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TThey don’t call Durban ‘South Africa’s Playground’ for nothing. It is South Africa’s very own seaside paradise, famous for its beaches and the warm Indian Ocean. So dig your toes in the sand, take a dip in the sea and enjoy your time in South Africa’s third-biggest city.
Durban’s beaches lie along a stretch of golden sand, known locally as the Golden Mile. From Blue Lagoon's fishing spot to the sunken Vetch's Pier, a host of flat, sandy beaches invite you to set down an umbrella and towel and while away hours in the sun.
Blessed with warm water, robust waves 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.
Premier beaches in Durban include bodyboarding hotspot, North Beach, and swimmers' delight, South Beach, while Bay of Plenty and Dairy are top surfing breaks. Swimming takes place at all of these beaches, closer inshore.
AAddington Beach, close to the harbour entrance at the southern end of Durban Bay, is more protected which means smaller waves and a flatter contour that lends itself to learning how to surf.
On the other side of the Bluff, which marks the harbour entrance, the coastline receives the full force of ocean swells, making for powerful surf at Cave Rock, Brighton and Anstey's.
About 15 minutes' north of Durban, Umhlanga Rocks beach is lined with luxury hotels and apartments. This is a fun spot with a permanent holiday vibe. Umhlanga's village is full of restaurants, sidewalk cafes, pubs and clubs. If you’re after a quieter spot, Umhlanga's Bronze Beach is more secluded, while Umdloti, Salt Rock and Zinkwazi, further north, are more family friendly.
Down the South Coast you'll find a selection of pristine Blue Flag rated beaches including 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 Wetland Park World Heritage Site) 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'.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)31 322 4164
How to get here
It is a 2 hours' flight to Durban from Cape Town International and an hour from Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport to Durban's King Shaka International Airport, half an hour north of the city.
Best time to visit
Durban experiences lovely weather all year round, but the summer months (December to February) are most popular, with beaches packed with sun-seekers from early morning until dark.
Tours to do
A tour of the Midlands; township tour; Drakensberg tour and a visit to uShaka Marine World are a must.
Airport shuttle services ferry guests to popular beaches or taxi services are available along the beachfront.
Length of stay
A week minimum, but longer would be better.
What to pack
Camera, hat, sun cream, sarong, baggies and slip-slops.
Where to stay
As a premier holiday destination Durban offers a range of accommodation, from 5-star hotels along the Golden Mile and Umhlanga to budget backpackers and loads of holiday apartments.
What to eat
When in Durban, curry and/or fresh seafood is the way to go. And don't forget to try a bunny chow (a hollowed-out loaf filled with curry), a Durban speciality.
A colourful beach sarong, curios and a bunny chow.