Did you know?
When South Africa joined the Blue Flag beach campaign in 2001, it was the first country outside Europe to do so.
Blessed with warm water, energetic surf and seemingly endless stretches of sandy beaches, you'll soon understand why Durban (eThekwini) is everyone's favourite seaside playground.
Warm and sunny 320 days a year, Durban's beaches offer public amenities, protective shark nets, beacons to indicate safe bathing, and lifeguards on duty for most of the day.
Besides its fun, family-orientated beachfront, other top beaches in Durban include North Beach and South Beach which are ideally suited to swimming, bodyboarding and surfing. Addington Beach is close to the harbour entrance and, being at the southern end of Durban Bay, is more protected. The waves here are gentler, making this the ideal beach for learning how to surf. Anstey's Beach gets the full force of the sea swells, as it is located on the Bluff south of the city. Make sure you're a strong swimmer if the surf is big.
Umhlanga Rocks Main Beach, about 15 minutes' drive from Durban, is lined with luxury hotels and apartments. A fun spot with a permanent holiday vibe, Umhlanga's village teems with restaurants, sidewalk cafes, pubs and clubs. Umhlanga's Bronze Beach is quieter and more secluded if you're after a secluded patch of sand. Or one can head further north to the family-friendly beaches of Umdloti, Salt Rock and Zinkwazi.
Head along the South Coast and you'll find 7 Blue Flag beaches: Hibberdene, Margate, Marina, Umzumbe, Ramsgate, Lucien and Trafalgar.
For some of the most pristine stretches of sand in the world, places like Kosi Bay, Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay (part of the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park along the North Coast) offer unspoilt beaches and plentiful fauna and flora. Sodwana has the added bonus of being the prime diving spot in South Africa, sometimes referred to as 'South Africa's Barrier Reef'.