Durban, a South African city in the KwaZulu Natal, has all the magical ingredients to offer an exciting and unique holiday of a lifetime. Firstly theres the beach, which fringes the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and offers a plethora of water sports to the athletically inclined. There are beachfront bars for those who are less so. Then theres the wildlife safaris. You can see animals on the savannahs here, that you wont see anywhere else in the world. Combine that with the regions historic battlefields, mouth-watering cuisine, extreme natural beauty and its easy to see why this destination has such a buzz about it.
With its year-round sunshine, hipster vibe and numerous family attractions, the best way to explore all of Durbans highlights is via an all inclusive luxury package. In this way, not only will you get to experience a legendary inner-city dance party with Zulu barbecue food and top Djs, but also the majesty of the Drakensberg mountains and a thrilling game drive.
One of our favourite tour operators is Kuoni; a safe pair of hands in the world of safari holidays, who will offer you exciting overnight accommodation with a view, easy transfers and the chance to get close to the action on all fronts, with the help of a professional tour guide. Youll discover urban African life and its contrasting counterpart; the peaceful calm of the tribal settlements outside the city. But before we get into the details, lets take a look at all Durban has to offer.
Durban art and culture
This is a creative city and a tour of it will take you past walls of meaningful graffiti, commissioned street art, performance artists on the beach front, and the upmarket KZNSA gallery, not to mention the popular African Art Centre.
There are also plenty of museums to educate visitors to the region about its heritage and history. The KwaMuhle museum offer exhibits which depict what life was like in the city during apartheid and the Phansi museum houses Zulu artefacts; such as local crafts, beads and ceramics.
To step back into the past and get a taste of colonial times, you could head over to Durbans botanical gardens. This green oasis in the middle of the concrete was created in 1849 and is the oldest botanical garden in Africa. When you spread your scones with cream, as you decide whos going to be mother with the teapot in the tea garden here, youll get a sense of how it would have felt to be British in such an exotically hot climate during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Eating out in Durban
Known for its array of street food, just as much as its fancy restaurants, theres a huge variety of eateries to choose from in Durban. Youll find plenty of international style restaurants on the Main Street, which sit alongside more speciality establishments serving Durban fusion foods, such as chicken schnitzel roti.
If you eat in one of the beach front restaurants, youll have a terrific view. Many of them have balconies, from which you can look out over the ocean. Why not sit in prime position for spotting the dolphins as they swim past.
Durbans most famous dish has to be Bunny Chow. This is a fresh loaf of white bread, hollowed out in the middle and filled with spicy curry, with your choice of meat, although vegetarian options are also available. Eat it with beer, dont be afraid to make a mess (everyone does) and bear in mind that even a quarter loaf is plenty for a hearty meal!
Also popular in Durban are fresh sardines served on toast with onions. The coastline here is home to the infamous Sardine Run, which is when the fish migrate in their millions. When this happens theres a feeding frenzy in the sea between the dolphins, sharks and seals. The fishermen sell their wares to the local restaurants. Youre also close to one of South Africas wine-growing areas here, so why not wash down your fish with a bottle of local white wine.
The one meal you definitely have to try is Zulu barbecue food, Shias Nyama, which is when steak, chicken and sausages are grilled outside. Also known as braai. These barbecue nights are often accompanied by dancing late into the night and plenty of cold beer.
Are you looking for a department store bargain, or some authentic African crafts? Perhaps youd like some vintage artefacts? The shops and markets here cater for every taste. The Gateway Theatre of Shopping is the big name in Durban Shopping malls and is actually one of the 50th largest in the world. The best hipster hangout is the Station Drive Precinct, which is great for vintage clothes and jewellery. If its records, books and curios youre after, then youll need to head for the Main Street.
As for the markets, you can get local designer fashions at the I heart Market, which is just outside the stadium and traditional crafts and goods at Muthi Market on Victoria Street.
Attractions in Durban
One of the greatest pulls of South Africa is its coastline and Durbans Golden Mile beachfront is a vibrant affair, with a long promenade and plenty going on. Theres a variety of water sports available here, or if you prefer, you can simply lounge on the warm sand and catch the rays. Surf, swim, snorkel, dive, fish or relax its up to you.
If youre on holiday with the kids, theyll love Ushaka Marine World, a theme park with animal encounters, the Mitchell Park Zoo and Umgeni Bird Park. Mini town is a town built in miniature, that will delight and entertain the little ones, while the natural science museum is always an option if youre looking to escape the heat for a while.
Travelling around the KwaZulu-Natal with Kuoni
Of course, theres more to the KZN province than just Durban and in our opinion, the best way to experience the area is with an all-inclusive package, such as that of Kuonis; a well-respected tour operator with whom we work; booking holidays on their behalf.
A trip with them will take you to the hills and valleys, where the infamous 19th century Zulu battles were fought. These battlefields were the site where history-changing fights rocked the British empire, wore down the Boers and broke the Zulus. They attract visitors and history-enthusiasts from all over the world.
Youll get to explore the Drakensberg region too, where youll have the chance to to discover the eastern coastline and stay in a mountain lodge among the peaks. Here youll have the chance to spot giraffes, zebras and rhinos during a game walk.
No trip to South Africa is complete without a proper safari experience. Your Kuoni guide will take you on a traditional game drive to see the big 5 in their natural habitat. The KZN is home to the magnificent Wetland Park on the Elephant Coast and the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi game reserve where you might be lucky enough to see a white rhino.
Kuoni offers you the real Durban and KwaZulu-Natal experience, as well as the chance to gain a real, authentic insight into South Africa. Are you ready to discover what all the fuss is about and what makes this part of the world so special? Please get in touch with the Aspen Travel team for more information on the discounts we can offer and how impressively well we can accommodate your travel preferences.