not really get winter. Durban is filled with many exciting and interesting things to do for the whole family all year round.
What to do in Durban ?
- Eat , Eat and eat some more. Durban is filled with numerous places to indulge in very good food. With a high population of Indians in the city , Indian cuisine here is exceptionally good and no visit to Durban would be complete without eating a Bunny Chow ( Hollowed out quarter loaf of unsliced bread filled with curry). There are also fantastic eateries in all the major hotels. The food scene is growing and your taste buds will love visiting here.
- A family day at uShaka Marine World is a great option. The Wet ‘n Wild Water Themed park is a hit for the whole family while the village walk provides loads of options to satisfy hungry tummies after all that fun. The Sea World part of uShaka is home to a large variety of fish and sea creatures. There are often special themed events. Cargo Hold is a unique eating experience where the restaurant is built-in the helm of a ship. The interior looks like a ship but the highlight is the large tanks which make up the interior of the place allowing you to literally have dinner under the sea.
- The Golden Mile is a popular stretch of beaches along the promenade. There is always a hive of activity down here. Bicycles can be hired to cycle here along the beach. Besides the gorgeous beaches there are several splash pools along the golden mile. Durban’s beaches are very popular among the surfers. Mini Town as well as a skate park add to just some of the activities one can do here. Dotted along the way are several great places to stop for a bite.
- Moses Mabida stadium is a beautifully designed and very eye-catching stadium that can be seen from various parts of Durban. There are several activities at the Stadium which include a ride up in the Skycar which is 106m high and once at the top gives you a spectacular view of the city. For the adrenalin fans The Big Rush Swing will definitely be on your list to do. And for those who feel like walking up 500 stairs the Adventure Walk is for you instead of the SkyCar.
Be Inspired !