The Coastal city of Durban in Kwazulu-Natal has so much to offer from golden beaches to interesting historic and cultural experiences. This bustling cosmopolitan city is the perfect escape with warm oceans, a constant hub of activity and an eclectic mix of cultural influences. And best of all there’s no need to break the bank on your visit as there’s plenty of inexpensive activities for the whole family and even some that are absolutely free!
Durban Botanical Gardens
What better way to spend a lazy afternoon than strolling through the oldest surviving botanical gardens in Africa. A definite highlight would have to be The Orchid House which is world famous for being the first “naturalistic” Orchid display house. Find some relief from the heat along the winding paths that follow the shade of the palms, cycads and towering trees, some of which date back over 100 years. You can even stop for tea and other light refreshments at the charity tea garden and enjoy the peace and quiet of the garden.
WHERE: 70 St Thomas Road, Durban, 4001, KwaZulu Natal
WHEN: From 07:30-17:15 during 16 April to 15 September
From 07:30-17:45 during 16 September to 15 April
Orchid house daily from 09:30 to 17:00
Tea Garden from 09:30 to 16:15
Victoria Street Market
For those wanting to experience the Afro-Oriental fusion of Durban the Victoria Market is a must. Be prepared for a sensory overload with a massive selection of curry spices, incense and a unique mixture of African and Indian themed goodies. The Victoria Street Market was built in the early 1980s to replace the well-known Indian Market dating all the way back to 1910 that was destroyed by a fire in 1973. The market definitely showcases the heart and soul of Indian culture in South Africa and you’ll see men in their traditional kurtas and women donning their ever vibrant saris selling their wares at over 160 stalls. The top floor offers more conventional shopping for souvenirs, crafts, jewellery and fabrics while the ground floor has a fish and seafood market, plus fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and spices.
WHERE: Corner of Queen and Victoria Streets, Durban, KwaZulu Natal.
WHEN: Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 18:00 and Sundays from 10:00 to 16:00.
Durban Natural Science Museum
Although one of the smallest museums, the Durban Natural Science Museum is definitely the most utilised and best of its kind in South Africa. Dedicated to the past, present and future of our natural sciences, a visit promises to ignite a spark of fascination in anyone who comes through the doors. Marvel at the life size Tyrannosaurus Rex or Dodo and check out the third largest collection of birds in South Africa as well as many other dioramas and exhibits celebrating the natural history of earth.
WHERE: 1st Floor, Durban City Hall, Smith Street, Durban.
WHEN: Monday to Saturday from 08:30 to 17:00.
Sunday and Public Holidays from 11:00 to 17:00.
The Golden Mile
Lastly you can’t leave Durban without making a stop at the beach (or several). The Golden mile promenade stretches all along the Durban beachfront filled with fellow sun-seekers jogging, walking, beaching and surfing. The promenade passes through several beaches with an exciting selection of swimming and splash pools, fountains and waterslides, curio markets and restaurants. You can park anywhere along the route and take a leisurely stroll, jog or run and enjoy the sea breeze, sunshine and warm Indian Ocean of the Durban Coast.