Durban is situated on the south-east coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal. The new International Airport is called King Shaka Airport and is located at La Mercy which is approximately 20 minutes (28.4km) south of Durban.
Durban enjoys a subtropical climate, with very hot, humid summers and mild to warm winters. Rain is frequent during the summer months, but comes in the form of thunderstorms in the afternoons, so the sunny holiday weather is not badly affected. In winter, temperatures are more comfortable but still warm enough for beach-going.
"Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika" was composed in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a Methodist mission school teacher.
South Africa is home to some 10% of the world's flowering species, and is the only country in the world with an entire plant kingdom within its borders. Of the 850 or so bird species recorded in South Africa, about 725 are resident or annual visitors, and about 50 are endemic or near-endemic. The South African economy is the largest in Africa and 24th largest in the world. South Africa has eleven official languages: Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu. In this regard it is second only to India in number. South Africas surface area is 1 219 090 km2. South Africa is surrounded by the ocean on three sides, to the west, south and east, and has a coastline of about 3 000 km. South Africa has an average annual rainfall of 450 mm, compared with a world average of 860 mm. The current flag of the Republic of South Africa was adopted on April 27, 1994, after the first free elections and the end of apartheid.
Durbans oldest natural attraction - the Botanic Gardens - is but a short stroll away from Greyville. Established in 1851 and renowned for the finest collection of botanic species anywhere in Africa, the indigenous and exotic trees are now huge...and attract as much attention as the Orchid House display. Birds are everywhere, including the tea garden...where it's considered 'impolite' not to share your cream scones with the 'cheeky little fellows' hopping about among the tables! (70 St Thomas Road, Musgrave, Durban, 031 201 1303)
Francis Farewell Square
This historic square in the middle of Durban is the spot where the city originated as a tiny settlement of itinerant traders and hunters in the early 19th century. It is named after Henry Francis Fynn and Francis Farewell, two British traders. The square is situated where these two traders established their first camp in 1824. Around the square are some interesting sights, particularly the 1910 City Hall on the south side, which is an exact replica of the City Hall of Belfast, Ireland. (West Street, Durban - In front of the City Hall.)
Greater St Lucia Wetland Park
In the far north of Kwa-Zulu Natal are a string of nature reserves and game parks, of which the largest and most exciting is the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, dominated by the fascinating St Lucia estuary and lake system. The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park is an eco-tourism wonderland of beautiful lakes, swamps, forests and marshlands. It covers five distinct ecosystems varying from dry thorn scrub to tropical forest and is bordered by giant dunes, beaches and tropical reefs. Some of South Africa's best-protected indigenous coastal forests are found here at Dukuduku and Kosi Bay. Big Five game viewing is on offer, and this is the only place in the world where you will see hippos, crocodiles and sharks co-habiting in the same lagoon. There are comfortable rest camps in the park. The Wetland Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Southern entrance to the Wetland Park is the town of St. Lucia which is 300 km north of Durban.)
Durban's first and longest-running sports venue, Greyville Racecourse! The headline- making 'grandstand' of 1890 is a far cry from the magnificent structure that today holds thousands of cheering punters for such nationally-prestigious meetings as the Gold Cup and Durban July Handicap. Among favourite colonial pastimes, golf finished a 'photo- finish' second to playing the horses, and in 1935, the centre of Greyville's circular track was sculpted into the Royal Durban Golf Club's championship course. This illustrious 6 000m, 71-rated challenge still offers the rare experience of pausing on fairway or green as the field thunders by on race-day! (Mitchell Crescent, Greyville Durban, 031 309 4545)
International Convention Centre
Durban architecture is an eclectic mix of old and new and our International Convention Centre is a gleaming example of the latter between seaside and downtown. Relatively new but already the host of such high-profile gatherings as the World Economic Forum, Non- Aligned Movement, Commonwealth Heads of Government and World AIDS Convention, the International Convention Centre's successes have earned it the title of Africa's best...and placed Durban firmly on the world map of decision-making venues. The adjacent Durban Exhibition Centre attracts curious-minded folk to trade fairs, cat-and-dog shows and the alternative- inclined series of Body, Mind and Spirit Festivals. (45 Ordnance Road, Durban, 031 360 1000)
Juma Masjid Mosque
The magnificent Juma Masjid Mosque, the largest mosque in the Southern hemisphere, dominates Durban's central Indian district. Its gilt-domed minarets tower over the bustling commercial area, but inside the marbled worship hall one experiences peace and quiet whilst admiring the simple elegance. Tours of the mosque can be arranged. Around the mosque, on Grey Street, are several Indian food outlets, most offering the uniquely Durban 'bunny chow' (half a loaf of bread scooped out and filled with curry). Off of Grey Street is the Madressa Arcade bazaar. Also in the area is the brightly painted Victoria Street Market (on the corner of Queen and Russell streets) offering incense, henna tattoos, spices and other exotic goods. (Corner Grey & Queen Streets, Durban 031 304 1518)
Killie Campbell Museum
Driving south from Mitchell Park along the ridge crest you'll pass many grand, colonial-era homes set in lush, sub-tropical gardens with commanding views of the city. One of these - a neo-Cape homestead - is the Killie Campbell Museum that houses a renowned private collection of Africana. This is a significant museum for Zulu heritage and Natal history, and regarded as the most important museum collection in the city. The museum houses the Mashu ethnology collection, Zulu art, weapons, sculpture and furniture and also has an extensive library. Cape furniture and early South African paintings are also on show. The museum was once the home of sugar baron Sir Marshal Campbell (nicknamed Killie Campbell). (220 Marriot Road, Berea Hill, Durban, 031 207 3432)
Krantzkloof Nature Reserve
Kloof is the elite suburb of Durban, and lies on the western side of the city, easily reached by the N3 freeway. This large nature reserve is one of 20 in the city and lies to either side of the Molweni River. You will find a magnificent 20Km nature trail with fantastic views of the Krantzkloof gorge. There are three waterfalls, one of which is 90m tall, and two picnic sites available to visitors for the day. Nature reserves are a safe environment in which to explore the rich African wildlife. (152 Kloof Falls Road, Kloof, Durban, 031 764 3515)
The notorious building that was once the Department of Native Affairs where every black South African in Natal was required to register in the days of Apartheid, now houses a museum dedicated to tracing the history of racial laws in Durban, including memorable video and photographic exhibits. Despite this the building is known to all as KwaMuhle, meaning place of the good one, the name honouring a white man (J.S. Marwick) who ran the department but did his best to fight the system within its constraints. (130 Ordnance Road, Durban, 031 311 2237)
Kwa-Zulu Natal Society of Arts Gallery
A few kilometres from The Berea, the green surrounds of Bulwer Park welcome you to KZNSA Gallery's new, custom-designed premises. Three separate exhibition spaces are augmented by the indoor/outdoor Arts Café and a gift shop filled with unusual, hand-crafted delights. Natal University's Durban campus lies a few kilometres beyond, and its Sneddon Theatre regularly presents high quality stage productions that range from Shakespeare to ballet and mime. Music ventures include avant garde electronica, African jazz and township jive with poetry and prose festivals taking place campus-side at the Centre for Creative Arts. (166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban, 031 202 3686)
The ascent towards the Valley of a Thousand Hills begins just beyond the mainly industrial satellite of Pinetown...the delightful scenery of Field's Hill offering a taste of the grandeur to follow. For a spiritual 'diversion', turn south from the main road to absorb the wonders of Mariannhill Monastery, built along traditional Romanesque Revival lines. Trappist restraint and self-reliance is reflected in the fact that all building materials - including stained glass - were manufactured by the craftsmen-monks themselves. The understated monastery chapel has a meticulously crafted wooden interior, while in contrast, the St Joseph's Cathedral's richly decorated interior glows with colourful, 19th century German Nazarene style. Personal retreats can be arranged without requiring conversion to the monastery's predominant faith. (1 Monastery Road, Mariannhill, 031 700 4288)
Natal Sharks Board
The Sharks Board welcomes and encourages visits by members of the public to its complex in Umhlanga Rocks where they can view a 25 minute audio-visual presentation on the day to day work done by the Sharks Board as well as on the important role sharks and other animals play in the marine ecosystem. This is followed by a 20 minute dissection......Visit the display hall and view the large variety of lifelike replicas of sharks, fish and rays, including that of an 892 kg great white shark. Browse in the curio shop "Fathoms" where a treasure chest of unusual and stylish gifts, including hand crafts, T-shirts, leather goods, jewellery and other ornaments, await you. The display hall and curio shop are open to the public from 8.00 to 16.00 Monday to Friday. The audio-visual, followed by a shark dissection, is presented on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The Sharks Board is not open on Public Holidays. (1a Henwood Drive, Umhlanga, 031-566-0499)
Every year along the shores stretching from the Cape to KwaZulu Natal, millions of sardines migrate from the cold waters heading to the subtropical temperatures in an awesome underwater spectacle. Comparable only to its land equivalent, the Wildebeest migration in the Serengeti, this amazing occurrence is one of the most unforgettable experiences for those brave enough to get in the water with the predators, including dolphins, seals, sharks and whales that come out to feed on them. The best way to view the Sardine Run is to get in touch with the many scuba diving companies along the South African coast. Date: May to July. The sardine run is generally confined to June and July and updates on their movements can be obtained by phoning the NATAL SHARKS BOARD/EAST COAST RADIO SARDINE RUN HOTLINE on 082-2849495 during this two month period.
Durban's CBD fringes on our spectacular harbour, and it's at this water's edge that you'll discover another wonderful haven for traditional artists - One of these is our world-famous Sugar Terminal...crowning achievement of an industry that indelibly changed the 'face' of our Zulu realm. From the 'sweet sand' offered to King Shaka by early British adventurers in exchange for hunting rights, to the arrival of indentured plantation labour from India and re-molding of our coastal vegetation, sugar has remained an omnipresent force. Guided tours of the terminal include a wide-screen presentation of the complete story and a peek inside the silos. Having pounded the downtown sidewalks, consumed vast amounts of inner city culture - including a Bunny Chow - and cruised Africa's biggest harbour, it's time to discover what our tree-filled suburbs have to offer. (57 Maydon Road, Maydon Wharf, Durban, 031 365 8100)
Temple of Understanding
The most opulent Hindu structure in the Southern Hemisphere is the Temple of Understanding that adorns the predominantly Indian suburb of Chatsworth, south of the city. Local 'headquarters' of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the temple complex houses Durban's only Prasad restaurant...serving exquisite and inexpensive vegetarian dishes prepared 'with a higher purpose in mind'. Devotees are regularly involved in feeding the poor, and entertain us annually with the only Festival of the Chariots staged outside India. Specialised tours will guide you through the intricacies and architecture of Durban's entire, vast array of Hindu, Sufi and Moslem places of worship. (Ambassador Road, Chatsworth, Durban, 031 403 3328)
Umgeni Bird Park
Umgeni Bird Park is situated just 10 minutes drive from the centre of Durban. Spectacular waterfalls and lush vegetation, with birds out on perches, in walk-through aviaries and open paddocks; this little jewel is one of the finest bird parks in the world!
Come and see spectacular macaws and elegant flamingoes, and see how some of the worlds rarest birds live and breed. A viewing window will allow you to follow the activity in the baby room, where plump little chicks are reared by loving foster-parents. Youll see the stately cranes, the comical toucans and loads more.
Free flight Bird Show, the first in Africa, with critically endangered species like the Wattled Crane, as well as owls, storks, hornbills and a Cape Vulture in free unrestricted flight, highly educational and loads of fun. The Bird show is at 11am and 2pm every day. The Umgeni River Bird Park has been awarded the Premier Durban Attraction by the Durban Tourism Board and was home to over 4,500 birds of 400 different species. Youve never seen anything like it! (490 Riverside Road, Durban North, 031 579 4600)
Victoria Street Market
A couple of blocks away from Grey Street, the 'Indian Market' has undergone a dramatic face-lift and acquired the more polite title of Victoria Street Market. Packed with traditional treasures wrought from copper, brass and gemstones - plus enough incense and spice powder for instant olfactory overload! The Upstairs Emporium presents an array of culinary choices where one can sample the finest Indian curries, whilst pondering the bargains available downstairs. This would probably present the perfect moment for a Bunny Chow - the uniquely Durban curry-filled half-loaf of bread. By no means indicative of the delicate Indian dishes on tempting offer throughout our city, the 'Bunny' is nevertheless a (very thick) slice of Durban history and ought not to be overlooked with disdain! The 'Indian Connection' with countries to our north brings to the market finely- crafted curios from Malawi, Kenya and the like, but for a truly Pan- African experience, head for the hubbub of Warwick Junction a heady mix of people and produce. This is 'roots' territory - literally so when marvelling at a traditional healer's array of natural curatives. (Corner Queen & Russell Streets, Indian Quarter, Durban, 031 306 4021)
Vodacom Durban July
Usually held on the first Saturday of every July, the annual Durban July is South Africa's equivalent of the Royal Ascot in the UK, with superb thoroughbreds, but also high fashion, fine cuisine and elegance. It is the premier horseracing event in the country where the rich and famous go to be seen and is the most talked about social gathering among racing enthusiasts. Date: 7 July 2007 (Greyville Racecourse, Durban)
Zululand, ancestral home of the Zulu people and site of many a bloody battle between the British, the Boers and the Zulus during the 19th century, is best explored as a self-drive adventure, although many tours are available from Durban. Every town in this area of northern Kwa-Zulu Natal has a story to tell or an event to commemorate and tourism offices throughout the region provide maps and guides to assist visitors in making the most of the history, culture, scenery and wildlife. The landscape varies from plains, to rolling hills, river valleys and lush forests. This land once encompassed the Zulu kingdom led by legendary Shaka Zulu, who clashed with the British and the Boers in many epic battles. Centre of the Zulu nation is the small town of Eshowe. King Shaka was born close to the town, and it was also the site of a 10-week siege during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. Other towns of note are Ladysmith and Dundee, near which were fought the historic battles of Rorkes Drift, Blood River and Isandlwana. There are numerous living museums in the form of Zulu cultural villages open to visitors in the area. To the west of the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game reserves (150km north of Ulundi), one can explore cultural museums that concentrate on local history. Near Ondini, one can find the reconstructed royal enclosure of Cetshwayo, the Zulu King. The fascinating Vukani Collection Museum is found at Eshowe and boasts one of the best collections of Zulu art and culture in the world. Shakaland and Gingindlovu are also worth a visit. (Refer to the Kwa-Zulu Tourism website - http://www.kzn.org.za/kzn/)
Funworld is Durbans only amusement park, situated on the Marine Parade. It is a wonderland of family fun and fantasies, offering breathtaking rides on an aerial cableway, tilt n whirl, dodgems and the hair-raising swing-boat, to mention just a few. There are also plenty of rides for the little ones, such as the bumper cars, a carousel and kiddy-rides. There are plenty of thrilling adult rides for the adrenaline junkies too! Of course, this is no Disneyland, and children who are used to a larger scale park may be disappointed. Rides are moderately priced, but costs can add up. (Marine Parade, Beachfront, Durban, 031 332 9776)
The BAT Centre
On the Victoria Embankment beside the Durban harbour is a haven for traditional artists known as the BAT Centre (an acronym for Bartle Arts Trust). This multi-functional, multi-discipline arts and culture centre offers studio workspace, a 300-seat theatre, rehearsal facilities, exhibition galleries, audio-visual resources, cyber-cafe and the only restaurant in town serving authentic African dishes. There are stunning views of the harbour from the restaurant deck - during daylight hours, the intricacies of Africa's busiest port are laid out before you, including the comings-and-goings of the Yacht Mole and Small-Craft moorings. Come nightfall, the entire scenario transforms into a fairyland of lights reflecting on the vast, still water. Great is the temptation to spend many an hour on the BAT Centre deck! (031 332 0451, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Some of South Africas best beaches can be found along the Natal coastline, Umhlanga Rocks, Ballito, Shakas Rock, Shelley Beach (on the North Coast), Uvongo, St. Michaels and Margate (on the South coast) to mention just a few. These beaches offer safe swimming and fantastic surfing possibilities. Durban also boasts spectacular beaches including Addington Beach, South and North beaches and Dairy beach. (Refer to the Kwa-Zulu Tourism website - http://www.kzn.org.za/kzn/)
Burman Bush Nature Reserve
This is a small park (about 120 acres) which enjoys interesting coastal vegetation and is crossed by three, well marked trails. A visitors' center and interesting map help to explain the special characteristics of the reserve and the preservation work it has been, and is, carrying out. There are picnic spots dotted around the park, making it an ideal way to spend a day. The parking area is secured. Within easy reach of the city center this makes a nice day or half day outing. No admission charged. (Burman Drive, Morningside, Durban, 031 312 4466)
For those of you who fancy a bit of a flutter there are two Casinos to choose from.
The Suncoast Casino & Entertainment Centre, which is situated on Durbans Golden Mile, offers a large casino, plus many fabulous retails outlets and a Waterworld. (Suncoast Boulevard, Durbans Golden Mile, Durban, 031 328 3000/328 3161) Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom offers not only a state-of-the-art Casino, but many other entertainment venues, such as an open-sided theatre, dazzling live entertainment and The Boma, which promises an unforgettable evening under the stars. (1 Sibaya Drive, Umhlanga Rocks, 031 580 5000)
The South, and Durban's Bluff area in particular, is home to the vast majority of those who've expressed a sense of marginalization even within our non-racial democracy - the mixed-race folk who for centuries have been referred to as 'coloured'. Durban's self- proclaimed 'Rainbow People of the Rainbow Nation' have now launched their own tourism venture - The 'Coloured' Experience' - to give visitors meaningful insights into their history and present-day lives. Their four-hour tour aboard a 'coloured' mini-bus will reveal intimacies unknown even to most Durbanites black or white. (Gailforce Tours Trips Transfers cc., Telephone: 031 - 468 8609, Cell: 083 643 1923, E-mail: email@example.com)
If you are driving north from Durban, a few miles past Umhlanga, is the 'sugar town' of Tongaat. Crocodile Creek is located on the Tongaat River in sub-tropical bush and is home to over 7,000 Nile Crocodiles, Alligators, Caiman, snakes and other reptiles. The farm includes bush and hill trails, a waterfall, river plains, and thatched buildings with tree top walkways. There is a shop selling curios, crocodile leather goods, and croc dishes. Refreshments are also available. (Road D809, off Greylands Road and R102 Tongaat, Durban, 032 944 3845)
Come and play with the dolphins by riding a 6-meter rubber duck boat (with safety jackets provided). The boat takes you out into the ocean to play hide and seek with the dolphins. This is an excellent opportunity to view the dolphins in their natural environment and should not be missed. Experience at first hand these amazing creatures and marvel at how friendly they are. (Durban Beachfront, 083 230 2094)
The Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000. This mountain wilderness, bordering Lesotho, is a vast national park boasting the highest mountain range in South Africa. Known to the Zulus as the Barrier of Spears, the Drakensberg or Dragon Mountains mountain range is truly spectacular. Often referred to as Little Switzerland, this part of the world offers spectacular waterfalls, mountain peaks and rock faces adorned with San rock art. The jagged peaks of the Drakensberg (Dragon Mountains) tower over the eastern border of Kwa-Zulu Natal with Lesotho, providing a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The mountains abound with hiking trails, climbing routes, 4x4 trails, pony treks, fly-fishing and adventure pursuits, all accessible from numerous resorts in the lower reaches. Some of the more popular resorts are Champagne Castle, Cathkin Peak and Cathedral Peak, while Giants Castle and its game reserve are famed for the more than 500 rock paintings left behind by the San people on cave walls. Eagles soar around the peaks in the Royal Natal National Park in the north, where the dramatic scenery includes the Amphitheatre, a five-mile long (8km) curved basalt wall. The region is largely untamed, and criss-crossed by lengths of rugged dirt roads. The only road that breaches the mountain range and crosses the border to Lesotho is the hair-raising Sani Pass, which is topped by the highest pub in Africa. (Website: www.kznwildlife.com, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 033 845 1999)
Essenwood Craft Market
This market is situated in a park, which makes it visually and physically pleasant to visit. The colour, friendliness and quality makes this great market not only what shopping used to be like, but what is should be like. The philosophy at Essenwood is simple; everything sold at the market has to be
fresh, home grown, good value and above all great quality. (25 Berea Park Road, Berea, Durban, 031 202 5632)
Fitzsimons Snake Park
Fitzsimons Snake Park is situated on the Marine Parade, close to The Golden Mile. This snake park is home to hundreds of indigenous and exotic snakes. Demonstrations and talks are given five times daily, except during the holiday season. These talks give a fascinating insight into the habits of many of the indigenous snakes of this region. Imported reptiles are housed in thermostatically controlled cages. The visitor can watch the snakes being fed on weekends. This is not a zoo for the faint hearted. (240 Lower Marine Parade, Beach Front, 031 337 6456)
Royal Durban is a links type golf course and is one of the very few golf courses to be sited in the middle of a horseracing track. The Club was established in 1892 as the Durban Golf Club. The Club was granted Royal status in April 1932 following a visit and a round of golf from the then Prince of Wales in 1925. (Mitchell Crescent, Greyville, Durban, 027 031 309 1373)
Harbour Catamaran Tour
Hakuna Matata is a large, modern, motor driven Catamaran with a 70 person capacity. It takes regular one and a half hour trips into Durban harbour and out to sea, along the north coast. Hakuna Matata is also available for charters. To find the small craft basin, drive up Victoria Embankment from the sea, just past the statue of Dick King turn left, over the railway line and it is in front of you. This is an exciting and safe way to view Durban's coastline. (Small Crafts Basin, Victoria Embankment, 031 301 1115)
Harbour Yacht Cruise
The African Queen is an elegant sailing yacht which sails twice a day around the harbour and out to sea, north to Umhlanga. Currently times are 08H45 to noon for the champagne breakfast cruise and 12H15 to 03H00 for the champagne lunch cruise. There is a good chance of seeing whales or dolphins, as they swim freely in these waters. Prices include a meal and champagne. (Small Crafts Basin, Victoria Embankment, 031 301 1115)
Take a short tour (20, 30, 45 minutes and 1 hour long) of Durban. A helicopter tour offers an ideal, birds-eye view of the Golden Mile, Umhlanga Rocks, and schools of dolphin plus the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Longer trips include a lunch option in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, a golf tour, the battlefields, Drakensberg and Game viewing. There is no better way to traverse the city and see what it has to offer from the air. (NAC Helicopters Unlimited, Hangar No 4, Virginia Airport, Virginia Estates, Durban North, 031 564 0176)
Famous for its rhino conservation programme and big five sightings, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park is the largest of Kwa-Zulu Natals reserves and boasts a fantastic cross section of wildlife. Mkuzi and Ndomo game reserves are also popular and walking safaris in these reserves are spectacular. (Website: www.kznwildlife.com, e-mail: email@example.com, telephone: 033 845 1999)
A mere hundred metres or so away from the BAT Centre is the Maritime Museum, which details the history of the harbour and houses many interesting exhibits. From a lovingly- restored old tugboat to demonstrations of stevedoring skills, standing and audio-visual displays detail the history of this vital factor in Durban's evolution and projects what the future holds in store. Exploratory launch-trips of the harbour offer rare close- ups of giant ships and our ultra-modern facilities that service them. (Maritime Place, Aliwal Street, Victoria Embankment, 031 3112230)
Scenic introductory flights offered along the Dolphin Coast by qualified instructors at the Dolphin Coast Microlight School. The Dolphin Coast is the most beautiful of Natal's coastline. There are plenty of beaches and lagoons, plus of course sugar plantations to enjoy from your perch in the sky. If you've never done this before, don't worry, you're in safe hands. The thrill of swooping around the coast in one of these small flying machines is a real rush, but not for the faint hearted. (Contact: 082 659 5550)
North-west of Durban in the Midlands of Kwa-Zulu Natal is the Midmar Public Resort Nature Reserve, offering accommodation, picnic sites and recreational opportunities around the huge Midmar Dam. At the main entrance is the Midmar Historical Village, a reproduction of a 19th century redbrick village with tree-lined streets, a village church and Hindu Temple. Many of the buildings are originals that have been relocated to the site from towns and villages elsewhere in the province. There are also vintage steam train rides on offer and Shire horse carriage rides, as well as several shops, restaurants and exhibition halls. Midmar is also the centre of the Midlands Meander arts and crafts route, which winds through the Midlands along the R103 road, taking in more than 65 participating attractions dotted across the countryside, ranging from herb farms to antique shops and artists working with stained glass. The huge dam stages the annual Midmar Mile, the world's largest open water swim. (Website: www.kznwildlife.com, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 033 845 1999)
Florida Road leads ultimately to Mitchell Park, a large and tree- filled family favourite that boasts a magnificent aviary complex and colony of tortoise that certainly appear to be as old as Durban itself! And here, too, on the restaurant's wide patio, you'll meet feathered friends that cock a longing glance at your chef's recommendation. (10 Ferndale Road, Morningside, Durban, E-Mail: email@example.com)
Music in the Mountains
The annual Music in the Mountains festival draws lovers of music and nature to the Drakensberg Boys' Choir School where the exceptional voices of the world famous Drakensberg Boys' Choir are showcased. Besides the choir there are also performances by selected South African popular artists, and stalls selling unique handmade products. (Drakensberg Boy's Choir, Contact: 036-468 1012)
Whether you are looking for a club, bar, pub, restaurant, theatre or live music venue, Durban has it all and will keep you entertained until the wee hours of the morning. (Numerous web sites have details of the attractions available in Durban).
The Old Fort
Set in fine gardens, this model, old fort is a reconstruction of the basic defenses set up by the 27th Regiment, the Inniskiling Fusiliers. The original site was constructed to help protect the soldiers and the British population of the town from the Afrikaners who came and besieged Durban following their victory at the battle of Congella, in 1842. The Irishmen held out for a month when relief arrived from Grahamstown brought by the epic ride of Dick King. No admission fee is charged. (208 Old Fort Road, Durban, 031 205 1820)
Ocean Safari Boat Trip from uShaka Marine World
Join a one hour tour into the Indian Ocean with an informative local guide. You will cruise along Durban's golden mile where you will see the shark nets installed in 1952 after a spate of shark attacks in the area, and your guide will explain their role in protecting the local beaches. Durban once boasted the largest land based whaling station in the world and the tour will take you past it as well as some wrecks and reefs in the area. Throughout the tour there may be sightings of dolphins, whales, whale sharks, sea birds, rays and more. It is possible to snorkel as well if you wish, and masks and snorkels are provided. These boat trips leave from uShaka Marine World daily, with the exception of certain Public Holidays. (1 Bell Street, Durban, 031 328 2000)
The Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve is a wonderfully scenic area offering excellent activities, from heart stopping, adrenalin pumping activities, to more sedate activities, Oribi Gorge has it all. The area boasts cliffs, forests, spectacular hiking trails, picnic sites, prolific bird-watching and wildlife. There are so many things on offer at Oribi Gorge that you could be busy for longer than a day, so perhaps an overnight stay would be in order. Thembela Tours takes you on a 4 hour tour of a traditional Zulu village (Contact: Mandla on 082 2655 718) Adrenalin Activities: a 100 metre (33 storeys) gorge swing, abseiling (the first 45m is a cliff abseil, whilst the remaining 65m is a free abseil), Foofy slide (120m long, 160m above the gorge), white water rafting (half-day, full day and two day trips are available), four hiking trails and two mountain bike trails. (Wild 5, Contact: Paul or Karen Jefferys, 039 6870253, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Coffee is also grown in this area and tours of one of the Coffee Plantations can be arranged. Leopard Rock Coffee Shop offers mouthwatering light snacks and lunches, whilst Lake Eland Game Reserve also offers a number of activities, including: Game drives, Curio Shop, Picnic sites, braai area, a childrens playground, horse trails, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, fresh-water fishing, 80m suspension bridge and many more. (Contact: Paul or Karen Jefferys, 039 6870253, E-Mail: email@example.com)
An old saying declares that 'getting there is half the fun' - never more true than this particular journey! To begin with - and only a few kilometres into your journey - The Pavilion beckons with somewhat whimsical architecture to explore its vast, multi-level array of up market shops, restaurants, coffee bars and cinemas. This enormous and ambitious undertaking is perhaps worth a day trip in its own right!
Take a swing at this popular game, but without serious prices and talk of handicaps. This is an indoor, air-conditioned, 36-hole course for those particularly hot days when you want to escape from the beach and take in a few rounds. This putt-putt course is a fun day out for the family. (Brickhill Road, Beachfront, Durban)
There are 20 registered rickshaw-pullers in Durban. They are noted for their magnificent head-dresses, resplendent with beads and other decorations. Rickshaws were brought into KwaZulu-Natal in 1893 by the sugar magnate Sir Marshall Campbell to provide transport for his wife. They have become a unique tourist attraction run by the Zulu population and incorporated into their culture. You will also find many locals selling their hand-made crafts along the Rickshaw tour on the beachfront. (Lower Marine Parade, Beachfront, Durban, 031 332 5671)
Scuba Diving - Mkomazi River
Named the Place of Whales by King Shaka after marvelling at the giant creatures basking in the river mouth, the broad Mkomazi River's southern bank is crowned by the spectacularly sited town of Umkomaas. Now within Durban Metro limits, but also regarded as the first destination of our South Coast region, Umkomaas is worth an extra mention because 5km offshore lies the internationally renowned scuba-diving combination of Aliwal Shoal and the Nebo - a steamer that sank in 1884. More proof that our beaches have exuded magnetic qualities for a very long time! (Aliwal Dive Charters, Contact: Lesley/Nigel, 039 - 973 2233)
Timewarp Surfing Museum
Hawaiian kings may have invented surfing, but we caught on very quickly...and Durban's own 'hang-ten' history is displayed with devotion at the Timewarp Surfing Museum. Curated by the (grand) father-figure of the Durban surf scene, Baron Stander, one of the museum's aims is to enthuse new generations...particularly those youngsters who were alienated from the surfing culture by the racially-segregated beaches of our recent past. (Ocean Sports Centre, Dairy Beach, Contact: Baron - Tel 082-4521637.)
A stone's throw from the City Hall, Durban's original railway station building is now the picturesque home of Tourist Junction...your one- stop source of every holiday-planning requirement! In keeping with our 'East meets West in the Zulu Kingdom', the Indian High Commission is located here plus on entry you are greeted by a warm Zulu reception, and you can see an impressive bust of Mahatma Gandhi. (031 304 4934)
Umhlanga Rocks is located just 16 km from the centre of Durban. Visitors from around the world flock to the holiday resort village of Umhlanga to relax and have fun on one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.
The spectacular Gateway shopping centre and Sibaya Casino are some of the key attractions that Umhlanga Rocks has to offer. Ocean enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers will be in their element - surfing, deep-sea fishing, whale watching and dolphin viewing, scuba diving, kite boarding and micro light flips are just some of the many activities available on this wonderful stretch of coastline. For serious golfers there are many superb golf courses all within a 15 minute drive of Umhlanga. The shopping choices in Umhlanga offer something for everyone, from high-end boutiques to bargain stores! (Umhlanga Tourist Information, Web Address: www.umhlanga-rocks.com, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
uShaka Marine World
In January 2004 Sea World closed its doors to the public and reopened as uShaka Marine World, which has become the largest marine theme park in Africa. The park is tastefully themed with African imagery and has five zones offering entertainment, dining, a retail village, water slides and access to uShaka Beach. The Sea World zone incorporates an aquarium, dolphinarium, a seal pool and penguin rookery, as well as interactive activities in the dive tank, snorkel reef and touch pool, while Wet 'n Wild offers heart-stopping, adrenalin-pumping rides as well as water-based activities for the less adventurous. (1 Bell Street, Durban, 031 328 2000)
Valley of a Thousand Hills
One of the most picturesque drives in the world is just 45km from Durban, known as the Valley of a Thousand Hills. It is in these hills that Zulu people still live in their traditional huts, the views are breathtaking, to be savoured slowly. Go fly a kite or, if a hint of danger turns you on, marvel at your own bird's-eye view from a paraglider or micro light! Novice- friendly instructors have all the necessary equipment, expertise and words of encouragement to get you airborne. While aloft and re- enacting Snoopy vs. The Red Baron, you'll notice 15 conservancies within the Valley of a Thousand Hills - the highest concentration in our Zulu Kingdom, if not the entire country. Rainbow-hued mist will direct you towards Shongweni Dam and the column of waterfall-spray that inspired its Zulu name. Here lies the scenic backdrop to a recently instituted annual event that's captured the imagination of music lovers globally - The Festival of Living Treasures. This long-weekend of World Music gathers together on one bill leading exponents of the genre from Africa and all quarters...as far-flung as Tibet and the Andes. (Website: www.kznwildlife.com, e-mail: email@example.com, telephone: 033 845 1999)
KwaZulu-Natal boasts a wide range of markets, craft shops and galleries where one can purchase the finest Zulu crafts. Traditional baskets, woven beer strainers, Zulu drums, shields and assegais, beadwork, pottery and regalia - all can be purchased at reasonable prices. The African Arts Centre is home-from-home for the many rural artists who sell their work here, sales that often provide the family's only income. The centre's 30-year history has aimed at shifting public opinion away from 'meaningless' knick- knacks to African art as an authentic expression in its own right. Tourist Junction houses a retail outlet of the centre. (Website: www.kznwildlife.com, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 033 845 1999)