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Discovering Durban: Things to Do

By Bidvest Bank
Golden beaches, warm water, exotic cuisine, a melting pot of cultures and friendly people – Durban has it all. Often overlooked in favour of her designer cousin, Cape Town, Durban is a cosmopolitan queen in her own right, with an array of places to see and things to do.

Affectionately known as ‘Durbs’ by locals, the coastal city of Durban lies on the eastern shores of South Africa and is home to one of the busiest ports on the continent. Flanked by a stunning coastline of sun-kissed beaches and azure water, the subtropical climate and array of tourist attractions draws visitors to Durban from far and wide to enjoy the relaxed outdoor lifestyle that the city offers.

Durban’s architecture is an attraction in its own right, from elegant colonial-era buildings to the new state-of-the-art Moses Mabhida soccer stadium that was built for the FIFA 2010 World Cup. For the best views of Durban and beyond, take the SkyCar to the top of the stadium arch, before stepping onto the platform where you’ll be 106 metres above the ground – not quite the sky, but somewhat closer.

If you’re a fan of the outdoors, the ‘Golden Mile’ is a wide promenade that runs along the length of Durban’s beachfront, providing a picture-perfect walkway along which to to soak up the scenery. Hire a bike or put on those walking shoes and join the other joggers, cyclists and dog owners who flock to the promenade daily to enjoy early-morning and late-afternoon exercise.

Adrenalin junkies looking for a bit more of a thrill than running or cycling won’t be disappointed. Try your hand at deep-sea fishing, jet skiing and shark cage diving through various companies that will take you on day tours out on the ocean. Soak up the sea air, gaze at exquisite scenery and maybe even spot a dolphin or two.

Durban is truly a city of contrasts with its mix of Indian, Zulu and post-colonial influences reflected in the city’s architecture and cuisine. Enjoy an elegant brunch at the recently refurbished Oyster Box in Umhlanga as you gaze at the iconic lighthouse. Afro’s Chicken on Durban’s beachfront serves the best chicken burgers in town out of a bright yellow shipping container, while Panaji in Durban North offers curries that will blow your socks off in terms of both taste and flavour. The Boiler Room Café near the stadium in Morningside fuses trendy industrial décor with fresh, delicious food – it’s the place to be seen right now.

But Durban isn’t just for adults – there’s so much for kids to do here as well. Take them for an all day adventure in the water park at uShaka Marine World, or watch a show in the aquarium as they learn more about our rich marine life. Makaranga Gardens in Kloof is a stunning setting for picnics or enjoying a light meal while your little ones explore its perfectly tended forests and lawns.

Love shopping? Then you’ve come to the right place. The city’s shopping centres are some of Durban’s biggest tourist attractions. Try out the Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Umhlanga, the Pavilion in Westville and the Galleria in Amanzimtoti. 

Whether you’re getting your adrenalin fix on a shark cage dive, enjoying a tandoori chicken at one of the city’s many curry houses or simply taking a stroll along the beachfront, Durban has so many things to see and do. Heaps of natural beauty, warm and friendly people and an eclectic mix of cultures mean that this is one city you don’t want to miss out on visiting.

Thinking of visiting Durban? Get your forex through Bidvest Bank and take advantage of our established presence in South Africa with our network of branches nationwide. Our South African Rand Currency Card lets you preload funds onto your card that you can draw as cash from a VISA ATM, making it a safer, more convenient way to manage your spending money.