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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kloof is the elite suburb of Durban, and lies on the western side of the city, easily reached by the N3 freeway. This large nature reserve is one of 20 in the city and lies to either side of the Molweni river. You will find a magnificent 20Km nature trail with fantastic views of the Krantzkloof gorge. There are three waterfalls, one of which is 90m tall, and two picnic sites available to visitors for the day. Nature reserves are a safe environment in which to explore the rich African wildlife.
Spend a day at the People's Park and experience the life of a kid again. It includes a track, a kid's play area, a cozy little cafe and also cute fountains due to which the park is always buzzing with people of all ages. The place also sometimes doubles up as a music venue where various musical acts are performed by local or international artists. The park is open to all and offers a delightful escape from the monotonous daily routine for people in the city.
A jewel of the holiday village Umhlanga Rocks, Umhlanga beach boasts rolling stretches of sand which embrace its resplendent waters. One of the many beaches on the tranquil Umhlanga Coast, it is a picture-perfect getaway teeming with tourists and locals looking for some time away from the bustle of the city. This beach is an ideal destination for some swim and surf, or to simply luxuriate in the South African sun, thanks to its gleaming golden sands. Dotted along its coastline are myriad beachfront resorts and restaurants, and the famed Umhlanga Lighthouse is only minutes away from the beach. Due to its active endeavors in promoting environmental awareness, Umhlanga Beach has bagged the international Blue Flag status.