The Ultimate Guide to Tourist Attractions in Durban
Endless sunshine, delicious food and a convergence of many different cultures, the city of Durban is the place to be this summer. Whether you are a foodie, want to try your hand at surfing or you simply want to absorb as much warm rays as possible, Durban has it all. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, these 13 activities will get you falling in love with the coastal city in no time.
1. Take a romantic cruise down the canals with Zulumoon Gondolas
Enjoy a relaxing gondola ride, with your partner, down the canals at the Durban Point Waterfront, situated just adjacent to the Ushaka Village Walk. Each gondola is eight metres long, can accommodate up to four adult passengers, and has been created with a unique design and an intriguing touch, that will make you feel like you have been transported to the canals of Venice. The Gondolas are the place to go for a relaxing picnic with friends, your anniversary, a date or perhaps you want to step it up a notch and propose to that special someone, in the perfect romantic setting. Zulumoon Gondolas has got you covered. If you are looking for romantic date ideas, these gondolas rides are a must try for couples, young and old alike.
Operating hours – 10:30am to 6pm
2. Take a day off with the family at the Ushaka Marine World
Ushaka Marine World is perhaps one of the biggest and most popular tourist attractions along Durban’s Golden Mile. It consists of many different sections and activities for the whole family including the Wet ’n Wild waterpark, with tonnes of thrilling rides, Sea World, which supposedly hosts the largest aquarium in the Southern Hemisphere and Ushaka Kids World for the little ones to explore and have fun. Ushaka also has a seal stadium, a penguin exhibit and even scheduled dolphin shows for your viewing pleasure. You can even scuba dive with sharks if you feeling brave enough. Once you tire yourself out from all the fun activities you can take a leisurely stroll through the Village Walk which is full of shops, restaurants and live music.
Operating hours – Sea World (9am to 5pm), Wet ‘n Wild (temporarily closed due to Covid19 concerns), Kids World (temporarily closed due to Covid19 concerns).
3. Bungee Jump off the highest swing in the world at Moses Mabhida Stadium
Built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in 2010 this stadium, with its massive white arch, is a true beauty of architecture. The star feature of this stadium is definitely the Big Rush Big Swing Bungee Jump. Make the trek up the stairs to the jumping platform, get hooked up by the operators, jump off and then let the extreme adrenaline rush take over. Speaking from personal experience here, it is definitely an activity you can’t pass up on if you are an adrenaline junkie. Don’t worry though, if this doesn’t appeal to you, you can book a trip up in the Sky Car, which will take you to the top of the arch, where you will be treated with beautiful 360 views of Durban. There is also the Adventure Walk in which you walk to the top up the stairs. The Stadium also offers Segway Rides, a few restaurants and a park to relax and eat at.
Operating hours – Sky Car (9am to 5pm), Big Swing (10am to 4pm), Adventure walk (10am, 1pm, and 4pm), Segway Gliding tours (9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm)
4. Take a boat cruise around the Durban harbour
Get your friends together and enjoy a morning boat cruise around the busiest harbour in the Southern Hemisphere. You can do a 30minute cruise or a 2hour cruise. Both cruises meet at Wilson’s Wharf. The 30 min tour leaves at 10am, 12am, 2pm and 4pm. Snacks aren’t provided so bring a beer or two to enjoy with friends. The 2-hour cruise leaves at 9am and 12pm and provides snacks. Keep in mind though that these are two separate companies. See Durban from a whole new perspective and if you are lucky you may even catch a glimpse of dolphins and whales.
5. Go shopping for food, art and crafts at the I Heart Market
Although not really a tourist attraction, if you want to do some retail therapy, then head over to the I Heart Market situated at The Hay Store on the Point Waterfront, held on the first Saturday of every month. This market is all about local. Local food, local crafts and local businesses. Here you can find new and second-hand items from handmade crafts; homemade preserves and baked goods; arts and crafts designed by local artists; a vast selection of jewellery; children’s toys and products; homeware and many second-hand treasures. Enjoy something tasty to eat at one of the fabulous food stalls whilst walking around this spectacular market. Entrance fee is free.
Operating hours 8:30am to 2pm. First Saturday of every month
6. Feel like Godzilla at the Mini town theme park
For a whole new perspective on Durban, pay a visit to Mini Town, situated next to the beachside skatepark, which has some of Durban’s most iconic buildings, scaled down to just above knee height. An impressive feature of the Mini town is that it has miniature running trains, an airport fill of planes and a harbour with ships that move around. If you want some unique photos, this is the place to go. This is a fun little (pun intended) outing for the young and old alike.
Operating hours 9am to 4:30pm
7. Take a Rickshaw Ride down the beautiful Golden Mile
The Rickshaw Rides are one of the most popular tourist attractions around and are a unique experience in Durban that you don’t find anywhere else. The beautifully decorated carriages showcase the traditional Zulu style and the rickshaw pullers dress up in traditional Zulu attire. This tourist attraction is a special way to see Durban’s famous Golden Mile. To get a ride locate one of the 20 licensed rickshaws which stand along various points of the beachfront, pay the rickshaw puller the fee, hop in and enjoy.
8. Eat Ice-cream with a view of the ocean in the cableway at Funworld
Funworld is another beachside attraction along the Golden Mile. It has a few rides to try out, the most scenic of which is the cableway ride which gives you spectacular views of the city and the ocean. There is also the swing-boat, the carousel, mini train ride and the tornedo to name a few. Entry for the park is free but you pay per ride. A great place for a date or just some good ol’ fun.
Operating hours – Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm.
9. Face your fears and go cage diving with Sharks
Feeling brave? Why not try some shark cage diving. If you are willing to make the 30-60-minute drive south of Durban to Scottburgh, you can face these apex predators up close and personal. You don’t have to be Scuba qualified to do this. In fact, even the kids can have a dive with the sharks. For more information visit the Blue Wilderness website. If you love adventure, then this activity is definitely for you.
Operating hours are from 6am to 6pm
10. Learn about the wildlife of South Africa by paying a visit to the Natural Science Museum
If you have some time to kill, pay a visit to the Natural Science Museum which hosts an impressive collection of African animals. On the 1st floor of the magnificent Durban City hall, this trove of dinosaurs, fossils and taxidermized predators will enchant both kids and grown-ups. And the best part is that entrance is free, and who doesn’t like free stuff right!
Operating hours 8:30am to 4pm – Monday to Saturday. 11am to 4pm – Sunday.
11. Get a taste of Durban history at the KwaMuhle Museum
Dive deep into Durban’s history at this apartheid focused museum. This building, once the headquarters of the City’s infamous Native Administration Department and the center of Durban’s harsh system of labour control, has been transformed into a museum. The museum seeks to reflect the Durban’s urban growth and the history of its residents from a range of perspectives. Visit the KwaMuhle Museum and discover what life was like in and around Durban during and leading up to the apartheid era. Ponder over the exhibits and reflect on the contributions of the ordinary people who laid the foundations of eThekwini’s (Durban and its surrounding area) development as one of Africa’s leading cities. Price is free.
Operating hours 8:30am to 4pm – Monday to Saturday. Closed on Sundays and public holidays.
12. Eat a delicious meal above the city in the Roma Revolving Restaurant
A fine dining experience like no other, the Roma Revolving Restaurant located on the 32nd floor of the John Ross House rotates in a full circle, giving you 360-degree views of the Durban skyline. The Roma specializes in Italian cuisine and seafood dishes like crayfish and prawns. A full rotation takes between 60 – 90 minutes so you have plenty of time to enjoy your meal while slowly taking in the changing scenery of the city of Durban.
Operating hours – (temporarily closed due to Covid19)
13. Cool down with a swim at one of Durban’s many sandy beaches
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a dip in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. If you are visiting Durban it’s a must. Both Durban’s North and South Coast is dotted with Blue flag status beaches that are noted for their clean sands and beautiful waters. With gorgeous stretches of golden sands, sub-tropical sunshine and the warm waters, Durban’s beaches provide all the ingredients for the ideal summer holiday. You can even bring a surfboard or bodyboard and shred some of Durban’s most thrilling waves. And the best part about it, is that it is absolutely free.