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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.
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).
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Avg Max||27.8 °C||28 °C||27.7 °C||26.1 °C||24.5 °C||23 °C||22.6 °C||22.8 °C||23.3 °C||24 °C||25.2 °C||26.9 °C|
|Avg Min||21.1 °C||21.1 °C||20.2 °C||17.4 °C||13.8 °C||10.6 °C||10.5 °C||12.5 °C||15.3 °C||16.8 °C||18.3 °C||20 °C|
|Rainfall||134 mm||113 mm||120 mm||73 mm||59 mm||28 mm||39 mm||62 mm||73 mm||98 mm||108 mm||102 mm|
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
Shosholoza Meyl offers a number of trains:
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:
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.
The Port of Durban is the busiest ports in South Africa. From time to time, cruise ships call at Durban.
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).
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.
|Banana Backpackers||61 Pine Street, Ambassador House 1st Floor.||Hostel||66|
|Blue Sky Mining Backpackers & Lodge||5 Nelson Palmer Rd, Warner Beach South Coast||Hostel||85|
|Gibela Backpackers Lodge Durban||119 Ninth Avenue Morningside||Hostel||87|
|Happy Hippo International Backpackers Lodge||222 Mahatma Ghandi road Durban Central||Hostel||-|
|Hippo Hide Lodge and Backpackers||2 Jesmond Road Berea||Hostel||84|
|Smiths Cottage||5 Mount Argus Road Umgeni Heights||Hostel||87|
|Tekweni Backpackers Hostel||169 Ninth Ave, Morningside, AF 4001||Hostel||82|
|Irie Lodge Warner Beach||19A Madeline road 17 Madeline road||Hostel||75|
|The Crescent Guest House||8 Tills Crescent Overport||Guesthouse||-|
|Bellevue House Bed and Breakfast||29 Bellevue Road Berea||Guesthouse||-|
|Wavecrest Lodge||26 Wavecrest Road Athlone Park Amanzimtoti||Hotel||-|
|Monkey Bay Backpackers||9c Jack Powell Road||Hostel||-|
|Durban Backpackers - On the Beach||17 The Promenade Glenashley||Hostel||87|
|Beach Hotel||107 Marine Parade||Hotel||-|
|Tropicana Hotel||85 Marine Parade Kwazulu-Natal||Hotel||-|
|Flinstone Guesthouse Durban||15 Kelvin Place Durban North||Guesthouse||-|
|Township Vibe Backpackers||2145 Westrich, Newlands West Durban||HOSTEL||-|
|Nomads Backpackers||70 Essenwood Rd Berea||Hostel||-|
|Graceland Backpackers||8 Bunting Place||Hostel||-|
|NoWay house||210 Grosvenor Road Berea||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Surf and the City||12 Gordon Road Morningside||HOSTEL||-|
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).
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.
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.
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