Durban: Top 5 things to do

2012-06-24 11:32
There is a place in South Africa where even the cold fronts turn out to be not that cold. Durban is the quintessential holiday city, warm in summer and lovely in winter. In short the perfect place for a holiday.
Known for its remarkable beaches and Indian food, it’s a city that has so much to offer the visitor who is open to new memories. Here’s a few of my favourite Durban discoveries.

Shopping at the Gateway mall
Gateway is a female shopaholic’s dream and probably every husband’s nightmare but definitely worth a visit. In 2001 the largest shopping mall in the Southern hemisphere opened its doors to the public. Offering over 350 stores, more than 70 restaurants, 24 movie theatres, a Barnyard theatre, the Wave House, an arcade and theme park, Gateway has set the bar a mile high. The mall also boasts with a skate park, the world’s highest indoor climbing rock, an indoor gym, the highest fountain in Africa, tenpin bowling and a 4x4 vehicle track. It’s no wonder that this shopping centre sees more than 1.8-million visitors coming through its doors every year. Gateway is a shopaholic’s dream and every husband’s nightmare but definitely worth a visit.

uShaka Marine World
This is a lovely place to take your young ones for a fun-filled day. Just three years after Gateway, uShaka Marine World, a 16 hectare theme park, opened its gates. It consists of four sections: uShaka Sea World, uShaka Wet 'n Wild(water park), uShaka Beach, and uShaka Village Walk. Entertainment is never ending, extending from day-time activities of Sea World, Wet ‘n Wild and uShaka Beach to night-time festivities of the Village Walk. At the Village Walk you will find nestled between the vast variety of shops both the legendary Cargo Hold restaurant, where you dine next to a shark tank inside the “Phantom Ship”, and the Durban franchise of the well-known  Moyo restaurant. uShaka Sea World is the 5th largest aquarium in the world and offers wonderful dolphin and seal shows throughout the day. 

Moses Mabhida Stadium and Sky ride
I’m going to be honest, I thought to myself, "What on earth are you going to do at a soccer stadium with no soccer game on, surely nothing can be more boring!?" I was so wrong. It was definitely one of the highlights of my time in Durban. Whether you are an adrenaline junky or just looking for splendid views of the of the Durban coastline, the stadium has enough on offer  to give you both. If you want exercise with a view you can brave the Adventure Walk which takes you up and down one of the legs of the stadium arch, containing 500 steps. Passing the legendary Big Rush Big Swing plunge jump platform on the way up. For any thrill-seekers interested, it’s 80m above the pitch and includes a 220m arch swing. For the less courageous, there is the Sky Car that also travels up to the top of the arch, on the opposite side, where visitors are treated to panoramic views of the city and ocean. Back on solid ground all the hot spots of the stadium can be visited effortlessly with a Segway tour. An eco-friendly way to tour the stadium. Even lunch is taken care off with a variety of restaurants . If you are there on the first Saturday of the month, don’t miss the I-“Heart” Market-where you can give back to the community in a fun way.

Massage at the Aqua Spa in Square Boutique Hotel
On the roof of the Square Boutique Hotel and Spa you will find the Aqua Spa. The relaxation sneaks into your veins as you enter and your eyes meet views through massive glass windows, overlooking Durban city. Adding to the experience as you make yourself comfortable on the massage table is the turquoise blue, camel brown and white colour scheme. However, everything around you fades away as the last of the stress knots let go of your muscles as the magical fingers of one of the friendly therapists loosen them softly and you slip away into a dream state on the cords of peaceful music. Besides a full body massage the spa offers a vast range of treatments at reasonable prices. You can even enjoy a drink on the pool deck next door or in the Cosmopolitan restaurant  of the hotel, while waiting for your appointment. The whole experience will make you feel like Carrie in the Sex in the City series, with the chic New York interior of the hotel as background.

Cruise on Spirit of eLan yacht
What better way to end a day than with a yacht cruise, sailing into the sunset with a cocktail in your hand? Spirit of eLan, a 45ft Royal Cape Catamaran, is a privately owned yacht. Containing five en-suite bedrooms makes it an interesting overnight option if you are in the mood for accommodation of a different kind. It has all the facilities needed for a comfortable stay: a fully kitted galley, gas braai and comfortable lounge area with TV and DVD player. Seeing Durban’s skyline against the setting sun from the deck of a yacht is quite an amazing experience and tremendously relaxing. A perfect way to spend a last day in a city that has a never-ending summer.

What would you recommend when visiting this part of South Africa? Why not post a comment below?

Marianne Pieterse is a passionate traveller and blogger, read more of on her blog.
Read more on:    durban  |  travel south africa

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