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Book a flight to Durban with Qatar Airways, for an adventure in a land where nature reigns supreme, and the dramatic past is very much a part of the present. Durban is the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, an amalgam of KwaZulu and the South African province of Natal. This was the domain of the formidable King Shaka kaSenzangakhona, who led the previously modest amaZulu (“people of the heavens”) tribe to prominence in the region, in the early 19th century.
Today, Durban is a glistening metropolis of cultural and natural wonders that enjoys a per-annum average 2,343 hours of sunshine.
Beyond the city, on the rolling plains of the old Zulu kingdom, you will find spellbinding scenery, including World Heritage wetland parks and dive sites. You will also come face to face with historic sites such as Rorke’s Drift, scene of the legendary battle immortalised in the 1964 movie Zulu. In addition, game reserves featuring the so-called Big Five (lion, elephant, leopard, rhinoceros and buffalo) are a huge draw for visitors.
Tourist attractionsIf you’re travelling to Durban with children, then the city offers a lot of treats for the family. A visit to uShaka Marine World combines the thrills and spills of a waterpark with the chance to meet some of the world’s most exotic marine life in an underground aquarium. Nearby is the Durban Beachfront known as the “Golden Mile” which offers some beautiful sandy expanses.
If there are surfers in your party, then the beaches of Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal coast are ideal. You will find plenty of prime surfing spots along this glorious stretch of coastline. You will also find plenty of opportunities for other water-based activities such as dolphin spotting, fishing and even shark dives, at Aliwal Shoal, around 45 minutes south of Durban.
The Upmarket Umhlanga beach resort of Umhlanga Rocks is just 15km north of the city. Apart from its sandy shores, it offers some top-notch hotels, and is home to the world-renowned Kwazulu Natal Sharks Board.
The board equips 37 beaches along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline with all they need to keep bathing areas safe. It also conducts extensive research into shark behaviour and migration patterns and offers boat trips, if you fancy watching the experts at work.
Zulu heritage is well worth a closer look. Head for the Valley of a Thousand Hills, about 30 minutes from Durban, where you can roam among Zulu villages, witnessing ancient practices, tribal dancing and cultural shows.
Just over two hours’ drive to the west of the city is uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park’s basalt buttresses, cool caves and rock pools are home to some of the world’s rarest plants and animals.
If you find yourself craving even more culture, pay a visit to the BAT Centre, which has art galleries, dance studios and an outdoor performance area.
If you’re travelling to Durban with food in mind, then you’ve made an excellent choice. The city’s status as Sub-Saharan Africa’s busiest Sub_Saharan port and the second largest on the continent. are reflected in its eclectic dishes, described as “Rainbow Cuisine” in honour of the various cultures that have contributed to their flavours.
While the city offers restaurants serving sumptuous cuisine from virtually every corner of the globe, the predominant influences are Indian and Zulu. Look out for the local Durban delicacy known as “Bunny Chow”, which best demonstrates the Indian influence. This is a hollowed out half-loaf of bread filled with delicious Durban curry.
Durban has everything from high-end stores and designer malls to street markets, which are peppered across the city and suburbs.
The markets are the ideal choice for standout gifts and curios; you’ll find spices, clothing and hand-crafted goods on sale, all a constant reminder of the African and Eastern influences that will make your retail expedition so memorable.
Essential facts about Durban
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip