Durban is one of those cities that isn't all that well known outside Africa. A port city, the busiest in Africa, it is around halfway down the east coast of South Africa. At the heart of its hundreds of kilometres of coastline is a 4km stretch of beaches, pools, promenades and restaurants. The water is warmed by the Aghulas current, and even during winter it averages 15°C making it enjoyable year-round.
South Africa's third-largest city has not been affected by chain stores and shopping malls. Rather, there are street stalls and markets and the Victoria Street Spice Market is well worth a visit.
As is the case everywhere in South Africa, Durban is football obsessed and it's believed the city hosted the country's first football league in 1882, comprising of four clubs. Since those days many championship sides have been produced and the Zulu Royals were the first winners of the National Professional Soccer League in 1971.
Moses Mabhida Stadium
Everyone is excited about the impressive new purpose-built Moses Mabhida Stadium sitting on the shores next to the Indian Ocean. Its design was inspired by South Africa's national flag and it's been called the most beautiful stadium in the country by local and international press.
The 70,000-seat stadium was designed not just for sporting matches but as a tourist attraction. It has a retail area, amphitheatre and a cable car for viewing from the 350m-long arch 106m above the pitch. The arch represents the unity of the nation and sport.
uShaka Marine World
If you visit Durban for any reason, chances are you will visit uShaka, the largest marine park in the Southern Hemisphere. It has four completely different sections beachfront, shopping precinct, Wet and Wild and Seaworld.
It incorporates fresh and sea water, lots of natural materials and the recreation of a 1920s cargo shipwreck. It has an underground aquarium, rides and waterslides, shark dives and regular shows. It has dolphin and seal stadiums, lots of sand and surf activities including snorkelling through coral reefs and grottoes.
You can't really go to Durban and not try a curry the city's famous for. With the largest population of Indians outside of the Indian subcontinent it stands to reason their cuisine would be prominent.
Natalie visited Sunrise House of Curries and was convinced to try their biggest seller: a bunny chow. Once she was convinced she wasn't actually going to be eating someone's pet rabbit she had a chicken bunny chow and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's actually a loaf of hollowed-out bread stuffed with curry and tradition says it must be eaten by hand utensils just aren't allowed and locals are highly amused to see anyone tackling their chow with cutlery.
Bunnies are cheap and filling and come in full, half or quarter sizes with meat or vegetarian stuffing. They also boast huge chip 'n' cheese roti, peri peri chicken livers and boneless mutton curry.
As well as its Indian heritage, Durban is home to a large Zulu population. Zulus migrated south from the Great Lakes region as part of the Nguni migration. They settled in the area now known as KwaZulu-Natal and many great leaders have led the Zulu nation into historically revered battles.
Phe-Zulu Cultural Village is just 35km from the city and it's where you can enjoy an insight into Zulu life and customs. Polygmy is perfectly legal and one wife costs at least 11 cows.
Pavement cafes and nightlife
Durbanites love having a good time and have a huge variety of choices to have fun. Florida Road, Davenport and Swapo Avenue are the main entertainment areas.
For all the latest from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, head to our hub on WWOS
Durban, a six-hour drive from Johannesburg.
uShaka Sea World entry is $13 for adults and $10 for children. Combined tickets are available for other areas of the park. It's open from 9am to 6pm in the high season and from 10am to 5pm the rest of the year.
Emirates has flights to Durban from:
- Perth $1732
- Melbourne and Adelaide $1735
- Sydney $1753
- Brisbane $1758
These prices are available only online to the first 100 people to book.
For further information
Ph: 1300 303 777
uShaka Marine World
Ph: +27 31 328 8000
Victoria Street Spice Market
Victoria and Queen Streets
Ph: +27 31 306 4021
Sunrise House of Curries
275 Florida Road
Ph: +27 31303 6076
2010 FIFA World Cup
Visas: A passport is needed but no visa is required.
Electricity: 220V to 230V at 50Hz. Most plugs have three round pins.
Time zone: GMT +2.
Telephone code: +27.
Travellers to South Africa should be "in date" for the standard Australia and New Zealand immunisation schedules. Depending on the time of year of travel and exact destination, other health precautions and preventions may be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au