Durban on a tankful
08 August, 2016
Durban is a holidaymaker's delight and there are countless attractions within driving distance of the city.
The Zulu Kingdom is ideal for exploring. Not only does Durban offer a wide variety of fun-filled attractions, but taking a drive along the coastline or inland towards the mountains will reward you with delightful sights and sounds.
CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL
uShaka marine world
Wet yourself! uShaka Marine World is Africa's largest marine theme park. It comprises Sea World, the Wet 'n Wild water park, a shopping village, numerous restaurants, food and beverage outlets, access to the beach and loads of adventure, sand and surf activities. Why not learn about these unique creatures or partake in interactive activities that are offered in the dive tank, snorkel reef and touch pool? Become an intrepid explorer of the shipwrecked 1920s cargo steamer, visit the happy feet in the penguin rookery or attend a fascinating dolphin show. The latest edition within uShaka's retail area, T-rifik, is a kids' entertainment village where parents can relax in a Moroccan-themed restaurant whilst children captain a pirate ship, explore a treasure cave, ride the train or just explore the 'village life'.
Too much for one day? Then why not purchase a platinum pass which allows you unlimited access all year round with express entrance and discounts at uShaka restaurants. Well worth it from as little as R385.00 per adult or R225.00 per child (between 3 and 12 years of age) and valid for one year from date of purchase. You will have no excuse to stay at home! It is open 9am to 6pm.
Telephone +27 (031) 328 8000
Address 1 Bell Street on the Point in Durban
THE NATAL SHARKS BOARD
The Natal Sharks Board in Umhlanga is the only organisation of its kind and dedicated to the conservation of sharks and the prevention of shark attacks. They man about 320km of KZN coastline, releasing all live animals that are caught in the nets and drumlines, often tagging them before release. The organisation is able to examine and conduct research on all dead animals that are found. Visitors can attend an audio-visual presentation, followed by an intriguing and most informative dissection on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9am and 2pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Well priced at only R25 per adult and R12 per child (between 4 and 12 years of age).
Telephone +27 (031) 566 0400
Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
The Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) cares for injured, orphaned and displaced wild animals and birds every year. It takes time and dedication to rehabilitate these animals and to prepare them to be re-introduced into their natural environment. There is an open day on the last Sunday of every month. Gates open at 10:30am and the tour starts at 11:00am. Entrance is R15 per person, unless you are a member, in which case entrance is free.
Telephone +27 (031) 462 1127
Address Coedmore Avenue, Yellowwood Park (from the M4 South, take the Kenyon Howden Road off-ramp)
Umgeni River Bird Park
Umgeni River Bird Park has an extensive collection of exotic and indigenous birds in lush, natural surroundings. You can view chicks being reared by foster-parents in the baby room and the free-flight bird show is certainly a highlight. You will be able to get up close and personal with owls, cranes, hornbills, macaws, kookaburras, toucans, vultures and many other species as they demonstrate what they would normally do in the wild in totally unrestricted free flight. The park is open 9am to 5pm with shows at 11am and 2pm every day, weather permitting.
Telephone +27 (031) 579 4600
Address Riverside Road
Arts and Culture
Durban Cultural Centre
The Durban Cultural Centre records the history of Durban's Indian community. Its exhibits include documents, cultural artefacts, paintings, culinary art, traditional clothing and jewellery.
Telephone +27 (031) 309 7559
Address Corner of Epsom Road and Derby Street
Port Natal Maritime Museum
Port Natal Maritime Museum exhibits the 75-year old pilot boat Ulundi and the steam tug J R Moore, as well as the SAS Durban, a World War II minesweeper. The Britannia Room offers exhibits on various aspects of the nautical experience, including navigation and weather prediction.
Telephone +27 (031) 311 2230
Address Bay end of Aliwal Street
African Art Centre
The African Art Centre sells authentic indigenous African art. It is open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm.
Telephone +27 (031) 312 3814
Address 94 Florida Street
The BAT Centre is a popular arts community centre and showcases Durban's artistic talent.
Telephone +27 (031) 332 0451
Address 45 Maritime Place (off Durban's Victoria Embankment)
Valley of a Thousand Hills
The Valley of a Thousand Hills, one of the most spectacular sights in all of KwaZulu-Natal, can best be seen from Botha's Hill / Drummond Road.
Telephone +27 (031) 777 1874
Address Botha's Hill / Drummond Road (Take the N3 towards Pietermaritzburg, turn onto the M13 towards Pinetown, then turn off at the Gillits Emberton interchange)
UMGENI STEAM TRAIN
Why not climb aboard the Umgeni Steam Train for a 3-hour trip in an old-fashioned steam train? Meandering through the scenic hills and valleys it is certainly to be a memorable experience to both young and old. It operates the last Sunday of every month and leaves from the Kloof Station. Bookings are essential.
Telephone +27 (031) 303 3003
Address Kloof Station
Explore the Midlands Meander and experience a kaleidoscope of colour and natural beauty. Spectacular views, waterfalls, battlefields, unique arts and crafts, cheese farms with quant goat's towers, butterfly research projects and many cultural attractions are scattered along this well-marked corridor. Running north from Hilton to Hidcote outside Mooi River, the Meander extends from Rietvlei and Curry's Post in the east to Dargle and Fort Nottingham in the west. Don't forget the famous Howick waterfall.
Telephone +27 (033) 330 2355
Krantzkloof Nature Reserve
About 28km from Durban in the Kloof, the beautiful Krantzkloof Nature Reserve offers picnic sites, a view of the Kloof Falls and invigoration walks.
Telephone +27 (031) 764 3515
For the best view of the Oribi Gorge, travel from Port Shepstone along Harding road (N2) to Plains. Take the turn-off to Oribi Flats and continue on the circular drive which rejoins the Port Shepstone/Plains road (N2). Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve is also a perfect spot for a picnic. For the adventurous why not try a life altering gorge swing, acclaimed to be one of the highest in the world. Jumping from the Lehrs Falls and plunging into the depths, it is certainly an exhilarating experience.
Telephone +27 (039) 687 0253
Durban is a shoppers' paradise with shopping centres such as the Pavillion Shopping Centre in Westville, as well as the Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Umhlanga. The latter is said to be one of the largest shopping centres in the southern hemisphere. Also don't miss the Victoria Street Market that always makes for interesting shopping in Durban. The market is situated in the Indian area, crammed with fascinating goods, interesting shops and pungent spices. It is all about the experience!
Please note that opening times and days could change, so telephone ahead to confirm.
For more ideas visit your nearest Travel Experience store for AA brochures and maps.