World Cup 2010: spotlight on Durban

This is the second of a 3-part series about the World Cup destinations by Border Jumpers bloggers Bernard Pollack and Danielle Nierenberg. Check out their earlier post about what to do in Johannesburg.

Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South AfricaWhether you are here now for World Cup or planning on visiting Durban for vacation soon, there’s no shortage of things to do in this incredible city.

Durban has a population of almost 3.5 million and is a major domestic tourist destination, close to national parks and the historic sites of Zululand and the Drakensberg.

Similar to our experience in Johannesburg, people kept warning us about the crime rate due to the economic crisis that resulted in very high rates of unemployment, reaching over 30 per cent in many parts of the city.

But again we felt pretty safe. We never felt threatened or scared in any way, despite staying at a hostel right in the city centre, where we were able to advantage of all the terrific hi-speed Wi-Fi spots, nightlife, and affordable restaurants within walking distance.

We want to share with you ten cool things to do when visiting Durban:

  1. Whether you like walking along the beach, surfing, swimming or all of the above, Durban’s Golden Mile (a popular stretch of beachfront in the city) boasts warm water all year round.
  2. Visit a traditional village in Zululand. You can take lessons in traditional dance and music or relax by the beautiful Phobane Lake.
  3. Go check out the Durban Botanical Gardens, a beautiful get-away, with free live concerts on Sunday afternoons, and a laid-back atmosphere (they let you bring in groceries to have your own picnic).
  4. Have breakfast or lunch at Earthmother Organic (134 Davenport Road) where you can choose from delicious salads, sandwiches and hot meals with very healthy organic ingredients. For vegans this might be your best option in the city, and we highly recommend anything off the menu of freshly squeezed juices. On a site visit, we met with several of the local farmers who are suppliers to them.
  5. Grabbing a rental car and going for a drive through the green hills of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands , or stop by some art galleries and museums in KwaZulu-Natal capital city Pietermaritzburg.
  6. For those looking for a safari, you could head to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal. In addition to incredible birds and other species you might also spot all the ‘Big Five’ – lions, buffaloes, rhinos, elephant and leopards.
  7. For families, you might take the kids to Ushaka Marine World, Africa’s largest marine and water park. The place has five ‘zones’, including Sea World (aquarium), a Phantom Ship (restaurant), Wet ‘n’ Wild (waterpark) and Ushaka Beach.
  8. Pay a visit to the Indian Market, where you can grab a bite to eat, buy spices, meet traditional healers and try on cool fabrics.
  9. For seafood lovers, you won’t go wrong with a trip to New Cafe Fish or alternatively Famous Fish Co.
  10. A final word of warning for backpackers: choose your hostel carefully. We recommend avoiding the over-priced, poor value Lonely Planet ‘pick’ called Gibela Backpackers. You can find lots of other similar hotel accommodations that won’t bleed your wallet dry.

This guest post was contributed by Bernard Pollack and Danielle Nierenberg of Border Jumpers. The views expressed are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect those of Cheapflights Ltd.

Article by Oonagh Shiel (3388 posts)

Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!