Durban, Welcome to South Africa’s playground!
Nationally regarded as the fun capital, Durban definitely lives up to all expectations. Perhaps you have visited some of these attractions; perhaps you’ve passed them by on your way to the beach. This summer, we suggest you sample these delights.
At 15 hectares, uShaka Marine World is Africa’s largest Marine Theme Park. It incorporates fresh and seawater, lush vegetation, natural materials, and the recreation of a 1920’s cargo ship wreck into a magical world of sea life. The marine park is tastefully themed with African imagery and focuses on entertaining the whole family. So where is it? On the Bell’s Beach end of the Golden Mile. uShaka offers the following:
• Treasure World is close to the main entrance to uShaka. It’s filled with speciality stores. Don’t miss the marvelous Shark Restaurant in the shipwreck. It sports a window with views into the shark tan.
• Sea World and Dolphin World is in the centre of uShaka Marine World. The world-famous dolphin, Gambit, performs here. There are also other stadia to view seals and penguins.
• The best stuff is in and around Sea World. For example: The Rocky Reefs Exhibit, where you can interact with fish; Snorkel Lagoon where you can experience the feeding of octopus, rock lobsters and eel, and go snorkeling into the rocky lagoon pool; Rocky Touch Pool, where a specially-trained guide will encourage you to gently handle sensitive marine creatures like starfish and sea cucumbers; the Open Ocean, where you can watch tuna, rays, and other open ocean fish; and Dangers of the Deep, where sea snakes, devil fire fish, and sharks are on display. There’s also Coral Gardens, where visitors can appreciate just how colorful and diverse these ecosystems are; the Deep Zone offering a glimpse of the strange animals inhabiting the deep, often in complete darkness; and Wet ‘n Wild World, with swimming pools for kids and adults, river rides, and high speed chutes for the adventurous. Phone 031 337 8099 for more information.
Tired of the beach yet? Maybe just a little? Why not visit one of Durban’s man parks or gardens, like the Durban Botanic Gardens? A fabulous day of exploring the cycad collection, the Ernest Thorpe Orchid House, a herb garden, a sunken garden, ornamental lake, and a tea garden awaits. Sounds like a perfect picnic spot, don’t you think?
Be brave and visit the Fitz Simons Snake Park, which boasts members of over half of South Africa’s 157 different snake species. There are also lizards, crocodiles, and tortoises. Interesting fact: Fitz Simons Snake Park is the key producer of snakebite serum in the country.
You may also consider Mitchell Park, which features an impressive collection of birds, reptiles, and large tortoises. There is also a children’s playground and a rather unusual tea garden. You’ll have to go there to see what I mean…
Inject a little culture into your travels and visit the African Art Center, which promotes and sells original, traditional works of art, including rugs, sculpture, beadwork, tapestries, ceramics, and carvings from the Xhosa and Zulu cultures.
Need a shopping fix? Then the busy, traditional Victoria Street Market is the perfect outing. Over a hundred stalls offer a wide variety of wares, clothes, curios, bags, spices, incense and trinkets from Africa and the East. The market is located on the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets.
Durban has much to offer, Happy exploring!