Lively, relaxed and cosmopolitan, Durban is an ideal destination for a complete getaway.
Durban is located in South Africa, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, facing the Indian Ocean and surrounded by some of the country’s wildest and most valuable natural parks such as Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, home to an interesting mix of wildlife, or Santa Luzia, whose estuary is home to a large population of hippopotami, which act as a powerful magnet for lovers of the animal kingdom.
The third largest city in the country can boast of countless beaches, many of which have the perfect waves to enjoy surfing at its best, and which have earned it the nickname «city of surfing».
Durban is also the city of records, as it has the busiest port on the continent, one of the largest aquariums in the world, the largest convention centre in Africa and the oldest botanical garden.
Its architectural heritage is a veritable showcase of Art Deco, Victorian, Neo-Baroque, Indian and post-colonial styles, creating a most evocative and artistic setting that will appeal to the most restless travellers.
Nor can we forget the Moses Mabhida stadium, the place where our national team defeated Germany and went on to the final of the 2010 World Cup, a feat and a source of pride for football fans.
In this city, the multiculturalism also takes the maximum prominence, because the black population, the mestizo, the white, the Zulu and the Indian live together in harmony, so much so that it has the largest Indian community in the world outside India.
The best areas to stay in Durban
The accommodation offer is very wide and includes a number of hotels, apartments and luxury resorts, many of which are located around the Golden Mile or the promenade and the ostentatious Morningside district.Despite this, it is not an expensive city compared to other European capitals, but as with all destinations, prices vary considerably from one neighbourhood to another.It is worth knowing if we do not want to invest too much budget in accommodation or if, on the contrary, we are looking for specific hotels.
Thus, the areas with the most exclusive hotels and, therefore, the most expensive for accommodation in Durban are North Beach, Durban North, Umhlanga, Morningside and Durban City Center.Durban City Centre
The city centre has the Old Town area and many other points of interest, making it an excellent area to stay in Durban if you want to be within walking distance of everything.
In this area are located some of the architectural jewels of the city as the building of the City Hall, which dates from 1910 and looks a neobaroque style Eduardian.
Its interior houses the Natural Science Museum, which has a life-size reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus rex and the third largest collection of birds on the continent, as well as the City Art Gallery, which allows visitors to enter the world of African crafts.
Occupies the Francis Farewell Square, which, in addition to exuding charm, is marked on its south side by a replica of Belfast’s Irish Town Hall and houses the Old Court House, which houses the Local History Museum.’
Another of the architectural attractions of the urban heart is the Juma Masjid Mosque, which has the honour of being the oldest mosque in the southern hemisphere and one of the most beautiful, as its minaret is crowned by a golden dome.
Nearby is Grey Street, which has a wide range of Indian flavours, including bunnychow, where curry rules.
This part of the city is also home to the Moses Mabhida Stadium, the venue for the 2010 World Cup, which was won by the Spanish team.So visiting it is almost a must for any Spaniard who wants to remember the feat that remains indelible in our memory.
The traditional markets are very important in this area, which give the opportunity to enter the local culture and buy typical products.
The Warwick market is particularly noteworthy, with over 5,000 stalls, including Zulu handicrafts, medicinal plants and seafood; and the Victoria Street Market, where you can learn more about local flavours and typical spices, and where you can even get a henna tattoo.
Staying in the heart of the city is always a good option for those who want to be near the main tourist services and attractions.Unlike other destinations, it does not concentrate the most expensive hotels, but it does have a great offer. Thus, the cost of a 4-star hotel ranges from 50 to 70 .
ACCOMMODATION IN DURBAN CITY CENTRE
2.Golden Mile – North Beach
This area is located at the north of the harbour, between the Bay of Plenty and Dairy Beach, in the heart of the Golden Mile-, which is the city’s promenade.It is full of people walking around, skateboarders doing watermarks, restaurants with terraces that offer typical gastronomy and bars of the most animated, which at nightfall offer a good atmosphere.
But the great protagonist is its extensive beach, one of the most popular with locals and visitors, who come to enjoy a swim, although in high season you have to be an early riser, above all, to practice sea sports, especially surf, bodyboard, windsurf and kitesurf thanks to the magnificent swell it gives.
Not far away is UShaka Marine World, which is one of the largest aquariums in the world.Although it has many attractions, including a beach, the great attractions are the shark tank and the dolphinarium, and the Gateway Theatre of Shopping, which has the honour of being the largest on the continent, a real city in itself.
Looking for accommodation in Durban in this area is a good idea for those who come to seek out the best waves or enjoy the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
The range of accommodation on offer is the widest in the city and includes everything from mid-range options to more upmarket ones with a private beach and an interesting range of activities and water sports.Of course, the prices are not the cheapest. roughly speaking, the price of a 4 star hotel ranges from 100 euros to 110 euros.
GOLDEN MILE ACCOMMODATION
3″, «Durban North
This district is located in the north of the city, in the eThekwini, a residential area where the most opulent houses are located and Chris Hani Road, the most important industrial area of the city.
The great attraction of this area are the beaches that bathe it, more specifically Beachwood, Virginia and Glenashley, ideal for both bathers and wave worshippers.
Another point of interest, especially recommended for nature and animal lovers, is the Bird Park of the River Umegi, which contains several aviaries and shows of owls, toucans or bruites.
For those who want more, you can go to the Japanese gardens, which allow you to enter the Japanese landscape, where the calm, bamboo, Japanese flowers and reeds are the protagonists.
This is a great option for those who want to combine the enjoyment of the beach and sea sports with the practice of activities in contact with nature or travel with family or couple.
It also has a wide range of hotels, many of them with sea views or on the beachfront, but are more expensive than, for example, in the city center.So much so that a 4-star hotel here costs an average of 100 and 120 .
FIND OUT ACCOMMODATION IN DURBAN NORTH
Don’t miss in addition to this guide to the best neighborhoods and areas where to stay in Durban these others in South Africa: Where to stay in Johannesburg, where to stay in Cape Town
It stretches along the coast, as it is part of the Golden Mile, and it is about 15 minutes from downtown and 10 minutes from King Shak International Airport.It is, therefore, a very crowded area, since it contains the Gateway Theatre of Shopping, which, as we have mentioned, is one of the largest shopping centres on the continent, making it a paradise for lovers of shopping.
It also has very popular beaches such as La Lucia, Mount Edgecombe and Umdloti, where you can enjoy swimming and water sports, especially kitesurfing, surfing or water polo.
Nearby, less than an hour’s drive away, is the Valle de las Mil Colinas, a village inhabited by Zulus, who maintain their traditional way of life, and surrounded by nature and giant hills practically untouched.Visiting it is an appointment with the tribal ethnography, with mother nature and magic.
It is also close to the Beachwood Nature Reserve, which has three protected mangrove species, which are inhabited by unique species such as the fiddler crab or uca or the mangrove kingfisher.
It has an interpretation centre and offers activities such as bird watching.It also has trails, which can be walked at high tide, and is not too far from the Hawaan Forest, which has over a hundred species of indigenous trees.
This is the most exclusive accommodation in Durban, as there are many resorts, luxury apartments on the beach and 5-star hotels with all possible services.», »
As you might expect, the price is high, so it is not the most recommended option for those looking for cheap sleep in Durban. A 4 star hotel with sea views costs between 110 and 130 .
ACCOMMODATION IN UMHLANGA BEACH
This neighbourhood is located in Berea, in the north of the city, and has the honour of being one of the oldest in Durban.So much so that it still has many 19th century mansions, which give it an air of magnanimity and reflect its history.
It is also home to the University, which attracts young people, academics and many artists, making it one of the most cultural, bohemian and modern districts in the city.
Bulwer and Helen Joseph avenues are the main ones, and they bring together a good number of shops, many of them second-hand, art galleries, cafés, restaurants and bars with a very eclectic atmosphere.
It is very close to Morningside, the ‘good’ neighbourhood of the city, which also has some interesting places like the Mitchell Park zoo and Jameson Park; and Musgrave, which houses the oldest botanical gardens in Africa, dating back to colonial times, some of the oldest in the country, which allows you to get a glimpse of the diversity of South Africa’s flora.
The proximity to the city centre or the Golden Mile and its relaxed atmosphere make this area a good option for staying in Durban, especially for those travelling with their families, in couples or looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and the beach area.
However, the accommodation offer is not the most extensive, but it does have prices that are quite accessible for all pockets. Thus, a 4 star hotel ranges from 75 to 100 .
LODGING IN GLENWOOD
Together with Glenwood, from which it is separated by the N3 highway, it forms the neighbourhood of Berea, which is also very close to the Golden Mile, making it a very interesting option for accommodation in Durban.
Unlike Gleenwood, which offers a more cultural and modern environment, this one is more sybaritic.The reason is that in recent years it has undergone a process of restructuring, which has involved the construction of many new homes, shops, restaurants and modern shopping centres, such as the Musgrave Center, which has become one of the favourite places for shopping.
As it is situated in the upper part of Durban, it offers wonderful views of the ocean, beaches, harbour and city centre.This is also the location of the Royal Durban Golf Course, where golf lovers meet.
For those looking for central and affordable accommodation, Musgrave is certainly an excellent choice for accommodation in Durban.», «The hotel layout is quite generous and cheap, so much so that it is possible to book a 3-star hotel for about £55 a night.
ACCOMMODATION IN MUSGRAVE
It is located at the top of a hill, about 6 km from the center, bounded by the Umeghi river and the Berea district.It is one of the oldest and is mainly inhabited by wealthy people.
The best example of this is the predominance of Victorian and Edwardian style mansions, among which the president’s is also found, and houses with large terraces.In many of them, the headquarters of important South African companies have been established, while others have become restaurants and bars of the highest quality.
The main street is Florida Road, which is dotted with shops, restaurants, bars and venues with live music where you can enjoy a lively evening.
Here are some of the interesting places like Mitchell Park, an interesting zoo located, and Jameson Park, which has a collection of roses with more than 200 specimens, not too far from the botanical gardens and the Moses Mabhida stadium.
Given the characteristics of this neighbourhood, prices are among the most expensive to stay in Durban, so it is not recommended for those on a budget.
8.International Airport Zone
Durban International Airport, also known as King Shaka Airport, is located about 35km north of the city centre and opened in 2010 for the World Cup.
Today it is one of the most modern and important gateways for hundreds of daily travellers from other regions of Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Finding accommodation close to the airport is always an excellent option for business travellers, who do not spend much time travelling, or for those who plan to combine a visit to Durban with other destinations or simply want to be close to it.
In addition, the airport has transport to get to the centre, such as taxis and buses. The range of accommodation is not very extensive, but there are some interesting options to choose from, which are also not very expensive.
Where is the best place to stay in Durban?
Durban is South Africa’s third largest city and every year it attracts visitors from all over the world thanks to its beautiful coastline and vibrant atmosphere.
The best places to stay in Durban are the North Beach and Umhalanga Beach areas , located on the famous Golden Mile. North Beach is located within walking distance of the city centre, as well as the huge uShaka Marine World Aquarium and the Durban Botanical Gardens, and is also the area for water sports and nightlife.For those looking for something more exclusive, the Umhalanga Beach area in the north of the city offers luxury hotels as well as Africa’s largest shopping centre, the Gateway Theatre of Shopping, a prime location for entertainment.
If you are interested in knowing where to stay in Durban , you may also be interested in knowing where to stay in Cape Town and where to stay in Johannesburg.
North Beach and Umhalanga Beach, the best places to stay in Durban
The popular Golden Mile is Durban’s main tourist attraction with a long golden beach, artificially separated by jetties, offering visitors a unique paradise for sunbathing and swimming in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.The best areas to stay in Durban are the North Beach and Umhalanga Beach areas because they provide a wide variety of accommodation options, plus restaurants and year-round entertainment in a comfortable and safe environment.
The Golden Mile extends from South Beach where the uShaka Marine World aquarium is located to the Suncoast Casino in the north.It is important to follow the safety recommendations of the beaches, because sharks have been found in their waters, so you will notice that there are bathing and sports areas, as well as a security team watching the place.
The North Beach area is located in the heart of the Golden Mile, between the Bay of Plenty and Dairy Beach, and offers a great location within walking distance of the city centre, about 30 minutes walk or 5 minutes by taxi.This warm Indian Ocean beach is ideal for swimming and water sports and is Durban’s premier bodyboarding location, surrounded by numerous hotels to suit all budgets, many with private beaches and all sorts of water activities for guests.In the North Beach area you can also find a wide range of entertainment and nightlife options: cafes, bars and restaurants with terraces to enjoy a magnificent sunset.
It’s worth spending an afternoon at the Durban Botanical Garden, the oldest garden in Africa founded in 1849 with collections of subtropical trees, palms and orchids, or take a tour of the colorful Indian Quarter, with bargain shops and the traditional Victoria Street Market to buy Indian spices.You can also travel under the ocean at the uShaka Marine World, a theme park that has become one of Durban’s top attractions.
The Umhalanga Beach area is Durban’s premier exclusive resort, about 15 minutes north of downtown Durban.This residential, commercial and tourist complex stretches 200 km to the UNESCO World Heritage Site iSimangaliso Wetland Park and consists of two beaches, Bronze Beach in the north and Main Beach in the centre, with crystal clear waters, recommended for families with children and with lifeguards patrolling the area most of the day.It is surrounded by Durban’s most sought after hotels, as well as multiple entertainment options with restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs.
In the area, you can also visit the fascinating Valley of a Thousand Hills, a local village with traditional houses, perfect for learning about the culture of the Zulu people.And for those looking to spend a day shopping, there is no better place than the Gateway Theatre of Shopping, the largest shopping centre in Africa, with 18 cinemas, a theatre, over 90 restaurants, over 400 shops, a theme park, a 4,000 sqm ice rink designed by Tony Hawk, Africa’s tallest fountain and much more.
Hotels in North Beach
Hotels in Umhlanga Beach
Other areas to sleep in Durban
The suburb of Glenwood, located in Berea (the area where Durban’s suburbs are concentrated) is one of Durban’s oldest sites, made up of avenues lined with elegant 19th century mansions that reflect the city’s history.Its central location offers easy access to the Golden Mile and the city centre and due to the nearby University campus, Glenwood is a privileged residential suburb of academics, creatives and designers who have made the place a meeting point of culture and fashion with cafes, vibrant bars and good atmosphere restaurants.Helen Joseph Avenue (formerly Davenport Avenue) and Bulwer Avenue are the busiest areas of Glenwood.
Musgrave is a suburb located in Berea, close to Glenwood.It is the fashionable suburb of the city and has panoramic views of Durban: its beaches, the port and the city centre, as well as the Royal Durban Golf Course and the Botanical Gardens.It is within walking distance of Durban’s main attractions, has good transport links and a wide range of hotels.
Hotels in Musgrave