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SSince the late 1800s, the Durban July has been one of South Africa's most revered sporting events. These days it's a highlight for South Africans and overseas visitors, who flock to the Greyville Racecourse to witness what has become known as 'Africa's greatest horse-racing event'.
'July Fever' comes once a year with the Vodacom Durban July horse race, which takes place at the world-renowned Greyville Racecourse. The first Saturday in July is dedicated to this prestigious event, which is so much more than sport – it is also a glamorous social get together and fashion spectacle.
With R3,5-million up for grabs, this is THE race to attend ... and the port city of Durban is only too happy to welcome visitors from near and far to join in the fun.
The first Durban July took place in 1897 and was contested over one mile (approximately 1 600m). The distance has since been changed to the current 2 200m, and the event remains one of the most important on South Africa’s sporting calendar. There is certainly nothing to beat the adrenalin rush of watching the 20 thoroughbred racehorses galloping at full pace towards the finish line. Just mentioning the Vodacom Durban July will stir memories in punters and non-punters alike, who will have stories about ‘Africa’s greatest horse-racing event’.
Durban July fever begins around mid-April and intensifies as the big day draws nearer, with numerous pre-events taking place in KwaZulu-Natal and punters weighing up which horse to bet on. For fashionistas, the Durban July is the perfect place to show off that designer hat, an outrageous outfit, or a unique creative expression of racy fashion. There are numerous fashion and design competitions, and the best-dressed race-day competitions add to the fun and glamour of the day.
For Durban, the event is a great platform to show off the city, and hotels and resorts offer special packages to accommodate visitors from far and wide for the Durban July weekend.
There is lots of fun and entertainment on offer around the Vodacom Durban July, but nothing quite beats seeing the horse you are backing racing past the finish post in first place...
Travel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Vodacom Durban July
For extensive contact details visit the Vodacom Durban July Official Website
How to get here
There are a number of options to consider when getting to the race. Click here for more information.
Best time to visit
The race takes place on the first Saturday of July. It's best to get there early.
Things to do
Explore the fun restaurants and nightspots of Florida Road near the Greyville Racecourse, or head to the beaches for some rest and relaxation after the event. If you plan to head out of town, why not visit the iSimangaliso Wetland Park or the Hluluhwe-iMfolozi Park.
What to pack
The best outfit you can muster – while the day is about racing, it's also about making a fashion statement.
Where to stay
Hotels, holiday flats, guest houses and boutique apartments are all available in Durban and its surrounds. It's a good idea to make your bookings early as the city is jam-packed during this event.
What to eat
There are various hospitality areas and venues at the Marquee Village where one can grab a bite to eat, or at various picnic sites at the racecourse. Note there is a fee charged for entrance to the Marquee Village. See website for further details.