Overview

Durban, South Africa
Durban, South Africa © Bgabel
Durban is the largest city in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province. A coastal port with a consistent sub-tropical climate, its wide golden beaches are washed by the warm Indian Ocean. Durban is a holidaymaker's paradise, operating as a gateway to the dozens of seaside resort towns to the south and north of the city.

The Golden Mile central beach area is flanked by numerous high-rise hotels and stretches for four miles (6km). It is fronted by promenades and entertainment facilities and offers many things to see and do, such as flea markets, a skate park, and colourful rickshaws.

Although much of Durban is characterised by British colonial heritage and beautiful Art Deco architecture, the city is actually an exciting mix of cultures. There is a large Indian community, descendants of indentured labourers who came to work on the Natal sugar estates in the 1850s. The city owes its Indian shrines, bazaars, and tantalising curry restaurants to them.

The heritage of the amaZulu, whose ancestors inhabited the province before the coming of the European colonial powers, is very evident in the region north of the Tugela River. This region is known as Zululand, where the legendary King Shaka once ruled.

Today, most of KwaZulu-Natal's best game parks can be found in this region. Durban is not only the gateway to the popular coastal beach resorts of the province, including Ballito, but also to the rolling hills and plains of the Natal Midlands and their backdrop: the majestic, jagged peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains, which border the province in the west and cradle the nearby mountain kingdom of Lesotho.