48 hours in Durban

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From culture to adventure, visitors can experience it all in the vibrant city of Durban in just 48 hours.

Day 1: The Golden Mile and Moses Mabhida Stadium

During the day

Start the day off by exploring Durban’s iconic Golden Mile, which stretches from South Beach, near uShaka Marine World, all the way to the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World. At around six kilometres (much longer than a mile) the Golden Mile was redeveloped ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Over R500 million (€30m) was spent on resurfacing and widening the walkway, as well as on improving its surrounding attractions.

There are various ways to travel along the Golden Mile, with many of the locals opting to go for early morning jogs before the heat of the day sets in. Those seeking something a bit more adventurous should try a rickshaw ride. Known for their large, colourful headdresses adorned with beads and feathers, there are about 20 rickshaw operators based along the Mile. Trips range between about R50 and R100, depending on how far you would like to go.

Shop for souvenirs along the Mile walkway, as market vendors sell their various arts and crafts. There is also a ‘mini town’ of Durban – a miniature replica of the city. Weather permitting it could be worth wandering off the path and onto one of Durban’s famed beaches. Popular options include North Beach, where visitors can watch the surfers take on the waves, or Blue Lagoon, where many fishermen try their luck.

There are also many restaurants along the route where guests can enjoy lunch – with various fast food options available at North Beach, or at the many hotels along the Golden Mile. From there, we advise taking the Segway Gliding Tour from the Golden Mile to Moses Mabhida Stadium. At stadium, visitors can step into the Sky Car and be transported to the top of the stadium arch at 106 metres, offering 360-degree views of the city.

Just six kilometres away, families can enjoy an afternoon at uShaka Marine World, which features a water park and the largest aquarium in the southern hemisphere. After an up-close-and-personal experience, guests can visit Sea Animals Encounter Island, where they can meet a dolphin, cage-dive with sharks, feed a stingray or snorkel with exotic fish. 

In the evening

From uShaka Marine World, guests can choose from a range of restaurants for dinner, from family-friendly options, to something more upmarket. Wahooz is on the promenade and known for its cocktails, while The Cargo Hold in the ‘Phantom Ship’ has views of the ocean and the shark tank. There are also steakhouses, pizzerias and seafood restaurants nearby.

Stay overnight at one of the Tsogo Sun properties along the beachfront: the Garden Court South Beach has just undergone at R22 million (1.31m) upgrade that saw extensive renovations to the main public areas, as well as a R12 million (€716 000) soft refurbishment of its 414 guest rooms. Other options include the Suncoast Casino and Towers and the well-known Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani Hotel.

Day 2: Culture and Community

During the day

After breakfast set off on the ‘Oriental Walk About’ tour. Starting at Durban’s old railway station, you can learn about the history of the three main buildings, as well as more about Gandhi and the culture of Durban’s Indians. Then make your way through the Arcades and to the Juma Masjid Mosque and Emmanuel Cathedral. Afterwards, head to Victoria Street Market, where you can spend several hours wandering about shopping for crafts, jewellery, spices, clothing and fresh produce. Some of the vendors sell freshly prepared food, so this would be a good place to stop for a snack or quick lunch.

From here, drive approximately 30km to Hillcrest, possibly stopping on route at the Pavilion shopping centre for those who still want to indulge in some retail therapy or a meal. Spend a few hours at the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust learning about their high-impact projects, which range from community vegetable gardens to ‘granny support groups’ for grandmothers who have lost children to HIV/Aids and are now tasked with supporting and raising their grandchildren.

 In the evening

Another 30km by car back to Morningside will see you in buzzing part of Durban, known for its busy restaurants and bars. If you’re in the mood for an authentic Indian curry, eat dinner at Mali’s Indian Restaurant or Indian Connection. Stay overnight at one of Morningside’s quirky B&Bs, many of which are within walking distance of Morningside’s Florida Road, where many of the restaurants and nightspots are located.

Compiled By: Melissa Jane Cook. Source By: Sue Van Winsen.