Stretching from Vetchies Pier in the south to Blue Lagoon at the mouth of the Umgeni River, Durban’s recently revamped beachfront is a hive of activity for locals and visitors alike. Since the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the 7km ‘Golden Mile’ has undergone a wonderful transformation with a brand-new promenade, a dune rehabilitation programme and tighter security. Nowhere else in the city is Durban’s diverse culture more evident. Surfers, lifesavers, coffee drinkers, worshippers, paddlers and more find their place along this piece of coastline to enjoy their time in the sun. More recently several restaurants and cafes have popped up to enhance the area’s offering. It’ also possible to hire bikes to explore the area even further. Check out Bike and Bean at Country Club Beach to hire bikes and grab an excellent coffee to boot. There is no need for formalities. The laid-back atmosphere reigns supreme so stick to your flip flops, baggies and bikinis for the ultimate beach experience.
The Oyster Box Hotel
Standing majestically on Umhlanga’s prestigious beachfront, with sweeping views of the Indian Ocean, the Oyster Box is one of South Africa’s most distinguished hotels. With year-round warm water and warm weather, the property is renowned for generous hospitality, passionate service and excellent cuisine. Guests have a choice of venues for wining, dining and relaxing. From the casual Ocean Terrace serving pizza from a wood-fire oven, the finest seafood and the incredible curry buffet, to the legendary, fine-dining Grill Room, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Inspired by the hotel’s original colonial architecture, The Palm Court serves a daily traditional and unmissable High Tea with live piano accompaniment. The Lighthouse Bar is the hottest spot in town for sundowners, cocktails and live entertainment, while the Oyster, Salmon & Sushi Bar brings the oceans’ bounty straight to the diners’ plate in The Oyster Bar.
For restaurant and high tea reservations at the Oyster Box, please contact +27 (0) 31 5145000 or email [email protected]
Durban Botanic Gardens
Take a quiet walk through the Durban Botanic Gardens, Africa’s oldest surviving Botanical Garden, for a chance to get to know some of the area’s sub-tropical flora. Established in 1849, the gardens cover an area of 15 hectares and exhibits a variety of special collections including cycads, bromeliads, palms, orchids, heritage trees and recently introduced butterfly plants. The Gardens are not only known for their plant life but for the biodiversity that can be found there. This includes a wide variety of birds and butterflies. Visitors can enjoy the Ernest Thorp Orchid House, butterfly habitat garden, sunken garden and the lake area. The gardens are owned and managed by eThekwini Municipality and open 365 days of the year. Entrance is free.
Please visit https://www.durbanbotanicgardens.org.za/index.html for more information.
uShaka Marine World
uShaka Marine World is a water wonder world perched on the southern end of Durban’s iconic Golden Mile. As Africa’s largest marine theme park and home to the world’s 5th largest aquarium, it offers a unique combination of fun in the sun and marine conservation. The aquarium features underground viewing galleries extending through a cargo ship wreck that showcase more than 300 species of marine life and 10 000 sea creatures.
Non-stop entertainment with thrilling waterslides for all ages all happens at the Wet ‘n Wild. There is also a dedicated kiddies’ seaside play paradise that is home to one of Africa’s largest jungle gyms with netted mazes, tunnels, stairways, link bridges and swings. It is designed especially for youngsters between the ages of 2 and 12. If you’d like to get up, close and personal there are many animal encounter opportunities available including a daily dolphin show, the snorkel lagoon, a shark cage experience and many more.
Also on the checklist of things to do at uShaka include the creepy crawly adventure – a visit to Dangerous Creatures. Here you are granted a chance to get close to things that are slimy, scaly and creepy. The Chimp & Zee Rope Adventure Park consists of a series of rope bridges, obstacle courses, climbing nets, and crossings with the longest continuous belay system in Africa, and offers a bird’s eye view of uShaka. It features two courses which travel over the scenic Sea World and uShaka’s signature phantom ship. These are suitable for youngsters from 12 years to thrill seeking adults.
Finally, as the sun sets, kick back and enjoy the rhythms of live music at beachside bar, Wahooz or enjoy the delights of fresh seafood prepared by our master chef at the Cargo Hold.
For more information, please visit http://www.ushakamarineworld.co.za/
The I Heart Market
Eight years since it began, Durban’s legendary I Heart Market has grown in leaps and bounds to offer Durbanites a great day out. Nestled under the arches of the Moses Mabhida Stadium, the market takes place on the first Saturday of every month. It brings together the cream of local design and foodies and has become a place where guests meet friends and family on the lawns for a bite to eat, a bit of shopping and some serious people watching. The market prides itself on being a curated platform of the best locally made and designed products. From fashion to jewellery, homeware to kiddies’ goods with luscious coconut cocktails, scotch eggs, dumplings, prego rolls and homemade ice creams in-between. There is so much to see amongst the 150 stalls.