In your backyard: 9 things to do in Durban that won’t cost you a cent

By Gabisile Ngcobo
25 March 2016

Times are tough – but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on holiday fun. How many of these uniquely Durbs things have you done?

The City of Durban is never short of things to do, from sunbathing and surfing to strolling in the park. And it has something for everyone whether young or old.

As a bonus the weather promises to be nothing but beautiful and sunny this Easter. You may also like: 10 spectacular ‘secret’ beaches in South Africa So if you’re heading to this coastal city, here are some of fun things to do that won’t cost you a cent:

1. Beach

It’s no brainer; you can’t go to Durban and not dip yourself in the sea.

The sandy beaches are so inviting you won’t want to go back to your hotel or holiday home. Durban’s beaches offer public amenities, protective shark nets, beacons to indicate safe bathing areas and lifeguards on duty for most of the day. There are many beaches to choose from, including South Beach, North Beach and Addington Beach, and about 15 minutes north of Durban you’ll find the beach at Umhlanga Rocks.

2. Durban Botanic Gardens

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If you love nature or miss your garden at home, you need to stop at the Durban Botanic Gardens.

The gardens were founded in 1849 and are the oldest botanic gardens in Africa as well as Durban’s oldest public institution. The gardens contain indigenous and exotic plant collections from the subtropics. They’re also home to collections of cycads, orchids, bromeliads and palms. The gardens have a unique selection of trees from all over the world and are open every day.

3. The Piers

Take a stroll above the water as the sea breeze brushes your face and work your way along the New Pier, North Pier, Bay Pier, Snake Park Pier and Argyle Pier, finishing off at Sunkist Pier. Watch surfers ride the waves and enjoy the beautiful scenery. A stunning place to take lots of pictures. You may also like: SA’s most drool-worthy pizzas

4. Durban Natural Science Museum

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Acquire knowledge about Earth, its history and so much more during your holiday. The museum has dynamic, innovative research and education programmes, with a particular emphasis on biodiversity conservation and ecology. See a life-sized model of the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex, realistic dioramas (habitat groups), a dodo skeleton and an Egyptian mummy.

5. Victoria Street Market

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Do some “window shopping” by strolling around and admiring the blend of Indian and African culture at the market.

The Victoria Market is described as a “huge building that resembles something out of a Maharajah’s story”. It has more than 160 stalls selling wares from across Asia and you can get anything from food to spices. If you’re feeling hungry you can head over the to the nearby fish market.

6. I Heart Market

Another growing market is held on the lawn of Moses Mabhida Stadium on the first Saturday of every month and entrance is free.

It’s a platform for local foodies and designers to showcase their products and visitors are spoilt for choice.

If you’d like to splash out there are clothes, jewellery, handcrafted gifts and so much more to buy. The food stalls are just as amazing and offer everything from samosas and cupcakes to biltong. The market is open from 9 am until 2 pm, so why not enjoy breakfast or lunch?

7. Road trip to the Midlands Meander

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To reach the area it’s a one-hour drive from Durban or 30 minutes on the N3 highway from Johannesburg. There’s a lot to discover and a wealth of breathtaking scenery.

You can book a tour and if you’d like to stay over, the area offers outstanding accommodation as well as fascinating local events, fabulous cuisine and restaurants, revitalising outdoor activities and adventure sports, historic landmarks, wildlife conservation areas and unique arts and crafts. You can also visit the Nelson Mandela Capture Site where Madiba was apprehended in 1962. The site has a coffee shop that offers breakfast and light lunches, a gift shop with exclusive merchandise, a bookshop and exhibition. You may also like: Which SA city boasts the most millionaires?

8. Durban City Hall

One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, the Durban City Hall building has been standing since 1910 and was designed in the Modern Renaissance style. There’s also eThekwini Art Gallery upstairs with a great collection of South African art.

9. Take a breather and enjoy every moment

Don’t forget to take a lot of pictures with your family and friends, laugh hard and have a blast.

Caltex Easter

Sources: www.sa-venues.com, www.midlandmeander.co.za, www.durban.gov.za, www.umngeniriverbirdpark.co.za, www.southafrica.net, www.lonelyplanet.net, www.ushakamarineworld.co.za, www.mmstadium.com

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