The KZN Philharmonic holds various annual events, including the Music at the Lake, a series of light classical evenings held in the early spring and summer evenings, in the lovely botanical gardens. The NBS Sunset Proms are held throughout the year, and look out for the "Stars and Stripes" evening of U.S. music around July 4th. These are held at the Kingsmead Cricket grounds. For details of when these very special events are to be held, get in contact with the Philarmonic box office.
Built during the 1920's in Tudor Revival style, Playhouse was taken over by the Performing Arts Council in the 1980's. The Company's mission is to provide cultural education and entertainment in both an African and international context. Within the complex there are several theaters which house a variety of productions simultaneously. Alongside the production and performance work of its Drama and Dance departments, the Company's Education and Development department has an active program, presenting mobile theater to schools. Inquire at the Tourist Junction about guided tours of the Playhouse. Call for performance schedule.
Durban Botanic Gardens are regarded by many as some of South Africa's most beautiful city park lands. In 1850, the original curator, Mr. Mark Johnson McKen, laid the groundwork for what it is today. Specialties include the Earnest Thorpe Orchid House, a Herb Garden, a Sunken Garden and the Garden for the Blind. There is an information center and a tea garden. There are live concerts held in the park regularly, throughout the year, and audiences are welcome to bring along a picnic basket. Multiple concerts take place in the hall and the event spaces in the gardens. Workshops and exhibitions are also held.
The Umgeni River Bird Park is one of the finest bird parks in the world, with a spectacular collection of over 3,000 exotic and indigenous birds. A network of paths gives you a fine place to see lories, cockatoos and aras. It is set on the Umgeni River, which is at the edge of Durban city, close to the river mouth. There is a daily show which is highly recommended and an excellent way to see the birds in flight.
This stadium, named after the former General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, was constructed in the Durban sports precinct for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Its unique design allows it to both expand to 80,000-person capacity and reduce to hold 54,000 people. The modern structure includes a large arch which symbolizes the country's struggles and unification.
uShaka Sea World is a world of wonder and magic. This outstanding shipwreck-themed aquarium is linked to the dolphinarium where delightful dolphin, seal and penguin shows take place throughout the day. There's also a snorkeling lagoon and a touch pool. Scuba divers feed fish, giant turtles and stingrays by hand, and the sharks are awe-inspiring. Sea World is run by SAAMBR (The South African Association for Marine Biological Research), a non-government, non-profit association that also incorporates the Sea World Education Centre and the Oceanographic Research Institute.
The largest Islamic mosque in the Southern Hemisphere, Durban's Juma Masjid is one of the city's most striking architectural assets. Located in Durban's central Indian district, its beautiful gilded and domed minarets are unmistakable.
To the eastern side of the city center is The Indian District, also known as the Indian Quarter. The Jumah Mosque is reputably the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Two markets are of note, the Oriental Bazaar on Albert Street (between Queen and Commercial) and the Indian Market which is on the far side of the M3 at the west end of Victoria Street. This area has become home to Zulu herbalists selling 'muti'. For traditional medicine and rituals, head for Russell Street Extension where these sellers congregate.
This mosque, built in 1927, is the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere. The architectural style is an interesting combination of Islamic and Colonial. It has colonnaded verandahs, a gold-domed minaret, and many turrets that dominate the whole street, lending it an atmosphere of the East. Anyone may enter as long as you remove your shoes and leave them at the entrance. The narrow entrance can be found on Queen Street. Guided tours are available with the Islamic Propagation Centre at the mosque.
Set in fine gardens, this model, Old Fort is a reconstruction of the basic defenses set up by the 27th Regiment, the Inniskiling Fusiliers. The original site was constructed to help protect the soldiers and the British population of the town from the Afrikaners who came and besieged Durban following their victory at the battle of Congella, in 1842. The Irishmen held out for a month when relief arrived from Grahamstown brought by the epic ride of Dick King. The military museum inside the fort is also a wonderful attraction. The Old Fort ranks as one of the National Heritage sites in Durban
African Kingdom Tours specializes in day and overnight tours including the Hluhluwe Game Park and St. Lucia tour and the Lesotho Via Sani Pass tour, which includes transportation via 4x4 and a trip to the highest pub in Africa. Longer tours include a three day trip in the Drakensburg Mountains. For those who are traveling through, several one-direction tours are also available. All tours include transportation and some food.
Once set in the shaded tranquility of Cathedral Street, this cathedral now finds itself amidst the hubbub of the inner city. The exterior of red faced brick is crowded with Gothic spires. Inside, cool marble floors, vaulted ceilings and a beautiful marble alter provide a peaceful sanctuary in this busy part of the city. The cathedral still holds daily services and welcomes all those who wish to join the congregation.