"Growing to appreciate Durbs-By-The-Sea" Top 5 Page for this destination Durban by CatherineReichardt
Durban Travel Guide: 426 reviews and 852 photos
I can't say that I know Durban well, but I'm getting to know it better.
What was then the Natal (now KwaZulu Natal) coast was THE place for South Africans to go on family holidays up to the 1980s, and there was a mass exodus of families from the Highveld to the beaches in and around Durban in mid December each year. South Africans Of A Certain Age will remember Jeremy Taylor's classic 'Ballad of the Southern Suburbs' (1961), where kids implore:
"Ag pleez Deddy won't you take us off to Durban
It's only eight hours in the Chevro-lay
There's spans of sea an' sand an' sun
And fish in the aquari-yum
That's a lekker place for a holi-day "
By the time I came to South Africa in the late 1980s, the popularity of Durban as a family tourist destination was already somewhat on the decline. Encouraged by better road links, reduced airfares due to competition on internal air routes (and compounded by the ongoing violence between the African National Congress - ANC- and Inkatha Freedom Party in the Natal Midlands during the late 1980s and 1990s) white South African families in particular discovered the delights of the Cape, and Cape Town started to eclipse Durban as the destination of choice for the long summer holidays.
I had always favoured Cape Town over Durban because I prefer the Western Cape's more dramatic landscape and find the oppressive heat and humidity of the Durban summer to be suffocating. However, over the last couple of years, I have had to travel to Durbs on business a couple of times a month, and I confess that the place is growing on me.
Durbs has a laid back - some might maintain, almost horizontal - way of life, and is interesting because it is the only major South African city where the culture is tangibly influenced by the Indian population. It's not as fast paced as Johannesburg and not as self-consciously pretentious as Cape Town, and its distinct character is coloured by the fact that it has never quite shrugged off the vestiges of the colonial era, when Natal was known as the 'Last Outpost'.
I don't think that I would ever like to live in Durban, but I can feel myself increasingly recognising the good things that it has to offer. I have long since appreciated the finer points of Natal Sharks rugby and have even learned to negotiate a bunny chow, that utterly unique icon of Durban Indian/South African fusion food. Who knows what I might come to appreciate next? (oh, and by the way, these days, it's less than 6 hours, assuming that you stick to the speed limit and aren't driving a Chevvy!)
To find information on other attractions in the broader KZN region, follow these links:
My Eshowe page
My Richards Bay page
My Pietermaritzburg page
There's also some more generic stuff on my South Africa page, which is particularly focused on planning your trip.
- Pros:Unashamedly casual and unpretentious
- Cons:Badly signposted street name changes + hellish humidity in summer = a evil combination
- In a nutshell:If there's a gear beyond first, Durbanites have yet to find it ...
Unfortunately South Africa's reputation is such that it's necessary to explicitly address the issue of whether it's safe... more travel advice
CatherineReichardt's Related Pages
Durban Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Hot Days - Cool waves"
- "Welcome to Durban"
- "Growing to appreciate Durbs-By-The-Sea"
- "DURBAN --- KwaZulu-Natal"
- "The Zulu Kingdom"
- "Durban a beautiful city in Prov.ZwaZululand -Natal"
- "Sunny City"
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- Things to Do in Durban
- Hotels in Durban
- Transportation in Durban
- Nightlife in Durban
- Restaurants in Durban
- Shopping in Durban
- Warnings and Dangers in Durban
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