South Africa’s third-largest city is well worth your time. With its glorious beachfront and friendly, outdoorsy nature, the city will give you a warm welcome. On sunny Saturdays the Botanic Garden is the place to go – the locals might be lazing on the lawn, but you should spend some time in the orchid house, and also look out for the world’s loneliest plant: Wood’s Cycad is extinct in the wild, but a specimen of the ancient species can be found in the garden. Go and be his ‘bud’-dy.
Look out for Bunny Chow; this oddly-named dish is a Durban speciality. Vendors hollow out a roll and stuff it to the crust with curry. Originating from Durban’s Indian community, the idea is that once the curry is polished off, you can enjoy the sauce-soaked bread for afters.
Durban's enticing ‘Golden Mile’ lives up to its name. The city's beaches stretch as far as the eye can see. They trump Cape Town’s – if only because the Indian Ocean is considerably warmer than the Atlantic. You can surf all day, or cycle along the seafront. Either way, keep your eyes out: this area isn’t known as the ‘dolphin coast’ for nothing.
If you’ve come for the beach, the best time to visit is between April and October, when the weather is in the tolerable twenties and the area is relatively quiet. (Around Christmas and New Year, Durban’s beachfront gets blisteringly hot, and very busy.)
Durban’s beaches stretch as far as the eye can see.
Down Durban's beach promenade you'll find uShaka Marine World, a fun park featuring a massive aquarium set in a shipwreck, a revamped waterpark, and a beach. The Wet ’n’ Wild waterpark, is full of twisting waterslides, and the Body Tornado slide is a real scream. Elsewhere, you can swing out on the new Chimp & Zee adventure trail. Have a caper in the canopy, whizzing down ziplines and tackling the aerial obstacle courses. If that’s all a bit high and high-octane for you, you can just chill on the uShaka Beach – fabulous and (best of all) free.
If you're still after high-octane experiences, check out the Big Rush Big Swing at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
If you want somewhere even more relaxing than laid-back Durban, head up to Umhalanga Rocks. This well-off resort town is full of holidaymakers, and its attractive stripy lighthouse makes its way into most people’s holiday snaps. Head to the aptly-named Bronze Beach, or the popular Main Beach – both are spectacularly inviting stretches of sand next to warm ocean waters. South Africans have a penchant for malls, and Umhalanga Rocks has one of the largest: the Gateway Theatre of Shopping is big enough to accommodate a cinema and a rock climbing centre, plus fashion from Levi’s to Lacoste.
The Oyster Box curry buffet, held at the hotel’s Ocean Terrace Restaurant, is the only place to be seen at mealtime if you like the spice of life. There are 11 curries on offer, for lunch or dinner, every single day of the week.