Skip Navigation

Durban

Photo © Nat and Ev

Travel Guide Africa South Africa KwaZulu-Natal Durban

edit

Introduction

Durban

Durban

© All Rights Reserved Nat and Ev

Durban is a busy city with 3.3 million inhabitants, situated along the east coast of South Africa in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. It enjoys a warm, subtropical climate and has some of the country's most popular beaches for swimming, surfing and diving. In 2010, it will be one of the cities to host the World Cup 2010 in South Africa.

Top

edit

Neighbourhoods

  • Durban North

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

City Centre

Francis Farewell Square is a historic square in the heart of the city, overlooked by the grand City Hall building, the Art Deco Cenotaph and the Workshop Mall (the centre's main shopping hub).

Kwa Muhle Museum

Also called the Apartheid Museum, the Kwa Muhle Museum is worth a visit if you are interesed in the formation of modern South Africa. It was originally built in 1928 for the purpose of controlling the local population under the Orwellian name of the 'Native Administration Department'.

Beachfront

The 6-kilometre-long section from Umgeni River to the Point has lost it's favour among middle-class South African's of late due to increasing crime. A big pulling point still worth visiting however is the uShaka Marine World, a lavish aquatic theme park, with uShaka Sea World providing underwater views of many of the oceans creatures, including sharks, turtles and dolphins.

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

World Cup 2010

The big upcoming international event on the South African horizon is the FIFA World Cup beginning on the 11th of June 2010. One of the most prestigious and popular world sporting events, the World Cup 2010 promises to bring throngs of passionate supporters from around the globe. Held once every four years, it's a football tournament (called soccer in South Africa) where 32 world nations vie for the famous golden trophy. Durban will be hosting some of the World Cup matches at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 70,000.

Mr Price Pro

Formerly the Gunston 500, the Mr Price Pro is one of the worlds longest-running professional surfing competitions. Anyone keen on doing their own bit of surfing while in town could do worse than head to North Beach.

Comrades Marathon

Held in June, the Comrades Marathon runs for 80 kilometres between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, and is run downhill towards the coast on odd years and uphill to Pietermaritzburg on even years.

Top

edit

Weather

Durban is a favorite beach destinations and temperatures are accordingly. Mostly (sub)tropical conditions apply with summers averaging around 27 °C, winters (June to September) still being a pleasant 22 °C. Nights are around 20 °C and 13 °C respectively. Although rain is possible in every month, the summers are much wetter with 100 to 150 mm of rain a month. Winters only have a few rainy days a month.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max27.8 °C28 °C27.7 °C26.1 °C24.5 °C23 °C22.6 °C22.8 °C23.3 °C24 °C25.2 °C26.9 °C
Avg Min21.1 °C21.1 °C20.2 °C17.4 °C13.8 °C10.6 °C10.5 °C12.5 °C15.3 °C16.8 °C18.3 °C20 °C
Rainfall134 mm113 mm120 mm73 mm59 mm28 mm39 mm62 mm73 mm98 mm108 mm102 mm
Rain Days15.212.912.69.26.84.54.97.11115.11615

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

King Shaka International Airport (DUR) is 35 kilometres north of the city centre of Durban, South Africa, and replaced the former Durban International Airport on May 1, 2010, just before the World Soccer Championships. International flights arrive from Dubai, Maputo and Mauritius. There are domestic flights from eight South African airports, including Cape Town and Johannesburg.

To/from the airport

  • Car: The airport is accessible from both the N2 freeway and the alternative R102 road. There are about 6,500 short-term- and long-term parking places available and metered taxis travel to and from the city centre.
  • Public transport: regular buses connect the airport to Durban centre. A direct link will be in operation in the near future.

By Train

Shosholoza Meyl offers a number of trains:

  • Cape Town - Durban via Kimberley, Bloemfontein, Kroonstad and Ladysmith, 36 hours, tourist and economy class both once weekly
  • Johannesburg - Durban via Ladysmith and Pietermaritzburg, 13,5 hours, premier class twice a week, tourist once a week and economy daily except Tuesday.

By Car

Coming from Johannesburg take the N3 all the way to Durban, whereas if you're coming from Swaziland and the north, take the N2. The N2 continues south down the Wild Coast, but turns inland on its way down to East London and Port Elizabeth.
Distances from Durban are:

  • Johannesburg - 557 kilometres
  • Bloemfontein - 634 kilometres
  • Kimberley - 811 kilometres
  • Cape Town - 1753 kilometres
  • East London - 674 kilometres
  • Port Elizabeth - 984 kilometres
  • Pretoria - 636 kilometres

By Bus

Greyhound South Africa, Intercape and Translux all serve Durban from places like Johannesburg (8 hours), Cape Town (22-27 hours), Port Elizabeth (15 hours). There are also international connections to for example Gaborone (15 hours) and Maputo (15 hours), both via Johannesburg.

The Baz Bus is a bus where you can hop on and of and is mostly used by backpackers travelling on a budget. They are dropped off at hostels. There are three routes. One is running between Cape Town and Durban and there are two routes between Durban and Pretoria via Johannesburg: one via the Drakensberg (Drakens Mountains) and one via Swaziland. Keep in ming that the Baz Bus used primarily for foreign visitors, and is much more expensive than the alternatives.

By Boat

The Port of Durban is the busiest ports in South Africa. From time to time, cruise ships call at Durban.

Top

edit

Getting Around

By Car

The best way to get around Durban and its surrounding areas is by hiring a car. Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar and First Car Rental provide car hire in Durban.

By Public Transport

Durban People Mover buses feature CCTV cameras and wheelchair-friendly ramps. They run from 6:00am until 11:00pm every 15 minutes. These buses stop in the CBD, the Victoria Street Market, the Workshop, Suncoast Casino, Ushaka Marine World and along the beach route. (R4 per trip, valid for 1 hour on a hop-on, hop-off basis; R10 for a full day pass on a hop-on, hop-off basis).

Top

edit

Eat

As Durban has one of the largest Indian populations outside of India itself, a Durban curry is a popular dish and can range from mild to very hot. There is also the Bunny Chow which is unique to the city, a quarter loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with a curry of your choice. Check out the Workshop restaurants for some of the best bunny chow in the city. Or head over to the Indian neighborhood near Victoria Market for more authentic Durban Indian food. Wilson's Wharf a long pier build into the harbour, hosts a wide selection of international restaurants and watch the busiest harbor in Africa's activity.

Top

edit

Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Banana Backpackers61 Pine Street, Ambassador House 1st Floor.Hostel65
Blue Sky Mining Backpackers & Lodge5 Nelson Palmer Rd, Warner Beach South CoastHostel83
Gibela Backpackers Lodge Durban119 Ninth Avenue MorningsideHostel88
Happy Hippo International Backpackers Lodge222 Mahatma Ghandi road Durban CentralHostel-
Hippo Hide Lodge and Backpackers2 Jesmond Road BereaHostel82
Smiths Cottage5 Mount Argus Road Umgeni HeightsHostel86
Tekweni Backpackers Hostel169 Ninth Ave, Morningside, AF 4001Hostel77
Irie Lodge Warner Beach19A Madeline road 17 Madeline roadHostel65
The Crescent Guest House8 Tills Crescent OverportGuesthouse-
Bellevue House Bed and Breakfast29 Bellevue Road BereaGuesthouse-
Wavecrest Lodge26 Wavecrest Road Athlone Park AmanzimtotiHotel-
Monkey Bay Backpackers9c Jack Powell RoadHostel-
Durban Backpackers - On the Beach17 The Promenade GlenashleyHostel81
Beach Hotel107 Marine ParadeHotel-
Tropicana Hotel85 Marine Parade Kwazulu-NatalHotel-
Flinstone Guesthouse Durban15 Kelvin Place Durban NorthGuesthouse-
Township Vibe Backpackers2145 Westrich, Newlands West DurbanHOSTEL-
Nomads Backpackers70 Essenwood Rd BereaHostel-
Graceland Backpackers8 Bunting PlaceHostel-
NoWay house210 Grosvenor Road BereaGUESTHOUSE-
Surf and the City12 Gordon Road MorningsideHOSTEL-

Top

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Internet

Big cities and most of the popular places in the country usually have an internet café though they are not as abundant as in, for example, Asia or South America. It's also relatively expensive, usually 20-30 rand an hour, sometimes even more. Many of the accommodation options have internet access available, either wireless with your own laptop or by their own computer(s). Wireless access is also available throughout the country in more and more cafes and eateries, sometimes free and sometimes for a small fee. Note that you usually have to login anyway and agree with the terms and conditions. It is cheapest to buy a prepaid cell phone starter pack (less than R10) and access the Internet with GPRS or 3G. Generally R2 per MB for out of bundle data from most providers (50c for Virgin Mobile), but it becomes a lot cheaper if you buy a data bundle. In general coverage is good except the more rural parts of the northern and northwestern parts of the country (especially Northern Cape).

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

South Africa's country code is 27. Telephone numbers in South Africa are 10 digits, including the local area code. There are also some prefixes like 0800 (toll free), 0860 (charged as local call) and 0861 (flat-rate calls). The general emergency number is 10111, ambulance is 10177 and police is 1011.

South Africa has very good phone facilities, which are also becoming more and more competitively priced, now that more operators are active on the market. The main ones are Neotel and Telkom South Africa. Local phone calls are cheap (about one Rand an hour), domestic long-distance calls are about twice as expensive. International calls start at around 6 Rand an hour but can be (much) higher to less usual countries. Note that public phones are about twice as cheap as new private phone centres. Phone calls tend to be the cheapest during the weekend and during business hours (8:00am to 5:00pm) on weekdays and more expensive during the evening and nights at weekdays.

There are also good mobile-phone facilities, with GSM and 3G networks. There are five cell phone providers in South Africa: Vodacom, MTN, Cell-C, Virgin Mobile and 8ta. SIM card prepaid starter kits are available from R10. You will need a passport and a proof of residential address and it has to be registered before you can call or receive calls. You can buy credit for prepaid phones just about everywhere, remembering you will usually need cash to do so from service stations.

Post

The SAPO (South African Post Office) is the nation's postal service. They have a track & trace system for parcels as well. Post offices are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Domestic and international deliveries are reliable but can sometimes take up to several weeks. If you want to send something oversees of any value, try using one of the private mail services, like Postnet. Also international courier companies like TNT, UPS and DHL tend to be fast, very reliable and competitively priced.

Top

Quick Facts

[edit]

Population
3,468,086
Time ZOne
UTC +2
Area Code
031
Coordinates
  • Latitude: -29.853
  • Longitude: 31.0164

Contributors

as well as nigelpeaco (7%), Kieran-M (5%), Hien (5%), dr.pepper (2%), KKHSM (1%), Sam I Am (1%), Peter (1%)

Help contribute to this article to share the ad revenue.

Durban Travel Helpers

This is version 39. Last edited at 23:40 on Aug 16, 14 by Peter. 33 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License