The summer holiday season is reeling in the crowds to Durban – and for the city’s visitors, it’s not all sand, sea and surf. Here is a quick list of popular attractions you can visit, apart from the beach, that is!
Umgeni River Bird Park:
An amazing selection of the feathered creatures are a treat for the little ones at the bird park.
There is also a free bird flight show and a refreshments area for a break.
Contact: 031 579 4600
Botanic Gardens and Mitchell Park Zoo:
The Botanic Gardens provides a cool spot for a lazy Sunday picnic.
The garden has an extensive selection of plants, as well as a special herbarium, alien plant display and the garden of senses. Just a little way to the other side of Durban is Mitchell Park, also a favourite picnic spot, with the added attraction of a jungle gym and a zoo where children can see exotic birds, ducks, raccoons, wallabies, peacocks, small buck, monkeys, tortoises and even crocodiles.
Contact: 031 309 9240 (Botanic Gardens) and 031 303 2275 (Mitchell Park)
Rickshaw bus city tour:
The best way to see the city is from the top of a big red double decker bus – and you’ll be able to see the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere, Emmanuel Cathedral, the Victoria Market, Francis Farewell Square, and many other Durban attractions.
Contact: 031 322 4209
Boat cruise at Wilson’s Wharf:
Wilson’s Wharf is a cool location to have a few drinks if you are not going to drive afterwards, have something to eat or to catch a live show at Catalina Theatre.
You can also take a little boat cruise into the harbour area and see why Durban is one of the busiest ports in the world.
Contact: Go down to the wharf, off Margaret Mncadi (Victoria Embankment) where the boat operators are based.
For something out of Gulliver’s Travels, Mini-Town on the beachfront is a popular place for the young and young at heart who love little places.
Mini-town features some of the city’s landmark buildings, including the new Fun Fair, the Riverside Mosque and the Jesus Dome. Contact: 031 337 7892
Ushaka Marine World:
This is Durban’s fun zone – where you can get wet in the many crazy water rides, attend a dolphin show, and go down into Sea World, the world class aquarium.
And while parents can relax at one of the many eateries, kids can play at Kids World on fun rides in a safe environment.
Contact: 031 328 8000
KZN Sharks Board:
Of course, much in Durban concerns the ocean, and the KZN Sharks Board is a unique institution in Durban.
While learning about the different sharks from displays, children can also watch a shark being dissected. The Sharks Board keeps the sharks at bay by maintaining shark nets along the east coast, and offers boat trips in the early mornings.
Contact: 031 566 0400
One of the newest attractions in Durban is the stadium, and apart from hosting sports games, there is the Sky Car which offers a 360º view of Durban, the 500 step Adventure Walk and the 220m Big Swing for the adrenalin junkies.
Contact: 031 582 8222
Suncoast Casino and Entertainment world:
Casinos, movies, the beach and things to eat, this popular spot on Durban’s beachfront draws throngs of people on weekends and the holidays. Parents can relax while their kids can be entertained in a play area.
Contact: 031 328 3000
Nature Reserves in Durban:
Durban has several nature reserves within her borders. One of them is the Paradise Valley Nature Reserve in New Germany, the Bluff Nature Reserve, and Virginia Bush Nature Reserve.
Picnic and braai spots are available, as well as hiking trails.
And, taking into account the current moody weather in Durban – one minute the sun, the next minute buckets of water cover the city, we have put together a quick list of what to do when it rains in Durban:
The KZN Science Centre at Gateway Shopping centre:
The centre offers children and young adults the opportunity to experience sciencific experiments in a fun and interactive way. Contact: 031 566 8040
Super bowling at Galleria:
Have fun indoors competing with friends and family at bowling. Contact: 031 904 5770
There are fun animated and 3D movies on circuit, at various centres around Durban during the festive season for young and old alike.
Ice Rink: escape from the rain (or the heat) and go ice skating at the ice rink in Somsteu Road. It offers hours of fun on the ice. Contact: 031 332 4597
-Independent on Saturday