Set on the east coast of South Africa, Durban is known for its beaches and laid-back vibe. But there is much more to the city than just the beach. The city wears its African, Indian and Colonial influences easily. Its full name is Durban Kwa-Zulu Natal.

The site of the city was originally named Rio de Natal in 1497 by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama on Christmas Day (Natal means Christmas in Portuguese). It was changed to Durban in honour of Sir Benjamin D’Urban, who was governor of the Cape Colony in the 1830s. The Zulu name is eThekwini, derived from the word for ‘the port’ – with good reason, today Durban is the world’s ninth largest harbour, with the busiest container port in Africa. Mahatma Ghandi started his political career as a lawyer in Durban in 1893. The city was voted Africa’s best festival and event destination in 2021 and there is plenty to keep you busy, from great shopping to arts and culture, along with some remarkable natural wonders. And back to the beach, it is also a favourite destination for surfers…

Next destination


  • Go on safari – this is a great chance to spot the big five in their native habitats: African elephants, Cape buffalo, leopards, lions, and, if you are lucky, the rhino.
  • Sip sundowners on the terrace of the famous Oyster Box hotel overlooking Umhlanga’s golden beaches.
  • Visit the African Art Centre – a not-for-profit company that preserves, develops and showcases local artists, crafts people and designers to stimulate economic and social progression.
  • Explore the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Zululand and the Drakensberg for insights into South African history.


A flavour of Durban


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