Durban has always been South Africa’s city of golden sunsets, of Joe Cools cocktails on North Beach and a promenade that stretches into the horizon.
For years it has been and remains one of the country’s prime tourism spots; whether for a fortnight or a fun-filled weekend, Durban is only a 45-minute flight from the big smoke.
Hop onto a flight and 45 short minutes later King Shaka International Airport and Durban’s sub-tropical warmth welcomes visitors.
Take a taxi or rent a car and head toward Akanan Guest House (www.akanan.co.za) or any of the other comfortable and homely guest houses and bed and breakfast establishments scattered across town.
Suburbs to bear in mind are La Lucia and Glenashley or Durban North, which are in proximity to major centres but more affordable.
After leaving your bags behind, head toward Florida Road, Durban’s Parkhurst, and enjoy a cocktail at one of the many trendy venues like Taco Zulu or Absolut.
After the sun has set, try a gourmet pizza at Craft in Glenashley or for something a little more romantic at Ninth Avenue Bistro (book well in advance) in Morningside or Café 1999 in Berea.
Watch the sunrise from the Umhlanga pier with a glass of bubbly and a breakfast picnic basket to enjoy on the beach.
Visit the Sharks Board afterwards and learn about the incredible contribution that nature’s oldest predators make to the environment.
Interesting dissections are not for the faint-hearted but they do showcase some of the natural world’s greatest wonders.
The Shongweni Farmer’s Market is an alternative Saturday morning breakfast excursion – only open until 10:30am though.
Comics in Glenashley is a great burger and pizza joint for a light midday treat or try Kung Thai in Durban North or Umhlanga.
Alternatively, Durban is the home of the Bunny Chow and no visit to the golden coast is complete without a bunny from the Brittania Hotel – also known for its chicken and prawn curries.
Ushaka Marine World is always a great way to enjoy a day with fantastic displays, a world-class aquarium and a host of interesting stores for browsing or buying. Another great way to explore Durban is by foot.
Street Scene tours take visitors on incredible walking tours through the Durban city centre; admire some of the city’s vintage architecture or taste a smiley (sheep’s head) and stock up with muti at one of the many markets in town.
Saturday Night Dinner
Barbacoa is a festive Argentinian restaurant in Umhlanga with the Olive and Oil across the road for a quieter night. Mamma Lucianos in Glenashley is a fun, family-run Italian restaurant with some of the best lasagna this side of the Mediterranean.
At night, paint the town red at Tiger Tiger opposite the Moses Mabhida stadium or for something a little more upmarket, don’t miss Bellagio on Stanford Hill road in Morningside.
No better place to enjoy your last morning in Durbs than the Green Room – great food with a warm and relaxed atmosphere or Bellevue Café in Kloof if you prefer a pretty-looking but wholesome plate to get your day going.
After kick-starting your day, go for a cycle on the promenade on the Durban seafront. It has been redeveloped.
For younger visitors, the Wavehouse in Gateway offers a day’s fun in its wave pools or Ushaka’s Wet and Wild Water World. The Big Swing at Moses Mabhida Stadium will take your breath away, too.
A great, scrumptious Sunday lunch is a family tradition for many South Africans. Some great spots to enjoy a final few hours at the coast include the famous Oyster Box curry buffet or Circus Circus on North Beach for something lighter.
Box Bar opposite the Oyster Box is a younger lunch venue for some great sharing food.
Heading to the airport
En route to King Shaka International Airport, make sure that some additional time is available for a flutter at Sibaya Casino – or have a final tipple at Beach Bum’s on Umdloti Beach and a brisk stroll on the beach.