Durban (Zulu: eThekwini) is a major centre of tourism due to the warm subtropical climate and beaches. With a population of over 3 million it is the second most populous city in South Africa after Johannesburg.
Durban’s Golden Mile stretches from the uShaka marine world in the south, to the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World in the north. The long stretches of golden sands provide many locations for sun worshippers to lounge, play beach games, surf, or enjoy eating out in the many restaurants.
Seawater temperatures along the coast compare more favourably with those of the Mediterranean in summer (24°C), and in winter they seldom fall below 19°C.
A popular city for ruby union enthusiast, Durban is home to the Natal Sharks and the Sharks at Kings Park Stadium.
Durban International Airport services both domestic and international flights, serving as a major gateway to KwaZulu-Natal and the Drakensberg.
The Port of Durban is one of the few natural harbours between Port Elizabeth and Maputo. It is the busiest port in South Africa, the ninth busiest port in the world, and the busiest container port in the Southern Hemisphere.
Shosholoza Meyl, the passenger rail service of Spoornet, operates two long-distance passenger rail services from Durban: a daily service to and from Johannesburg via Pietermaritzburg, and a weekly service to and from Cape Town via Kimberley and Bloemfontein.
The N2 national road links Durban to Cape Town via with Ermelo, East London and Port Elizabeth, runs through the entire city from north to south, and is known locally as the ‘Outer Ring Road’. The N3, which links Durban with Johannesburg is probably the busiest national road in South Africa.
Lekker Links
eThekwini online (official website)
Facts About Durban (FAD)
KZN Tourism Authority KwaZulu-Natal
Shaka Zulu
Albert Lutuli
Whale watching
Climate in Durban
Metered taxis cannot be hailed in the street, but must be called and ordered to a specific location. The minibus (combi) taxis are the standard form of transport for the majority of the population who cannot afford private cars. Often filled over their legal passenger allowance, and operator turf wars over lucrative taxi routes occur, not uncommon, as a tourist you may prefer alternative forms of travel in the city.
Durban is famous for its iconic Zulu Rickshaw pullers navigating throughout the city. These colourful characters are famous for their giant, vibrant hats and costumes. Although they have been a mode of transportation since the early 1900’s, they mostly cater to tourists.
The modern city of Durban dates from 1824, when a party of 25 men under British Lieutenant F.G. Farewell arrived from the Cape Colony and established a settlement on the northern shore of the Bay of Natal, near today’s Farewell Square. Accompanying Farewell was an adventurer named Henry Fynn who was able to befriend King Shaka Zulu by helping him recover from a stab wound he had suffered in battle. In gratitude Shaka granted Fynn a ’25-mile strip of coast a hundred miles in depth.’ During a meeting of 35 white residents in Fynn’s territory on June 23, 1835, it was decided to build a capital town and name it ‘d’Urban’ after Sir Benjamin d’Urban, then governor of the Cape Colony.
Voortrekkers established the Republic of Natalia in 1838 just north of Durban, and established a capital at Pietermaritzburg. Fierce conflict with the Zulu population led to the evacuation of Durban, and eventually, under military pressure, the Afrikaners accepted British annexation in 1844. A British governor was appointed to the region and many settlers emigrated from Europe and the Cape Colony. The British established a sugar cane industry in the 1860s. White farm owners found it difficult to attract Zulu labourers to work on their plantations, so the British brought thousands of indentured labourers from India. As a result of the importation of Indian labourers, Durban became, and remains to this day, the largest Asian community in South Africa.

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