Durban, South Africa
Sitting on Africa’s eastern seaboard, overlooking the majestic Indian Ocean, Durban boasts the busiest port in South Africa and is arguably the nation’s most cosmopolitan, ambitious and forward looking of cities.
Populated with smiling locals, surrounded by seemingly endless sandy beach, and enjoying pleasant weather almost every day of the year, Durban makes for an enjoyable and rewarding visit for the passing cruise passenger.
With numerous shopping opportunities, trendy bars and restaurants at arms length, and natural wonders just outside the city’s CBD, visitors won’t get bored too soon in dynamic Durban.
Cruise ships dock in the Bay of Natal at the T-jetty in the N-Shed. The city centre of Durban can be reached on foot in just 10 minutes. However, walking is not recommended for safety reasons – instead, take a metered taxi.
Most cruise ships also run a shuttle bus service to uShaka Marine World, which is close to the waterfront.
The passenger terminal at T-jetty is located in a commercial port, and so the leisure facilities are quite limited. It’s best to take the shuttle bus to the uShaka Marine World, which has a number of facilities that cruise passengers can use.
Facilities nearby include:
- Public toilets
- Restaurants and bars
- Wi-Fi access.
Once at the uShaka Marine World, metered taxis are readily available, giving guests access to more of the city and its surrounding area.
How to get around
Although it’s possible to explore Durban completely on foot, it’s much safer to take metered taxis or to rent a car at one of the many car hire offices in town.
A shuttle bus also whisks people from uShaka Marine World to the Victoria Street Market – right in the heart of Durban’s city centre.
Travel times from the uShaka Marine Park:
- It is a 1 minute journey to a number of restaurants and shops, which are located just outside the uShaka Marine Park.
- It is a 10 minute journey to the Victoria Street Market
- It is a 35 minute journey to PheZulu Safari Park.
- Currency - The currency in Durban is the South African Rand. Coins come in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R 1, R 2 and R 5 denominations, and notes come in R 10, R 20, R 50, R 100 and R 200 denominations.
- Time Zone - Cape Town is on South Africa Standard Time (SAST). It is 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
- Weather - Durban has a mild and sub-tropical climate, consisting of warm and wet summers, and moist to dry winters. During summer, the average daytime temperature in Durban averages around 28 degrees Celsius. In winter, daytime temperatures hover around 18 degrees Celsius on average.
- Victoria Street Market - The perfect place to while away a few hours shopping and people watching, the Victoria Street Market in Durban’s city centre is definitely unique. This bustling market is spread over more than 170 stalls, selling everything from Indian spices and saris, to African crafts and traditional herbs, to souvenirs and fabrics. The market is open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday and public holidays.
- PheZulu Safari Park - Get excited for an authentic Zulu tribe experience! A must see for anyone in town, the PheZulu Safari Park is the place to see a traditional Zulu dance and story performance in one of the most visually stunning parts of the world. Perched on Botha’s Hill, the PheZulu Safari Park offers commanding views of the world-famous Valley of a 1000 Hills. Tickets start at $10 per person.
- uShaka Marine World - Spread out over 40 acres and housing one of the largest aquariums in the world, uShaka encompasses the Wet and Wild Water Park, Sea World and the Village Walk Shopping Centre. It makes for a great day out, especially if the temperature is up in the mid 30s. Entrance tickets start at $16 per adult and $12 per child (up to 12 years old).
- KwaMuhle Museum – Set in the heart of Durban, a 13 minute walk north of the Durban Natural Science Museum, the KwaMuhle Museum is a must-see attraction for passengers wanting to experience and understand what life was like in the area during the apartheid area. Housed in what was once the headquarters of the notorious Native Administration Department, the museum features both sobering and inspiring exhibitions, including videos and photos, which depict the struggle against apartheid. The museum is open from 8:30am till 4pm, Monday to Saturday and offers free entry for visitors.