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Overview

South Africa's third-largest city and busiest port lies on the KwaZulu-Natal coast 50 km (31 miles) southeast of the provincial capital Pietermaritzburg. Durban differs from other large South African cities in the high profile of its Indian population, particularly around the aromatic Victoria Street Market and Jumma Mosque, reputedly the largest such temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Tourist activity centers on Durban's legendary "Golden Mile," whose general aura of having seen better days is tempered by a string of high-rise hotels and seafood restaurants. A popular beachfront highlight is the aquarium and dolphinarium at uShaka Marine ...

South Africa's third-largest city and busiest port lies on the KwaZulu-Natal coast 50 km (31 miles) southeast of the provincial capital Pietermaritzburg. Durban differs from other large South African cities in the high profile of its Indian population, particularly around the aromatic Victoria Street Market and Jumma Mosque, reputedly the largest such temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Tourist activity centers on Durban's legendary "Golden Mile," whose general aura of having seen better days is tempered by a string of high-rise hotels and seafood restaurants. A popular beachfront highlight is the aquarium and dolphinarium at uShaka Marine World, but those seeking a less urbanized experience are pointed to Umhlanga Rocks, a quaint but well-equipped beach resort some 20 km (12 miles) farther north.

The coastline south of Durban is studded with small resort towns; these mainly cater to local holidaymakers, so can be very peaceful and good value outside of local school vacation season. For a break from the beachfront, drive inland to scenic Oribi Gorge, which harbors a variety of cliff-dwelling mammals and forest birds.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The climate is very pleasant during winter (May-September) and hotter and more humid in summer, especially November-February.