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03 July 2014

Durban's Top 20

    Its a well known fact that Durban is a major tourist destination.
     Each year thousands of people flock to Durban to enjoy our hot sunshine, warm waters and friendly people. The tourist brochure or Durban abound, from the "What, Where, When" and the "What's On", to the online guides like  , visitors are spoilt for choice.

    However, many of the best places to see and activities to do in this city are actually NOT listed on those "Main Stream" info guides.

     As a local to Durban, I have put together two TOP TEN lists.
    One is the more mainstream thing that every person in Durban Should experience at least once, and are listed in hundreds of places.  If you haven't done one of these yet, make a date and go do it! For those I haven't yet done, I have set the date!
     The other is my own personal list of places to go to, and things to see that most people don't know about in this city.
    You may notice I have purposely stayed away from listing Malls and Beaches. Malls can be found anywhere and really do not show what a city or country is truly like. Beaches, well I've avoided that because its just a known fact that Durban's Beaches are the best in the country :-)

    Enjoy, and feel free to comment below with your "Top Ten" lists.

    Top Ten Mainstream Durban Attractions
  1. Moses Mabhida Stadium - This stadium was built just in time for the 2010 FIFA world cup in South Africa. It is now a major icon of the Durban skyline.  Stadium tours are available and many people do the "SkyCar" ride up the arch to the viewing deck. The first Saturday of every month there is the prestigious IHEARTMARKET held in the People's Park on the border of the stadium.
  2.  Personally I have not yet done the whole "Moses Mabhida" thing, although I did attend the Neil Diamond concert at the stadium in 2011.
    Moses Mabhida Stadium - Photo Credit Amelia Byrne
    uShaka Marine World - This aquarium and water fun park rolled into one has been a major tourist attraction for Durban and KZN since the early 2000s. The dolphin shows are always a hit. Personally being the water baby that I am, although I dont go often (been twice in the last 13 odd years), I love the water park and the rides!

  1. Umgeni Bird Park - Probably one of my all time favourite places in Durban, the Umgeni bird park has a vibrant history. It nearly closed down a few years ago, but then the municipality decided to subsidise it. With its thousands of colourful birds, many of them in open air areas, and its great breeding program, I would totally recommend this to everyone.

Photo credit to Instagram user @joelenejetnarayan

  1. Durban Botanical Gardens - While this is certainly not as fabulous as the Pietermaritzburg National Botanical Gardens, the Durban Botanical Gardens is a breathe of fresh air. It has an exciting Orchid House, rolling and landscaped lawns, fountains and sundials. Oh, and if you're a Geocacher, it has a few fun Geocaches too. About once a month there is also an open air concert by the lake at the gardens with artists like Jonny Clegg and Mango Groove.

  1. Natal Sharks Board - Durban and in fact a lot of the East Coast boasts safe beaches thanks to the tireless work of the Natal Sharks Board. These are the people who maintain the sharknets off of our coastline. You can go with them for a "Nets Inspection" tour at the crack of dawn out to sea. You can also do a tour at their main buildings in Umhlanga, where you can see a shark museum, watch a video about what they do, explore a cool Shark curio shop and get involved in a shark dissection.

  1. Fun World - Yet another of the "old" icons of Durban, many people think of an amusement park as a thing for the kids. However there are many rides in this amusement park that are great fun for the adults too. And of course there's a cable car, who can say no to a cable car?
Funworld - Picture Credit Instargram user @princethreelife

  1. The BAT center -  personally I have never been here, its on my list of things to do. However I'm told that is a pretty rad place to see young up & coming talent.  Young artists and musicians are regularly featured here.

  1. Florida Road - Florida road is well known to be the party & eating out district of Durban. With literally hundreds of restaurants and cafes along Florida road, it is said that there is a taste and an atmosphere here for everyone.

  1. Durban City Hall - This magnificent structure was built in the early 1900 and is host to the mayor's offices, the Durban Art Gallery, the Natural Science Museum, a Public Library, and the main auditorium. The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra perform here every Thursday night.

  1. Victoria Street Market -  I personally love the hustle and bustle of a thriving Indian market. I cannot imagine anyone not enjoying browsing through the hundreds of Indian stalls (and not so Indian stalls), with the smell of spices and all the colourful and bright things to catch your eye.
  2. Victoria Street Market - Picture credit Instagram User 


    Top Ten not so well advertised Durban attractions
  3. The Stables Flea Market - This used to be a major attraction of Durban, but lately it seems to not be advertised as well. Still, I am a big fan of flea markets and as such this hits up on my list of awesome things to do.

  1. Sugar Terminals - Still fairly well known, however many people skip this in thoughts that its just an educational thing for kids. Truth be told, its pretty exciting to see the story in action (not just in school) of how sugar got to you. And it makes you feel pretty small standing next to a 3 or 4 story high mountain of sugar.
Sugar Terminals - Picture credit Instagram User @princethreelife

  1. Sail Durban Harbour - You can choose to get a ride on a commercial boat that does harbour tours, or hire your own catamaran for a cruise around Durban's Harbour. This gives you a whole new perspective on Durban, and is especially great for the photographer in you. Try it at sunset with champagne ;-)
Picture Credit Amelia Byrne

  1. Heliflip over Durban - For those who are willing to splash out (or for those of us who are lucky enough to do it for work) this is an opportunity not to be missed! Seeing Durban from the sky is incredible! Flying down the golden mile, and over the harbour entrance, seeing Suncoast, Moses Mabhida and the Bird Park from the air, and having photos to prove it, if you can afford this, do it!
Picture Credit Amelia Byrne

  1. Train Ride - I'm not talking the Inchanga Choochoo here, I mean go to the metro rail and buy a return ticket to any destination. The metro rail in Durban recently had an overhaul, now the stations are all clean and modern, the trains are in good nick, and there is security on board. Its not recommended that you take expensive valuables with you, and you should go with others, not alone. However this gives you an amazing opportunity to meet interesting people on the train, and to see amazing views that you would have never seen before. The plus side is that it should cost you less than R30pp for a return trip (almost anywhere in the DBN Metro)

  1. Millennium Tower - Ok, so getting in to see the millennium tower is darn near impossible unless you "know a guy", however the millennium tower boasts an incredible 360 degree view of Durban and is really another icon of Durban. I have been up it once, many years back, unfortunately due to national security, they do not allow cell phones or cameras up there.

  1. Hashtag restaurant - Its a new restaurant at the old (legendary) Bean Bag Bohemia, and this Social Media inspired restaurant gives Bean Bag a good run for the claim of fame. Still new, its not too well known, yet!

  1. Kennith Stainbank Nature Reserve - Although Durban is home to many small green areas, Stainbank is one of the few which still has Zebra and Impala roaming wild inside its fences. It also has a real castle steeped in history, and an art gallery that has just recently opened up. You can do hikes and mountain biking in the reserve, and one thing I so love about it is that its just around the corner.

  1. Horseback Beach Adventures - Many people dream of going Horse Riding on the Beach, Durban has one of the few places in South Africa that you can experience this. This establishment is fairly strict, however that's what keeps them and their horses world class. They have been operating in the area south of Durban since 1995. If you're lucky, you may even watch a proposal while you ride with them.
Proposals with horses! - Photo Credit Horse Beach Rides (

  1. Maritime Museum - Ok, so the child in me is brought out when I think of the Maritime Museum. Its a museum in the harbour that is made up of a room full of all things maritime, aaaaand three ships that you get to climb into and explore (I have always wanted to play a game of hide & seek at this place) inside even down to the engine rooms. Its great fun for the whole family (ok probably not for grandparents who cannot climb up and down), and definitely something everyone should do at least once.

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