Durban still worth a visit?


Jan 7th, 2009, 06:27 AM
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Durban still worth a visit?

My wife and I, retireees, will be driving from Kruger down highway 2 along the coast this August. The itinerary I planned from a 5 year old Frommers and a road map included two nights in Durban, so we could visit some galleries and do some tourist stuff there. But a friend on a SA tour who visited there this fall said she hated Durban, that there was nothing to do, that she couldn't wait to leave. And when I got my updated Frommer's guide, I noticed several attractions had lost a "star" in their ratings.
So-o-o, should I spend that day somewhere else earlier or later on the journey along highway 2? We are spending 2-3 days at the St Lucia, Hluhluwe Umfolozi area. Thanks for any advice.
topdoggerel is offline  
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Jan 7th, 2009, 07:09 AM
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Although I have been to Durban several times (and found it to be just a big city), what I am reporting today is second-hand from my sister who spent three nights in Durban in late November, 2008, following a cruise. She praised the Royal Hotel, where she stayed, but thought that Durban was awful. Apparently Victoria Street Market, which I have enjoyed in the past, was run-down and uninviting. Nothing else in the city appealed to her, either.

An area you might consider visiting, although a little far afield from N2, is what The Rough Guide calls "Zulu Heartland," where the Zulus and the British battled. Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift, Blood River, and Ulundi are fascinating places, if you are interested in Zulu history and British imperialism. The region is pretty, too. ZZ
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Jan 7th, 2009, 08:01 PM
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Thanks for the up-to-the-minute report. And for the alternate suggestion. I think we can do better than Durban.
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Jan 9th, 2009, 10:30 AM
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I was in Durban a year ago and wouldn't recommend it. The Botanic Garden is marvellous but we were warned not to go out because of the high crime danger. There is also an excellent Natal National Botanic Garden at Pietermaritzberg. The birds, hippos and crocs made St Lucia an excellent visit. Here are some photos: Lots of elephants, rhinos, giraffes at Hluhluwe:
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Jan 9th, 2009, 08:37 PM
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Was in Durban in 2003 for the Cricket world cup - India vs England at the Kingsmead. Can't remember doing too much in the city.
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Jan 9th, 2009, 10:13 PM
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Durban is like any big town near the sea, but to the north and South Coast it is definitely worth a visit.If you want warn seas and beautiful beaches.

Try anywhere 50 to 100kms from Durban. Unless you want to see Ushaka
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Jan 9th, 2009, 10:14 PM
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Having been to Durban, I wouldn't recommend spending a lot of time there. Better to spend your time on the coast.

In St. Lucia, we enjoyed the trip on the Santa Lucia - great birding and lots of hippos.

Hluhluwe-Umfolozi is a great park - you could easily spend a few days there. When in the area, don't miss the Ilala Weavers - the makers of the world-renowned Zulu baskets. The baskets are amazing - very beautiful - and they will ship them home for you. They have several rooms of baskets - be prepared to spend a bit of time there.

In Durban, the BAT Centre is well worth a visit if you are interested in purchasing telephone-wire basketry. They have a huge selection of beautiful baskets with the most intricate patterns and beautiful colours. Very good prices too!

If you're birders, a trip to the Mkhuze Game Reserve is also recommended. It is north of St. Lucia, but within easy driving distance.

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Mar 19th, 2012, 08:03 AM
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Hi there
I live in Durban and would not exchange it for the world. I do not think it is such a great touristy city, though. There is a great aquarium which is definitely worth a visit. The world cup soccer stadium is also lovely and offer cable car rides to the top with a lovely view. The food is unique, hot and spicy Indian which you would not find anywhere else in South Africa. It is also one of the most African of South African cities and has a bit of soul. But that soul is hard to find if you are a tourist. It is not so much a culture city. I would not suggest coming here if you are after galleries. Are you driving further south than Durban? Definitely spend one night and see the aquarium and then maybe spend the extra day in the wild coast or at Tsitsikamma or even in Cape Town if you are going that far. All probably offer more for tourists.
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Mar 19th, 2012, 08:10 AM
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I will be spending 4 nights in Durban this August. I will actually be staying in Umhlanga though. The area looks interesting and I plan on taking day trips to see Lesotho and the Hluhluwe national park. I might also visit the aquarium.
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Mar 20th, 2012, 07:20 AM
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The OP was in 2009.... I expect much has changed since then! I'll look forward to mcbg1's trip report to for more info. Thank's Nuut for bringing the topic ttt again, though.
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