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.
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
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.
One of Durban's most attractive areas, Florida Road is where nightlife thrives alongside myriad shopping establishments. Dotted with restaurants that offer a riot of cuisines, this street will win you over with its pleasant bustle and upbeat vibe. It can be safely dubbed a retail paradise, owing to the number of varied fashion boutiques it houses and is also home to some extremely charming buildings like the Quarters Hotel - an erstwhile Victorian home. A heaven for art lovers too, this street is further peppered with establishments like Artisan Contemporary Gallery and African Art Centre. In addition, entertainment venues like Casablanca and brimming bars breathe life into its sprawl.
St Paul's was originally built in 1853, but was rebuilt in 1906 after a fire destroyed the original buildings. The new church was built in a Neo-Gothic style. From the outside, it is not much to look at, but the interior is beautiful. There are commemorative plaques on the walls to some of Durban's early settlers and there is a lovely, wood ceiling complemented by the stained-glass chancel windows. The chapel of St. Nicolas on the left of the aisle was part of the Mission to Seamen between 1899 and 1989.
A gift from the Portuguese government installed on the Victoria Embankment in 1897 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of explorer Vasco Da Gama's first sighting and visit to Durban, which was then called the Natal coast, the Da Gama clock is in somewhat of a state of disrepair these days, but still a striking sight, nonetheless. Crafted from colorful and impressively intricate ironwork, this bell-shaped clock is a popular Durban attraction and one of the city's most historical. As well, its location along the popular and thoroughly modern Victoria Embankment, also called the Esplanade, make it a great addition to an afternoon stroll. In 1969 a new stone plaque that commemorates the 500th anniversary of Da Gama's birth was unveiled by the Portuguese ambassador.
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.
Surrounded by furniture and antique shops, this mosque has become a landmark with its tower jutting up between the buildings. It is one of a number of old and attractive buildings that date back to some of the earliest days of Durban's history. The outer walls are painted a refreshing peppermint green color. Visitors are welcome but requested to leave their shoes at the entrance.
South Africa's third-largest city after Johannesburg and Cape Town, Durban is golden sands and Afro-Indian culture. The city is home to the largest population of Indians outside of India. Over the years, the distinctive traditions of the subcontinent have been irrevocably fused with the native culture of South African - Durban's local flavor is one that is entirely unique. Durban's Golden Mile is its most defining feature, a stunning, 5.9 kilometers (3.7-mile) stretch of sun-baked sand that edges the deep blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Surfers, swimmers and sunbathers flock to the waterfront, replete with restaurants, resorts, souvenir shops and pools. For a close encounter with sharks, there's the uShaka Marine World, while Florida Road is the place to be for culture, cafes and nightlife. Although not well-known, the Inanda Heritage Route winds its way through the Inanda Valley, linking together sites of great import to the history of the nation, including such gems as the home of Mahatma Gandhi, the grave of Dr. John L. Dube, and the Ohlange Institute where Nelson Mandela cast his vote in 1994. The nearby Shakaland and PheZulu Safari Park, alternatively, grant a glimpse into the intriguing lives of the Zulus. The Moses Mabhida Stadium is a popular modern landmark and along with a blooming food scene, Durban is a beachside beauty on the rise.