is the second most populous city in South Africa, forming part
of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality.
It is the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal and is famous as the
busiest port in Africa. It is also a major centre of tourism due
to the city's warm subtropical climate and beaches.
If Johannesburg has a business culture and Cape Town
has a culture culture, Durban has a beach culture.
Even the high-rise offices look out over the Indian Ocean, and
busy executives hang up their suits and ties, slip into shorts,
and jog along the beachfront at lunchtime.
Many keep a surfboard in their cars and catch a quick
wave before or after work (or both).
The Durban beachfront is a cultural experience. Here you will
find holidaying families, young surfer brats (called grommets),
Indian ladies elegantly walking the sand in flowing silken
saris, traditional healers collecting bottles of seawater to use
as muti (medicine) and young girls strutting their stuff in the
skimpiest of bikinis.
Somehow it all works in one, pretty weird, decidedly
is a special experience in Durban - the eastern influence
enormous Indian population adds a touch of spice, literally and
figuratively. You can explore the Indian Market or just wander
down Grey Street, where you'll find all kinds of interesting
At the beachfront itself, you will find wonderful examples of
traditional beadwork and basketry for sale at incredibly low
For something more upmarket, and very interesting, you
just have to see the Gateway Shopping Centre.
It's so much more than your average mall. It has a climbing wall
and an enormous artificial standing wave - the first artificial
double-point break in the world.
Of course, Durban is really about surf. Another fun thing to do
is to paddle out on a sea kayak, or even do a short, gentle
white water trip on the nearby Umgeni River.
Some of the hardest climbs in South Africa are at the Wave Cave
at Shongweni, near Durban, and there are some fun bolted routes
in the Kloof Gorge.