Day-tripping Durban like a local

2016-11-13 06:00 - Carina Greeff and Shalini Tewari
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A Durban escape is always going to mean great weather, friendly people and laid back vibes. But visitors shouldn't get too laid back, because there is so much to see and do.

We have rounded up a few popular Durban activities that will cater for all types.

Long lazy beach days enjoying the surf are ended off perfectly with cocktails. Weekends are best spent sampling from Durban's markets or street food. Little ones are entertained at numerous fun parks and nature lovers get a taste of the beautifully green KZN.

Apart from Durban's year round attractions and activities, visitors can also incorporate these events and festivals to the journey.

Here's how to make the most of your Durban getaway:

1. For the explorers

uShaka Marine World is probably the most iconic Durban tourist attraction and Lilizela awarded KZN visitor attraction of the year. This one-stop entertainment hub for the whole family will treat the kids to a dolphin show or the ‘wet and wild’ play area that includes a huge swimming pool and a waterslide that claims to be the Africa’s highest. 

Where: 1 King Shaka Avenue
How Much: Adults R199, Children R158
Click here for more information 

Zulumoon Gondolas

What: A relaxing boat ride down the Durban Waterfront Canal. Enjoy a fantastic afternoon with the kids or a romantic evening with your loved one. Book a picnic to enjoy or add the unique experience of a ‘message in a bottle’ to be ‘discovered’ in the canal.

Where: 39 Timeball Blvd GPS Coordinates: S29 8.263 E31 49.757
How Much: R50-R390
Click here for more information 

is the go-to location for the ultimate Zulu experience in KZN. Step into a real working Zulu village and experience culture, traditions and ceremonies like beer making, spear throwing, and greetings and eat traditional shisa nyama-style ethnic dishes.

Where: R66 between Mbiza and Nduro
How much: Activities, accomodation and dining at various prices.
Click here for more information

A photo posted by Jade Rondonuwu (@alveena_) on 

2. For the nature lovers 

Oribi Gorge
 is a sandstone canyon in southern KwaZulu-Natal, cut by the Mzimkulwana river. Erosion by these rivers that form the gorge have carved out nearly 30km of kloofs and crags, which are now covered with a tropical forest. The Oribi Gorge also has the iconic Leopard Rock, which was mentioned by Traveller24 as one of the coolest places in South Africa to take a picture. 

Where: Just West of Port Shepstone
How much: Day visitor park permit fee R30 per adult, R15 per child, R15 per person after 12:00.

A photo posted by ?? WeLcOmE ?? (@katz_naeem) on 

The Durban Botanical Gardens
is the oldest surviving botanic garden on the continent, the Durban Botanic Gardens. This green oasis in the middle of a bustling city boasts significant collections of cycads, orchids and palms. It’s peaceful, beautiful - and free.  The gardens contain both indigenous and exotic plant species from all over the world and trees that are over one hundred years old.

Where: 70 St Thomas Road
How Much: No entrance fee 

3. Touring around

The most Durban way to get from A to B (Or from A back to A) is with a quirky hand-pulled Riksha. Rikshas have journeyed with the city since the late 1800s. Today roughly 20 rickshas remain from the original 1 700, but the pullers remain proud and passionate and each riksha is unique. Rickshas and their pullers boast handcrafted traditional wear, beads and headdresses.

Locals and visitors to Durban beach should tick this off their bucket list. Experience the charismatic pullers and support their craft. 

Where: Durban beachfront
How much: From R20 per ride

A video posted by @forever_megan__ on

For a tour of the city, the Ricksha Bus will take you to the city sights and delve into the history of its attractions. Spend a day connecting to the stories of your city on board this bus. Among others, experience uShaka, Victoria Street Market, Juma Musjid Mosque, Kwa Muhle Museum, Florida Road and Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Where: Tourist Info Centre, OR Tambo Parade
How much: R100 for adults, R50 for pensioners, children under 5 free.

4. Feeling peckish

Durban is known as the street food mecca of South Africa and with your visit you'll HAVE to explore why.

Warwick Junction on the outskirts of Durban is an unused highway that is home to informal trading stalls, selling a variety of products. Pay a visit to the Meat, Early Morning, and Victoria Street markets. While you are there, take minute to absorb the bustling atmosphere and spot murals by Faith47 - South African street artist.

A photo posted by Tom (@tomtrim) on

The must see Victoria Steet Market is a vibrant experience into Durban’s unique blend of cultures for the ultimate shopping experience. The ‘Vic’ offers a range of African and Asian products with an emphasis on Indian spices, clothing and food. 

Where: 151/155 Victoria Street
How Much: No entrance fee
Click here for more information

A photo posted by GvO (@achi_shalom) on


Loads of markets pop up every weekend. Take a morning stroll through the refreshing Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market on Saturdays for local fresh produce.

Where: Lot 457, MR551, Shongweni
How much: No entrance fee

Have an authentic farmer’s market experience at the Litchi Orchard Market in Ballito. This market takes place every month and there is also a monthly Friday night market.

Where: Seaforth Drive, Umhlali
How much: No entrance fee

The Morning Trade
brings a weekly feast of artisan products to 15 Station Drive off Umgeni Road.

Besides Durban's food markets, a lekker local hangouts are Afro's Chicken Shop in South Beach or Beach Bums in Casaurina Beach. I won't go to Duran without checking it out.

5. Fun and games

Go check out  Suncoast Casino in Marine Parade or Sibaya Casino  in Umhlanga Rocks for some evening fun, whether it involves a spin on the roulette table, a flutter on the slot machines, a live show, a meal, a treatment in the spa or even an open air salsa session. Take the kids along for a movie or games night at Magic Company.

Durban's seaside attraction, Funworld will have the young ones entertained for hours. Adults can get a unique Durban view from the cable car while kids enjoy carnival fun rides.

Where: Durban beachfront
How much: No entrance fee, prices apply for rides

At Durban's northern beachfront, a miniature replica of the city is built. Explore Mini Town with the little ones to see your favourite Durban attractions from above.

Where: 114 Snell Parade
How much: R15 for adults, R10 for children age 2 - 12

A photo posted by Debbie (@bebrighteyez) on

Durban Ice Arenais a fun-filled arena for recreational ice-skating offering Friday night discos or a memorable birthday party experience. Enjoy ice or figure skating lessons, hockey lesson, ice show, school events, group parties and team-building exercises.

Where: 81 Somtseu Road
How Much: R40 per person
Click here for more information 

Big Rush is currently the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s tallest swing! Make your way to the top of the Moses Mabhida Stadium and take in the breathtaking 360-degree views of Durban before propelling down 87 meters for the biggest rush of your life.

Where: 44 Isaiah Ntshangase Road
How Much: R695 per person
Click here for more information 

6. Something active

A visit to the Golden Mile, stretching from SunCoast Casino to uShaka Marine world is a must. Brilliant waves, quick jogs or relaxing walks along the beach form part of Durban's laid back lifestyle and it all starts and ends at Durban Main beach. Ballito's Willard beach is also a popular spot among the surfers and welcomes multiple competitions throughout the year.


Bike and Bean is a fun way to explore the coast on two wheels and settle down for a rewarding cuppa afterwards.

Where: 290 Snell Parade
How much: Rent a bike at R60 per hour and get a large cuppa for R26

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