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.
Encompassing a long stretch of sandy land, the Golden Mile boasts a pristine series of beaches in the city. Straddling the coast of Durban, these beaches also feature a number of attractions that beckon tourists from all over. Owing to the conducive environs, scores of surfers and outdoor enthusiasts flock to the Golden Mile.
Located between Botha's Hill and Drummond, Phezulu Safari Park is highly recommended. It lies on the ridge overlooking the Valley of 1,000 hills. There is a good curio shop on site and two restaurants; try a four-wheel trip into the Valley of hills. The main attractions, however, are the interesting tour of the crocodile farm and the Zulu village and dancing show. There is also an animal farm and children's playground.
The Mitchell Park Zoo was initially set to be an ostrich farm, but when the plan didn't work, it was later turned into a vibrant zoo. An extensive collection of exotic birds, tropical fish, small animals and reptiles are housed in this pleasing setting. There are also spacious lawns for picnics. Easily accessed from the far end of Musgrave road.
This museum is located in the center of the town and examines Durban's history. The museum focuses on the history of racial laws in Durban, and is housed in the former Department of Native Affairs building. Photographs and video exhibits examine the political and social struggles that characterized the apartheid period and the colonial period before it.
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 old railway station building, built in 1898, formerly served as the main railway station house in Durban's city center. It is one of the few remaining stations in South Africa with a British, Victorian design. It underwent extensive changes under the apartheid system in order to ensure separate facilities and train access for members of different racial groups. Today the old station has become 'Tourist Junction,' the extensive and main tourist information bureau for Durban and KwaZuluNatal. Oddly, the roof of the station was built to support five meters/16 feet of snow because of a mix-up in its initial planning, when the London architects sent the roof plans for the Toronto Station to Durban in error.
Sometimes known as the Southern Life Building, 88 on Field has been the tallest building in Durban since 1986, with 26 floors that reach 146.5 meters/480 feet into the sky. An integral part of the Durban skyline, the building's shining glass facade and modern design make it one of the city's most beautiful architectural gems.
A large, modern, motor driven Catamaran with a 60 person capacity. Hakuna Matata Charters take regular one and a half hour trips into Durban harbor and out to sea, along the north coast. Hakuna Matata is also available for charters. An exciting and safe way to view Durban's coastline. Visit website for more details.