Nothing beats Durban’s beaches. That warm Indian Ocean is perfect for those that want nothing more than to frolic out in the surf.
This South African coastal city has much to offer those looking for a beach-based getaway during the festive season. Join the crowds walking, jogging or cycling along the recently revamped Golden Mile, take a ride on a famous traditional rickshaw and turn up the heat with an authentic bunny chow.
As a word of warning to its popularity especially during December, it’s a good idea to book your accommodation early. Once you have done so, here are 5 things that you can do to make the most of your time in the sun.
Explore the city
There is plenty to see as you make your way through ‘Durbs’. Nothing beats a family day out at Mitchell Park situated in Morningside, a suburb nestled in the city centre. Stroll along with the friendly ducks through the beautifully kept gardens and trees- always a delight all year round. For a good dose of adrenaline, you could also dare to try out the world’s tallest commercial big swing, right at the top of the Moses Mabida Stadium. As for history and culture, Durban boasts an array of enlightening attractions. Make a stop at the Mahatma Ghandi Museum, the Port Natal Maritime Museum, the traditional Japanese Gardens and the Hare Krishna Temple of Understanding.
Try out the beaches
Besides the main city beaches, you can make your way to the less crowded one just south of Durban. Amanzimtoti and Scottburgh are top-notch options for sun-worshipers. Scottburgh is only an hour away and while you are there, you can nip into, or even opt to stay at the lovely Blue Marlin Hotel. This 60 year old establishment is well known and loved by the locals and offers a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, and private spa. The best part is that it is only a few steps away from the beach. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, try a bit of diving at the nearby Aliwal Shoal. Dive centres located at the Blue Marlin or around Umkomaas will train, equip and take you out to view sharks and sea life found near to this rocky reef.
Spend some time in nature
Great for a day excursion out of the city, Nibela Lake in the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park is a World Heritage Site and rewards guests with ample bird watching, walking, boating and fishing. Why not make the most of it and stay a bit longer at Nibela Lake Lodge? Spend a night or two in an authentic thatched chalet situated right in the bushveld, overlooking the lake. Find yourself amongst abundant bird life and small game with inter-connected wooden walkways that lead to the main complex. The drive from the city is scenic with plenty places of historical and cultural interest to stop at en-route.
Make a splash at uShaka Marine World
Enjoy a day of family fun at uShaka Marine World themed park- great for the little ones, as well as the adults. Comprising Sea World, Wet,’n Wild, Village Walk, Kids World and uShaka Beach, there is plenty to keep the whole crew entertained. Grab a tube and swirl along the theme park waterways, down the fun slides and into the pools. Linger in the aquarium that is teaming with sea-life, from sharks, to friendly turtles, delicate sea horses and colourful jellies. There’s also shark dives, ray feeds and the Chimp and Zee Rope Adventure (zip Line). Be entertained by the spectacular dolphin, seal and penguin shows, while reptile enthusiasts can venture into the Dangerous Creatures section. There are plenty of charming shops and places to eat, including the Cargo Hold- a restaurant in that resembles a 1940’s cargo ship wreck.
Try a KZN game reserve
Although Kwa-Zulu Natal is not so well- known for its game viewing, in only a quick 45 minute drive from Durban, you can find yourself at Tala Game Reserve. It’s an ideal spot for those looking to combine their beach getaway with a bit of time in the bush. Here, you can indulge in comfortable accommodation that is also kind on the budget with standard rooms and self-catering options. Here, you can head out on a bush walk, game drive, try an optional hot air balloon safari, or a self-drive to seek out the plentiful bird life and various local game such as rhino, kudu, hippo, giraffe, buffalo and warthog.