Durban also known as Ethekwini is the largest city in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. Not only is Durban the largest city the province it is also the busiest port in Africa. Vacationers and visitors alike flock to Durban for the wonderful climate, gorgeous beaches, water that is warm even during the winter months by the Aghulas current keeping it at 15 degrees Celsius or 59 degrees Fahrenheit year round.
Durban has so much for all to see and do no wonder it happens to be the busiest port in all of Africa. Durban is known as the gateway to the Zulu Kingdom allowing tourists to embrace the Zulu culture as well as a great starting point for discovering two UNESCO World Heritage sites – The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and the Ukahlamba/Drakensberg National Park.
History of Durban
The history of Durban can be found on rock art discovered in cave in the uKhahlamba/ Drakensberg National Park dating back hundreds of years. The San were home in the mountains for four millenniums and their history has been documented in the cave through the way of rock art. This discovery led the National Park to be included as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese explorer, anchored his ship in a natural lagoon on December 25, 1497; this became the Durban we all love today. At the time, Vasco believed the lagoon was a river and named it Rio de Natal meaning Christmas River but at a later date was corrected to Port Natal.
As far as the city we know today was established around 1824 when a group of 25 men under the leadership of British Lieutenant F. G. Farewell started a settlement on the northern shore of the bay close to the location of Farewell Square.
On June 23, 1835, the city was renamed Durban to honor the Cape Governor, Sir Benjamin D’Urban.
On 1884, the Zulu population accepted British annexation under military pressure. At that time, a British governor was appointed and settlers came from Europe and the Cape Colony.
Moses Mabhida Stadium – host of the 2010 World Cup
The Moses Mabhida Stadium was recently built to host one of the semi finals of the 2010 World Cup. The design came from inspiration of the South African flag with the grand arch representing the unity of the nation that loves sports. The two legs of the arch on the southern side form a single footing on the northern side symbolizing the new unity of their country, which was once divided.
The stadium has a capacity of 70,000 with a cable car system that ascends to a viewing platform at the top of the arch, which is a 25m and a 106m above the pitch. Not only will the spectators view the stadium in a new light but also they will be able to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the beautiful shoreline. The Moses Mabhida Stadium was built on the location that was once home to the Kings Park Stadium.
Durban is home to a wide array of transportation options for visitors. The city offers buses, taxis, and Rickshaws. In the way of buses, you can find the Durban People Mover, which is a tourist, oriented bus service running routes every fifteen minutes to all kinds of attractions, business district, and the beach.
Taxis are found all around Durban, however there are two types of taxis – metered and minibus taxis. In Durban, metered taxis are not allowed by law to solicit business by riding around town. In order to use a metered taxi you will have to call the company to provide you with transportation.
Mini bus is the way that many locals get around town; however, these are not maintained as well as privately owned taxis. These taxis do not always stick to a schedule and will make unscheduled stops. Not only are the inconsistent with the way in which they drive but many times the are carrying more passengers than is allowed by law.
Rickshaws may be one of the most popular icons around Durban. Zulu rickshaw pullers navigate all over the city and normally cater to tourists.
Lodging Accommodations nearby Moses Mabhida Stadium
For those wishing to stay close to Moses Mabhida Stadium there are several accommodations all within 1 km of the stadium. The most popular include City Lodge Durban, Southern Sun North Beach, and SunCoast Hotel & Towers.
City Lodge Durban offers beautiful gardens, palm trees, and a swimming pool. The hotel is only two blocks from the main beach and only 1km from the Moses Mabhida Stadium. Amenities you can expect include a mini gym, small meeting room, handicap facilities, dry cleaning, 24-hour front desk, internet, television, and a personal safe. Along with all the benefits, City Lodge Durban is also within walking distance of the International Conference and Exhibition Centre and many delectable restaurants.
Southern Sun North Beach offers a wide of services including handi-cap facilities, elevator, non-smoking rooms, 24-hour front desk, 24-hour room service, internet, television, cable TV, and a personal safe. The hotel is a great family place home on the scenic Golden Mile just opposite of North Beach. With its great location, only 1km from the Moses Mabhida Stadium and within walking distance of restaurants, the business district and only a few steps from the beach, many reserve a room here for their stay.
SunCoast Hotel & Towers
SunCoast Hotel and Towers is one of the newer hotels in the area with the doors opening in December of 2006. The hotel offers private bathrooms with separate shower, radio, LCD screen TV with satellite channels, DVD in the suites, individually controlled air-conditioning, mini bar, and of course the SunCoast Casino and Entertainment Complex. . The Towers offer 17 premier rooms, 10 junior suites, 8 luxury suites, and the PenthouseSuite.
Restaurants in the area
A visit to Durban must include the enjoyment of the wide array of cuisines that can be found in the city. A few of the most popular restaurants in the area include Allen Gardiner Harbour Cruise Restaurant offering breakfast, light meals, seafood, South African, and international cuisine, La Strada Restaurant offering Italian, Greensleeves Medieval Kingdom Camelot with buffet, country, and medieval feast.
Things to do in Durban
Durban offers many things to see and do with the Golden Mile at the top of the list for most visitors. The Golden Mile is a stretch of beachfront offering promenades all the way along the shoreline. The shoreline offers a great place of the family to enjoy basking in the sun, walking on the many piers and just enjoying a stroll along the beach. A few of the attractions found on the Golden Mile include Mini Town, Durban Snake Park, Blue Lagoon, and the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World, to name a few.
Shaka Marine World is great if you have the kids along as you can enjoy water rides, dolphin shows, and an aquarium built into a sunken ship.
Durban’s Amanzimtoti is an area of the city offering all kinds of attractions the entire family will enjoy including caravan parks, resorts, and hotels.