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Things to do in South Africa's Durban

Durban's Holiday Treats

By J.F. Kloppers

Whether you are a local on holiday, a Gauti taking in a well deserved rest or an international jet setter, here's a few popular activities in the South African city of Durban that will cater for all types.

Long lazy beach days enjoying the surf are ended off perfectly with cocktails. Weekends are best spent sampling from Durban's markets or street food. Little ones are entertained at numerous fun parks and nature lovers get a taste of the beautifully green KZN.

Apart from Durban's year round attractions and activities, visitors can also incorporate these events and festivals to the journey.

1. For the explorers

uShaka Marine World is probably the most iconic Durban tourist attraction and Lilizela awarded KZN visitor attraction of the year. This one-stop entertainment hub for the whole family will treat the kids to a dolphin show or the ‘wet and wild’ play area that includes a huge swimming pool and a waterslide that claims to be the Africa’s highest.

Zulumoon Gondolas offers a relaxing boat ride down the Durban Waterfront Canal. Enjoy a fantastic afternoon with the kids or a romantic evening with your loved one. Book a picnic to enjoy or add the unique experience of a ‘message in a bottle’ to be ‘discovered’ in the canal.

Shakaland is the go-to location for the ultimate Zulu experience in KZN. Step into a real working Zulu village and experience culture, traditions and ceremonies like beer making, spear throwing, and greetings and eat traditional shisa nyama-style ethnic dishes.

2. For nature lovers

Oribi Gorge is a sandstone canyon in southern KwaZulu-Natal, cut by the Mzimkulwana river. Erosion by these rivers that form the gorge have carved out nearly 30km of kloofs and crags, which are now covered with a tropical forest. The Oribi Gorge also has the iconic Leopard Rock, which was mentioned by Traveller24 as one of the coolest places in South Africa to take a picture.

The Durban Botanical Gardens is the oldest surviving botanic garden on the continent, the Durban Botanic Gardens. This green oasis in the middle of a bustling city boasts significant collections of cycads, orchids and palms. It’s peaceful, beautiful - and free. The gardens contain both indigenous and exotic plant species from all over the world and trees that are over one hundred years old.

3. Touring around

The most Durban way to get from A to B (Or from A back to A) is with a quirky hand-pulled Riksha. Rikshas have journeyed with the city since the late 1800s. Today roughly 20 rickshas remain from the original 1 700, but the pullers remain proud and passionate and each riksha is unique. Rickshas and their pullers boast handcrafted traditional wear, beads and headdresses.

For a tour of the city, the Ricksha Bus will take you to the city sights and delve into the history of its attractions. Spend a day connecting to the stories of your city on board this bus. Among others, experience uShaka, Victoria Street Market, Juma Musjid Mosque, Kwa Muhle Museum, Florida Road and Moses Mabhida Stadium.

4. Feeling peckish

Durban claims its the street food mecca of South Africa and with your visit you'll HAVE to explore why.

Warwick Junction on the outskirts of Durban is an unused highway that is home to informal trading stalls, selling a variety of products. Pay a visit to the Meat, Early Morning, and Victoria Street markets. While you are there, take minute to absorb the bustling atmosphere and spot murals by Faith47 - South African street artist.

The must see Victoria Steet Market is a vibrant experience into Durban’s unique blend of cultures for the ultimate shopping experience. The ‘Vic’ offers a range of African and Asian products with an emphasis on Indian spices, clothing and food.

5. Fun and games

Go check out Suncoast Casino in Marine Parade or Sibaya Casino in Umhlanga Rocks for some evening fun, whether it involves a spin on the roulette table, a flutter on the slot machines, a live show, a meal, a treatment in the spa or even an open air salsa session. Take the kids along for a movie or games night at Magic Company.

Durban's seaside attraction, Funworld will have the young ones entertained for hours. Adults can get a unique Durban view from the cable car while kids enjoy carnival fun rides.

Durban Ice Arena is a fun-filled arena for recreational ice-skating offering Friday night discos or a memorable birthday party experience. Enjoy ice or figure skating lessons, hockey lesson, ice show, school events, group parties and team-building exercises.

Big Rush is currently the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s tallest swing! Make your way to the top of the Moses Mabhida Stadium and take in the breathtaking 360-degree views of Durban before propelling down 87 meters for the biggest rush of your life.

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