Some amazing things to do ‘when’ you visit Durban, South Africa

I am sure you’ll visit the city of Durban when you come to visit South Africa and if it wasn’t on your list, then stick on!!! Here are just a few things which you can do in the city and immediate surrouding area. I will do another post in the next few weeks about what you can do further inland. There is really so much to do here that I could write solidly for a good few years before I’ve covered everything.

As at today, the exchange rates are as follows:
£1 = R12.77 $1 = R8.14 €1 = R10.95

* Feed your adventurous side – visit the Moses Mabhida stadium (not for the faint hearted)
Built especially for the Football World Cup, the stadium can be seen from almost all over Durban. The structure’s highly visible arch has provided a few activities guaranteed to give you amazing views and a healthy (??) dose of adrenalin.
Adventure Walk – attached with safety ropes, you walk over 500 steps to reach the top of the arch. They are VERY fussy about shoes so make sure you wear trainers or proper closed walking shoes. Times are 10:00, 13:00 and 16:00 and costs R80.
The Swing – This is the only stadium swing in the world and the largest of it’s kind anywhere. You drop/swing 106m over the pitch and pay R595 for the privilege. Open 09:00 – 17:00 daily and again only comfortable walking shoes allowed. Vomit bags not included.
Skycar – An enclosed glass tram which works it’s way up the arch to reward you with 360 degree views of the city. Open daily from 09:00 – 18:00, last trip at 17:30 and costs just R50
If all this height stuff is not for you, normal stadium tours are avaiable throughout the day. You pay R20 for a 30 minute general tour or R75 for the professional 90 minute tour.

* Bring out the child in you by visiting UShaka Marine World – Here you are spoilt for choice with various attractions such as the aquarium (which is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere), a waterpark, a reptile/snake park, shark cage diving, lagoon snorkelling and shopping area. They all have separate prices or you can save money by going for a combo ticket.

* Breathe in some fresh sea air by walking along Durban’s beachfront.
Walking the 6km Golden Mile of Durban’s beachfront can allow you to see the true spirit of the city. Start at the pastel Miami beach art deco style Suncoast Casino and make your way all the way down to UShaka marine world. On the way, pass zulu women selling handmade zulu trinkets and beadwork, soft serve ice cream, sand sculptures, beach swimming, great places to eat ranging from fast food bars and outside seating to the more fancy hotel restaurants, nibble on 1/4 pieces of pineapple dusted with curry powder and even watch surfing lessons.

* Shop until your credit card goes limp at Gateway shopping centre – a monstrous shopping centre with over 350 stores and 70 restaurants which should certainly satisfy every taste. Movie theatres and an adventure hall with climbing adds a bit of extra excitement. Here’s an extract from their website just to give you an idea what we’re dealing with here:
‘Gateway has 18 movie theatres, an IMAX theatre, 6 Nouveau Cinemas, a playhouse called the Barnyard Theatre, more than seventy restaurants, more than 350 stores, the Wave House, an arcade and theme park called Fantasy Forest, a 4000 sq. metre skate park designed by Tony Hawk, the highest indoor climbing rock in the world, a gym, the highest fountain in Africa,tenpin bowling, clubs, dodgem cars,Valet Parking, Kizo Gallery, Palm Court, 1 on 1, adventure golf, MTN science centre, a Nissan 4×4 track and a science theme park.’ With over 1.8million visitors each month, this is pretty serious stuff…

* If you’ve still got money after visiting Gateway and it’s burning a hole in your pocket, visit Sun Coast Casino and Entertainment World and donate it to the tinkling machines.
26 Hectares of casino, movie theatres, restaurants, show theatres and hotel, this place gets over 750 000 visitors a MONTH!! Yup, 3/4 of a millions people can’t be wrong…

* Get a rickshaw ride on Durban’s beachfront
With less than 20 official pullers now operating, this traditional ride is still an exciting way to explore the beach area. Adorned in fancy head dresses covered with beads and traditional decorations, the pullers shout and exclaim while they ride which kind of makes it a weird but cool experience.

* Learn that sharks don’t always have to be feared at The Natal Shark’s Board
The natal sharks board are responsible for the shark nets which protect the bathers along a 320km stretch of Natal coastline. With only 6 attacks each year and since 1990, only 26% have been serious, shark attacks are not as common or serious as everyone is led to believe. Unfortunately sometimes sharks are caught in the nets and die. These are then used to further study the sharks as well as being used in shark dissection demonstrations. These are Tues, Wed and Thurs at 09:00 and 14:00 and cost just R35. The centre is open throughout the week if you’d just like to vist and check out the pictures and display boards and chat to staff. If you fancy an early morning boat trip out with the guys to check the nets and learn a little more, it will set you back R250.

Get a good dose of nature by visiting some local nature reserves.
The Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve (slighly north of Durban) where you can see the southern most occurrence of guinea fowl, the Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve where you can see mangrove swamps complete with the little mudskipper creature which is half-frog half-fish, fiddler crabs, molluscs and bird life (which can be viewed from the bird hide) or the Virginia Nature Reserve.

Check out the birds (of a feathered variety) at Umgeni River Bird Park. Reopened in 2010, it now breeds 17 of the 23 endangered bird species. There are 3 walk through aviaries with several natural waterfalls and even a ‘Free Flight Show’ where you can see some birds in flight. Showing every day (except Mondays) at 11:00 and 14:00.

There is tons more to do here but the only way you can find out is to get on down here and experience it for yourself.

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