Durban is a buzzing coastal metropolis, located on the shores of the indian ocean in South Africa. With an extensive coastline of golden beaches, a year round subtropical climate and a multicultural vibe, Durban is one of those cities in South Africa that is hard not to like and enjoy.
Durban has always fascinated me since my first visit back in 2008 even though I’m not really a huge fan of larger cities. During my travels around the world, I always tried to avoid them or stay for as short as possible. But sometimes, there is this ‘special’ atmosphere that surrounds a large city, and for me Durban is one of those.
For me, every time I arrive in Durban, it’s like arriving in a different world, a haven of relaxation, a break. There are several reasons why I would recommend every traveller to visit Durban during a holiday in South Africa.
9 Reasons to visit Durban in South Africa
Durban, a warm place to be
Durban has a warm subtropical climate, giving the city year round very pleasant weather. During the winter months, when in most parts of South Africa, temperatures can be very low, Durban still enjoys very pleasant and warm temperatures. During most of the winter days, it is possible to suntan on the beach and even take a swim in the ocean. It also very rarely rains during the winter months from May to September.
Swimming is possible all year round
The city is located on the east coast by the Indian ocean. With its warm waters, swimming is possible all year round. I personally do not like cold water and I will hardly ever swim anywhere in the ocean, but I always make an exception when in Durban. The Indian ocean is so inviting with its warm water, and even in winter, I will swim.
Swimming is only allowed at specific places on the beachfront, clearly marked by flags and lifeguard towers. Also, they have installed special shark nets to make swimming that much safer.
The Golden Mile
The ‘Golden Mile’ is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city. It’s a 6km long stretch of golden beach with a paved promenade that runs all the way from Ushaka to the Suncoast casino. During the last years a lot of revamping has been done and it is now a great place to enjoy the beachfront of the city centre. The promenade is very popular for cycling, jogging, roller skating, taking a stroll or just meeting up with other people. Especially during the early hours of the morning and by sunset a lot of local people come for a walk or their daily run.
On the Golden Mile, you can find various public pools, which is especially nice for children, playground areas, restaurants, bars and not to forget the typical Zulu rickshaw runners.
Durban is a culinary heaven
If you love indian curries, seafood, or fusion food, Durban is the place to be. Being the city with the largest indian population outside of India, Durban hosts a large amount of restaurants with some of the best indian food. Being located by the sea, fish and seafood is present on every menu and is fresh and tasty.
South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation pointing out the country’s cultural diversity. Without doubt, Durban is the most multicultural city of South Africa, having a great cultural mix of Zulu, Indian, post colonial and African influences.
When walking in town or on the beachfront, you will experience a great diversity of cultures. It also reflects in the cities architecture as well as in their food culture. For example, one of the typical features on the Durban beachfront is the iconic Zulu rickshaw runner, complete in traditional outfit.
The Surf City
Durban is known as the ‘Surf City’, with popular surf spots all along the Durban beachfront. From the first hours of the day till late afternoon you will spot surfers along the coast. Apart from the great waves on the ocean, it is also the warm waters that will attract many surfers, making it a comfortable ‘surf’ ride on the waves.
Durban is often incorrectly regarded as an unsafe city. As in many other large cities in the world, one should always be aware of their belongings and avoid certain areas. Durban is not different in that regard. However, the tourist areas as well as the beachfront are fine. Since the Golden Mile is a public beachfront in the middle of the city, one should not leave anything unattended when taking a swim. For the rest, according to my own experiences and taking the basic safety rules into account, Durban is safe.
Durban is the friendly city
The people from Durban are very warm and welcoming. Random people will start conversations, they are helpful and very friendly. At least that is my personal experience.
Durban is very laid back
Maybe it has something to do with the subtropical climate, maybe due to the multicultural mix, maybe with the warm water of the indian ocean, one thing is for sure, Durban has a very laid back atmosphere. You’ll notice immediately when being in the city.
Yet, it is a bussling and prosperous city, things are getting done, however in a more relaxed way.
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What is for you the most laid back and multicultural city?