Destination Inspiration: Durban, South Africa

Destination Inspiration: Durban, South Africa

Though it’s best known as a gateway to Cape Town, the coastal city of Durban makes for an idyllic getaway in its own right, with highlights including rugged mountains, a dramatic coastline, a standout flea market and buzzy nightlife.


Durban, South

Why now?

Situated on South Africa’s
east coast, Durban (formerly Port Natal) ranks as the country’s
third most populous city, after Johannesburg and Cape Town. Making
up a hefty chunk of the KwaZulu-Natal province, it’s known by
locals as “Durbs”, but widely hailed as the “Garden Province” for
its rich flora and fauna – a result of its subtropical climate.

While it’s no secret that Durban’s Golden Mile beach looks like
something straight off a fridge magnet, those who prefer their
sun-worshipping to be somewhat serene should head 10km south of the
city to the under-the-radar waters of Ansteys Beach. Struggle to
spend a day on the sand? Victoria Street Market is whispering your
name. This flamboyant flea market is loved by vintage magpies for
its bric-a-brac, which often includes art-deco objets d’art and
hand-crafted ceramics. Be sure to have a
around the nearby Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve

Don’t miss

With some of the world’s most treasured wildlife at your
fingertips, it would be rude not to set aside a day for an off-grid
safari adventure. The 14-hour
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Safari Tour
is one of the best ways to see
baby elephants, gracious giraffes and plenty of other incredible
animals in their natural habitat. Tours start at 6:30am, when
you’ll be collected from your accommodation, before setting off on
a thrilling journey through sugar farms and traditional villages,
binoculars at the ready.

pool at oyster box durban

Where to stay?

Stay at The Oyster Box. Positioned on Umhlanga’s
beachfront, this design-driven bothole offers 86 rooms, each
adorned with handmade furnishings and with sea views. After
undergoing a major refurb back in 2018, the hotel has added two
pools, a swanky spa and a cosy cinema to its trophy cabinet.
Mornings are best spent sipping a fresh juice on one of the
red-and-white-candy-striped sun loungers. Come nightfall, dinner
and dancing await at in-house restaurant The Grill Room.

bar at 9th avenue waterside

Where to go for dinner?

To enjoy a tasty meal with sweeping sunset views across the
harbour, book a table at 9th Avenue Waterside. The
brainchild of Graham and Gina Neilson, this seafood restaurant
serves up sublime dishes featuring the likes of freshly caught
swordfish, crayfish and salmon. Dairy-lovers should start by
ordering the baked Camembert appetiser – indulgence on a plate.

And for a drink…

For live jazz served with a side of native red wine, check out
The Chairman. True
to speakeasy form, interiors are scruffy, with a happy mish-mash of
Aztec-print rugs, black leather banquettes and cobalt blue walls. A
go-slow vibe meets a cheerful crowd, making for the perfect place
to kick back and chat. Don’t expect to leave without having made a
handful of new best buddies.

Who to take with you

We can’t think of anywhere better to spend a week with a big
group of family or friends. This is the sort of city that is best
discovered en masse, around long, spritzer-soaked lunches.

When to go

Visit between early March and late May, when the heat of the
summer sun begins to dwindle and days are warm but not scorchingly
hot. Alternatively, chance your luck and come in July, when it’s
prime safari season.

Essentials to pack

Flip-flops. You’ll want to hop between beachside lounging and
exploring the city’s streetscape, and it pays to have comfortable
shoes. These
Tkees matte leather flip-flops
will keep you cool on the

How to get there

From London Heathrow, fly into Durban’s King Shaka International
Airport, from where it’s just a 25-minute drive to the city

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