Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Durban, South Africa
Durban's Places of Interest
Durban's Places of Interest
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The Old Station Building
This has to be your first port of call. The old station houses Tourist Junction, home of Tourism Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Authority.
Here you can browse through hundreds of leaflets detailing attractions and accommodation not only in Durban but throughout the rest of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa.
There are curio shops, videos to see and books to buy. You can also book accommodation in any of Ezemvelo Wildlife's and National Parks Board reserves. 'Book a Bed Ahead' is a service to give you peace of mind when you a travelling to a strange town. The old station also houses the African Art Centre, chock full of ethnic African artworks.
Inside the doorway is a bust of Gandhi who spent many years in Durban.
Between Commercial Road and Pine Streets, CBD. PO Box 2516,
Durban, 4000, South Africa 031 304 7144
Almost an exact replica of that in Belfast, the City Hall was built in 1910 and also houses Council Offices, the Library, the Natural Science Museum and Art Gallery and accommodates 1700 people. Immediately to the rear of the City Hall is the Local History Museum.
The style is neo-baroque. Note: the library has a special visitors' scheme.
CBD between Smith and West Sts.
Francis Farewell Square (Luthuli Square)
This crowded square outside the City Hall is thought to be the spot where Lieutenant Francis Farewell pitched camp in 1824 with a group of settlers.
It has monuments to those who fell in WW1 & 2 and the Boer Wars, a monument to Field Marshal Jan Smuts, Louis Botha and one to Queen Victoria. The cenotaph is the country's largest and depicts a soldiers spirit departing from his body, supported by two angels. One of the entrances to the square is through a public toilet with Union Jack windows.
The monument to those of Durban who lost their life in the Boer War takes the form of a pedestal depicting scenes from the battles that were fought to relieve Ladysmith.
Other nearby monuments include one that marks the position of the Voortrekker camp during the siege of 1842, another at Congella Station commemorating those Voortrekkers who died during the siege and another in memory of Boer women and children who died in the concentration camp at nearby Jacobs.
Gardiner St.in front of the City Hall
The Post Office
Originally the Durban Town Hall, the Post Office is remembered for the speech that war correspondent Winston Churchill gave from its steps after escaping from a Boer POW camp in Pretoria during the second Boer War.
It was also the venue in 1908 where talks were first held to unify the four provinces. Full postal and telephonic facilities are available. The building is a National Monument.
West St. and Gardiner
A little oasis with a swimming pool right in the city centre.
West St. CBD
The Eskom Visitors' Centre
At the centre on the ground floor of the BP Centre in Smith St (adjacent to the Local History Museum) you'll find lots of interesting exhibits. The centre acts as a mixture between a museum and information centre. There are guided tours of around one hour.
To arrange a tour: 360 2256
The Local History Museum
The Natal Playhouse Theatre Complex
Named after the brig in which Francis Farewell landed in 1824, the building was erected in 1925 in Baroque Revival style.
The Colombo Tea and Coffee Company
The purveyors of the best coffee in Durban still occupy this quaint building from 1902.
Madressa and Ajmeri Arcades are full of the smells and ambience of the East - not Africa. You will find a myriad of small shops here selling all manner of goods amongst loud music and a continuous bustle.
The Grey St Mosque
The cathereturn overlibl was built in 1904 in Gothic Revival style. The Stations of the Cross that line the side walls were a gift from the Empress Eugenie to commemorate the death of her son Louis Napoleon in 1879.
The Victoria Street Market
The Exhibition Centre
The Old Fort
The Sugar Terminals
For those of you with a sweet tooth, this tour is must! Come and see mountains (yes, mountains - half a million tons) of sugar.
Learn all about this common yet unappreciated additive. 90 minute tours at 08.30, 10.00, 11.30 and 14.00. There are also tours of the mill at Maidstone (Tongaat, north of Durban).
Maydon Road 031 365 8153
The Fishing Wharf
A pedestrian walkway connects this area of boatbuilders and dive schools with the Victoria Embankment.
Cnr. Canal Road and Maydon Wharf
This park is on the inland side of the Embankment and is one of the little green lungs of Durban and close to the Old House Museum.
The Supreme Court
Odd to have a Supreme Court overlooking a harbour. However the building was erected in 1913 in a style known as 'colonial courtyard'.
The Yacht Basin
Well worth a walk around. Durban is a favourite stopover for round the world sailors and there are craft from unlikely ports.
Next to the harbour are the two major yacht clubs of Durban - the Royal Natal Yacht Club and the Point Yacht Club where a cool frostie and a tasty meal may be enjoyed.
On the inland side of the Embankment opposite the small craft harbour is one of the better art deco style buildings.
This imposing building in what is known as Mediterranean Spanish Revival style was once a rooming house
Cnr, Embankment and Field St.
Until very recently women were barred from being members of the club and were only admitted if invited by another member - but then were forced to enter through a side door.
The Dick King Statue
The statue commemorates Dick King's memorable 960km ride to Grahamstown in 1842 to get help for the British garrison currently besieged by Boer forces in the Old Fort. The statue is on the Victoria Embankment (also known locally as the Esplanade).
Gardiner St. and Victoria Embankment
The Maritime Museum
Hourly trips take you out either on to the Bay or out to sea, depending on conditions.
Next to the Dick King Statue 031 305 2844
John Ross Statue
John Ross was a 15 year old lad who travelled on foot more than 900kms through untamed country to Delagoa Bay (Maputo)to get medical supplies for the settlers in Durban.
The Vasco da Gama Clock
The clock was installed originally at the harbour in 1887 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of da Gama's sighting of Natal. The baroque monument was completed in a British foundry and has a statue under the canopy of Samson breaking his bonds.
Aliwal St. and Victoria Embankment
The Lady in White
Perla Siedle Gibson was an accomplished soprano. As the British troopships passed slowly out of harbour on their way to war, she would sing patriotic songs to them using a megaphone.
She was remembered fondly by many thousands of allied troops and never allowed the grief from losing one of her own sons to stop her singing to the troops. The statue was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth in 1995.
The statue is at the Entrance three to the harbour at the end of Stanger St.
The Ice Rink
Get your skates on and have some fun - actually, skates are provided. Whether you enjoy yourself or amuse others on the ice, it doesn't matter.
Sol Harris Cresc. Marine Parade. 031 332 4597
The Dolphin Experience
A rubber duck takes you out amongst the dolphins and lets you hop overboard and enjoy some marine company.
The 'Centre for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife'. On the last Sunday of the month, an open day is held which allows the public to learn more about the centre's activities.
Junior CROW is a club that provides youngsters with newsletters and other snippets. Combine CROW with a visit to Stainbank Nature Reserve, they're almost next door.
Coedmore Avenue, Yellowood Park.
Organized demonstrations are held that include the ins and outs of fire engines, fire fighting and abseiling as well as lots and lots of foam!
Centenary/Mansfield Rds. Berea. 031 309 4341 ext 8075 for more info.
Particularly if you wander around the Grey Street area of Durban, you will across many herbalists.
They all sell muthi ('mootie') (see lingo) or medicine as well as traditional Zulu items such as shields, whips and drums. Muthi is composed both of plant and animal parts. In addition to the muthi shops you will come across sangomas (fortune tellers/witchdoctors) and herbal doctors.
The Harbour Ferry
The ferry provides a cheap and delightfully different view of the harbour as it connects the Bluff and Point Road.