Being a tourist in Durban

So last time I wrote about my experiences in Durban from a professional point of view, hereby my experiences as a tourist in Durban.

Upon arrival I instantly liked the vibe of Durban. It is not as clean as Cape Town, it still has some rough edges to it, which I like. And Durban is well located at sea, with the beautiful Umhlanga nearby and it has the magnificent Moses Mabhida Stadium. Durban also inhabits the largest Indian community of Southern Africa, something you notice right away when arriving in Durban, which also means great curry’s and bunny chows! Unfortunately when we wanted to visit the stadium (you can bungee jump or take a cable cart to the top) the weather was too bad. Rains and the blowing wind kept us with our feet on the ground.

We walked from our hotel, located near Florida Road, to the Moses Mabhida Stadium, to the gold mile, through the city centre to the Victoria Market and back to the hotel. It took us all day but it was great! Because of the World Cup Soccer 2010, Durban has invested in several walk and bike lanes. If you want to walk you have about 6 different routes in which you will fully explore the city. I really enjoyed the possibility to walk and not feeling to vulnerable. Of course, you still need to be vigilant.

Along the way we saw some incredible buildings on the Golden Mile. Although they were blocked by hideous modern hotels, you could still see the beauty of former times. We also stumbled upon a Food garden project outside of the city hall. It has been there since 2009 and it should inspire others to grow their vegetables in their gardens or balconies as well. We haven’t seen more of these projects, so I am not sure it the project has reached its goals.

From the city hall it was a nice walk through the busy city centre to the Victoria Market. This is the famous market, lots of stalls with tourist souvenirs but also some with nice fragrant indian spices. I learned at the conference that behind the Victoria market there is an incredible open air market. We have missed that but I will go next time!

On Sunday there is the Market on Morrisson Street. It is inspired by the Markets on Main in Johannesburg, which is not a coincidence since the developer Propertuity has started to enrol their vision in Durban as well. They have acquired around 5 building so far in Durban and the first apartments are for sale off plan. The market is not as big in Johannesburg yet, but has a very friendly and less hipster vibe. I am curious how this area will look like in one years time when the first residents have arrived.

To top it all off we went to Umhlanga in the afternoon. It is the more tourist destination, just 20 minutes north from Durban. Most of the hotels are situated here. It has beautiful beaches and the famous Oyster Box Hotel. For a normal person (like me) it is too expensive to stay here but you can still enjoy the colonial styled luxury of the hotel at the Lighthouse terrace. With a beautiful view on the Lighthouse, the many container ships and the lovely cocktails it is easy to spend you afternoon here. At night they say it is also nice to have a drink here. The container ships make it look like there is a whole new city in the sea.

All in all, I really enjoyed Durban!



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