Durban offers a blend of African, European, and Indian culture, as well as a vibrant waterfront, superb weather, and ready access to some of South Africa's best beaches. Long a magnet for outdoor lovers, Durban has something for everyone.
Durban is a wonderful base to explore South Africa's east coast. Bodyboard at North Beach, surf at Bay of Plenty, or fish at Blue Lagoon.
Durban isn't known as "South Africa's Playground" for nothing. Families can unwind at great attractions like the water park and aquarium at uShaka Marine World.
If you want to get up close and personal, you can dive with (harmless) sharks at Blue Wilderness or see thousands of fearsome reptiles at Crocodile Creek.
Durban's playground reputation was built around huge casinos like Suncoast - an entertainment complex with gambling, beaches, food, and shows to enjoy every day of the year.
South Africans love their sport. Why not catch the cricket at Kingsmead or see the Springboks battle it out in a rugby game at Kings Park Stadium?
Durban enjoys 320 days of sunshine every year, so most months are ideal for outdoor lovers. In fact, winter (June to August) could be the ideal time to go, with temperatures rarely dipping below 70 degrees.
King Shaka International Airport (DUR) is 30 miles out of town. From there, a taxi will cost around R400, while the airport shuttle costs R80.
Trains from Johannesburg to Durban are operated by Shosholoza Meyl/South African Railways (R360, around 12 hours).
From Cape Town or Port Elizabeth, follow highway 2 around the coast. From Johannesburg, take highway 3 straight to Durban.
Companies operating buses to Durban include Baz Bus, Citiliner, Greyhound, and Translux, with connections to all major South African cities.
Some of Durban's best hotels include the Suncoast (which also offers a casino complex), the seafront Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani, and the more central Hilton Durban.
City Center - dominated by modern office buildings, Durban's center has excellent museums like the KwaMuhle Museum - a powerful record of the history of Apartheid.
Beachfront - visitors and locals alike gravitate towards Beachfront, with its sand, water parks, casinos, and recently renovated promenade.
Berea - a historical gem, Berea is full of colonial-era homes, as well as the Durban Botanical Gardens and less crowded sands at Bluff Beaches.
Mynah buses run between Durban's suburbs (R2.40 per journey) while the People Mover operates on inner city routes (R16 for a day pass). Aqualine also run buses to resorts along the coast.
Taxis need to be pre-booked, and will cost around R18 for the meter drop, then R25 per mile.
You can rent cars from branches of Dollar, Avis, and Europcar, with daily prices as low as R140.
Gateway Theatre of Shopping claims to be the largest mall in the southern hemisphere. However, if you want something more intimate, try Essenwood Craft Market, where you'll find Zulu art and soapstone figurines.
Supermarkets in Durban include Shoprite, Checksave, and Saverite. As an indication, expect to pay around R25 for 12 eggs.
Try Butcher Boys Grill for authentic South African meat (a national obsession), dine on excellent seafood at Harvey's, sample African cuisine at moyo Ushaka, or enjoy first-rate curry at restaurants like Little Gujarat. Prices will vary, but a good meal shouldn't cost more than R100.