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City guide: fiery curries and colourful rickshaws in Durban – Yettio

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Cape Town is known for its iconic Table Mountain, V&A Waterfront and beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. However, where Cape Town loses points with its icy cold Atlantic Ocean, Durban gets a thumbs up for its warm, enjoyable Indian Ocean. If you’re looking for the best swimming beaches in South Africa, you might want to consider Durban. The coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal is known for the famous Sardine Run and is a hot spot for dolphin watching too.

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Durban is a popular holiday destination among South African families because of its sub-tropical climate, warm ocean and stretches of pristine beaches. A holiday in Durban is about tanning, surfing, swimming, shopping and browsing spice markets. Durban also hosts the Vodacom Durban July, and in 2022 the city will host the Commonwealth Games.

Durbanites are laid-back friendly locals who come from various cultural and religious backgrounds. Cape Town has the colourful houses of the Bo-Kaap with its strong Cape Malay heritage, Durban has its Indian and Zulu community.

If you ask South Africans what comes to mind when they think of Durban, their answer will most likely be surfing, fiery hot curries and bunny chows. Like any new holiday destination, you have to try the local cuisine. So treat yourself to a Durban curry and the local favourite, the bunny chow. Just ask for a bunny though!

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Durban has many wonderful attractions and activities that anyone would enjoy, young and old alike. So if you’re visiting the Surf City then consider these recommendations on what you could possibly get up to during your stay.

Zulu beadwork

Zulu culture is synonymous with Durban, and so a fitting souvenir would be browsing the markets at the BAT Centre for beautiful Zulu bead work, wooden sculptures and woven baskets. There is also a lovely restaurant and coffee shop onsite. The BAT Centre is located at 11 Maritime Place at the Victoria Embankment near Durban’s harbour. This isn’t the only place to browse for authentic Durban souvenirs, travel to the outskirts of the city where you’ll also find a few craft centres.

Bunny Chows and red hot curries

A integral part of being a Durbanite is noshing on a Bunny Chow, a dish with African and Indian influence. A Bunny, as it’s known by locals, is a hollowed out white loaf of bread filled to the brim with delicious curry. Capetonians have gatsbys, Durbanites have Bunny Chows – the ultimate comfort food! If you’re keen to try a Bunny you’ll find plenty of cheap takeaway shops at Victoria Market, which is where you can also shop for spices and souvenirs. If you think you can handle a hot Durban mutton curry, you won’t fall short of Indian restaurants in the area. A word of caution, don’t aim to high on the curry thermometer!

Local food of Durban

Wikipedia: Eric Enfermero

The Golden Mile

The Golden Mile is a stretch of sandy beaches where you’ll find the colourful Zulu rickshaws. Don’t climb aboard the first one you see, haggle along the Golden Mile for a cheaper ride.  The beach side of the mile starts at Blue Lagoon, a popular spot for fishing and picnics, and continues past Suncoast Casino toward North Beach. Entertainment is guaranteed along the Golden Mile; you’ll find a skate park, a surfing museum and restaurants in the Bay of Plenty. Southwards you’ll come across Fun World and uShaka Marine World. The Golden Mile is definitely the centre of Durban tourism and is the place where you’ll most likely spend plenty of time. It’s not advised though to walk at night, nor with any valuable belongings in plain sight, even during the day.

Attractions in Durban

Gateway Mall

Gateway Mall (or Gateway Theatre of Shopping) is the biggest mall in Africa with over 400 shops and 70 restaurants. Gateway Mall is the ultimate in fashion and accessory shopping and with a wild assortment of restaurants from which to choose, visitors are truly spoiled for choice. To keep kids entertained, the mall has a Ster Kinekor, IMAX Theatre, Funtubbles Funfair, go-karting and bowling. Prepare yourself for sensory overload!

Surfing

Durban isn’t known as South Africa’s Surf City for nothing. The shores of Durban are among the country’s top surfing locations and have over the years, hosted many prominent surfing competitions. If you’re keen to try the waves yourself, head to Dairy Beach, North Pier and the Bay of Plenty for the best surf! Unlike Cape Town’s cold water where you’ll need to wear a wetsuit, surfing in Durban will only require your normal swimming clothes. The beach is not the only place to catch a wave, the Wave House at Gateway Mall has some great surf opportunities too. Tear it up at the Flow rider or if you prefer something a bit more chilled, have a go on the supertubes.

Things to do in Durban

Wilson’s Wharf

If you want to see beautiful expensive yachts, racing boats, tankers and local fishermen returning after a day’s catch, head to Durban Harbour – the busiest port in South Africa. Here you’ll find takeaway shops and restaurants overlooking the harbour, but the best time is at night so that you can enjoy the atmosphere of the flickering lights on the water. Find Wilson’s Wharf in Boatmans Road.

Places to visit in Durban

I hope this guide has been useful. If you’re considering visiting Durban, or have been to Durban let me know your thoughts on the city.

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