Durban was formerly known as Port Natal. It is largest city of KwaZulu-Natal province and chief seaport of South Africa, located on Natal Bay of the Indian Ocean. European settlement began with a band of Cape Colony traders led by Francis G. Farewell, who charted the port in 1824 and named the site Port Natal. Land was ceded to the group by Shaka, the Zulu king (whose right to take that action is disputed), and the Old Fort (now a museum) was built. Durban was founded in 1835 on the site of Port Natal and was named for Sir Benjamin D’Urban, the governor of the Cape Colony. In the late 1830s and early ’40s the Boers clashed with the British over control of Durban. It became a borough (town) in 1854 and was created a city in 1935.
Durban is the third most populous city in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town and the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Located on the east coast of South Africa, Durban is the busiest port in the country. It is also one of the major centres of tourism because of the city's warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches. Durban forms part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, which includes neighboring towns and has a population of about 3.44 million, making the combined municipality one of the biggest cities on the Indian Ocean coast of the African continent. It is also the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg. In May 2015, Durban was officially recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities, Durban was one of the host cities for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Sprawling along the coast, Durban is overlooked to the south by the Bluff (hills separating the landlocked bay from the sea) and stretches across the Umgeni River to the heights of Durban North. Its civic and business centre is on flat land, rising gently to the slopes of the white residential district of the Berea, a ridge of hills encircling the harbour and beach. Durban’s numerous parks include the Botanic Gardens with its orchid house, Jameson Park and its rose gardens, and Snake Park with its collection of poisonous reptiles.
The city is home to the University of KwaZulu-Natal, formed in 2004 through the merger of the University of Durban-Westville (founded 1961), originally for Indian students (although non-Indians were admitted from 1979), and the University of Natal (founded 1910). There are several museums and black and Indian markets. Cultural and sporting events are held in Moses Mabhida Stadium, part of the larger King’s Park Sporting Precinct, a commercial, retail, and leisure district.
Where is Durban
Durban is located on the east coast of South Africa, looking out upon the Indian Ocean. The city lies at the mouth of the Umgeni River, which demarcates parts of Durban's north city limit, while other sections of the river flow through the city itself. Durban has a natural harbour, Durban Harbour, which is the busiest port in South Africa and is the 4th-busiest in the Southern Hemisphere.
History of Durban
Archaeological evidence from the Drakensberg mountains suggests that the Durban area has been inhabited by communities of hunter-gatherers since 100,000 BC. These people lived throughout the area of present-day KwaZulu-Natal until the expansion of Bantu farmers and pastoralists from the north saw their gradual displacement, incorporation or extermination. Little is known of the history of the first residents, as there is no written history of the area until it was sighted by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who sailed parallel to the KwaZulu-Natal coast at Christmastide in 1497 while searching for a route from Europe to India. He named the area "Natal", or Christmas in Portuguese.
In 1686 a ship from the Dutch East India Company named 'Stavenisse' wrecked off the eastern coast of South Africa. Some of the survivors made their way to the Bay of Natal (Durban) where they were taken in by Abambo tribe under leadership of Chief Langalibale. The crew became fluent in the language of the tribe and witnessed their customs. They told that the land where the Abambo people lived was called Embo by the natives and that the people were very hospitable.
On the 28th of October 1689 the galiot 'Noord' traveled from Table Bay to the Bay of Natal for the purpose to fetch the survivors of the crew and to negotiate a deal to purchase the bay. The Noord arrived on the 9th of December 1689 where after the Dutch Cape Colony purchased the Bay of Natal from the Abambo people for 1650£. A formal contract was drawn up by Laurens van Swaanswyk and signed by the Chief of the Abambo people, the crew of the Stavenisse acted as translators.
First European settlers
In 1822 Lieutenant James King, captain of the ship Salisbury, together with Lt. Francis George Farewell, both ex-Royal Navy officers from the Napoleonic Wars, were engaged in trade between the Cape and Delagoa Bay. On a return trip to the Cape in 1823, they were caught in a very bad storm and decided to risk the Bar and anchor in the Bay of Natal. The crossing went off well and they found safe anchor from the storm. Lt. King decided to map the Bay and named the "Salisbury and Farewell Islands".
In 1824 Lt. Farewell, together with a trading company called J. R. Thompson & Co., decided to open trade relations with Shaka the Zulu King and establish a trading station at the Bay. Henry Francis Fynn, another trader at Delagoa Bay, was also involved in this venture. Fynn left Delagoa Bay and sailed for the Bay of Natal on the brig Julia, while Farewell followed six weeks later on the Antelope. Between them they had 26 possible settlers, but only 18 stayed.
On a visit to King Shaka, Henry Francis Fynn was able to befriend the King by helping him recover from a stab wound suffered as a result of an assassination attempt by one of his half-brothers. As a token of Shaka's gratitude, he granted Fynn a “25-mile strip of coast a hundred miles in depth.” On 7 August 1824 they concluded negotiations with King Shaka for a cession of land, including the Bay of Natal and land extending ten miles south of the Bay, twenty-five miles north of the Bay and one hundred miles inland.
Farewell took possession of this grant and raised the Union Jack with a Royal Salute, which consisted of 4 cannon shots and twenty musket shots. Of the original 18 would-be settlers, only 6 remained, and they can be regarded as the founding members of Port Natal as a British colony. These 6 were joined by Lt. James Saunders King and Nathaniel Isaacs in 1825.
Things to Do in Durban
The enchanting coastal city of Durban is a popular tourist destination in South Africa, where visitors can enjoy all sorts of fun activities for the entire family. Whether you chose to go swimming or visit a museum, there is never a dull moment on the KwaZulu-Natal coast – here’s our pick of the most exciting activities and sights in Durban.
Visit Golden Mile Beachfront
The Golden Mile beachfront is a famous destination for joggers, surfers, sunbathers, bikers, water sports enthusiasts and for those in the mood for a relaxed stroll. The popular ‘mile’ is actually a 4-mile (6.5km) stretch that extends from Blue Lagoon South to Addington Beach and Durban Harbor. The name stems from the golden sand beaches along the coastal edge of the city. There is a wide pavement that makes it easy to walk, jog or bike the route. Or you could join the many surfers, kite boarders and sandcastle architects and soak up the warm sun.
Tour uShaka Marine World
A trip to Durban is incomplete without spending a day at the 40-acre uShaka Marine World theme park. The park has four sections, the highlight of which is uShaka Sea World. It is the fifth-largest aquarium in the world, designed around five shipwrecks where you can go scuba diving and participate in other fun activities. uShaka Wet ‘n Wild features the highest water slide in the southern hemisphere. uShaka Beach is a sandy beach with a large pier that goes out into the ocean, and finally, uShaka Village Walk simulates an African village with restaurants, cafés and other shops.
Enjoy Durban Botanical Gardens
Durban Botanical Gardens was established in 1849 by Dr Charles Johnston on the edge of the Berea Ridge. The 37-acre property is Durban’s oldest public institution and Africa’s oldest surviving botanical garden. It is a place of interest because of its many living fossil plants. These pre-dinosaur cycads (seed-producing plants extending back 250 million years) face possible extinction in the wild. A visit to Durban Botanical Gardens provides a rare opportunity to see these ancient plants up close.
Walk the Beach
With its subtropical climate and more than 300 days of sunshine every year, spending a day at the beach is possible almost every day in Durban. If you consider yourself a decent surfer, you might want to try the South Coast for world-class surfing. Addington Beach is the preferred choice if you are planning a fun day on the beach for the entire family. Bay of Plenty is the destination for volleyball tournaments. The Golden Mile beaches are conveniently located closest to Durban’s city center (which is probably why they are so popular), and if these options aren’t enough, you could also try Umhlanga Coast.
Tour KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Boat Tour
Shark attacks in Durban are extremely rare because the beaches along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline are the only ones in South Africa protected by shark safety gear. While in Durban, why not stop by Umhlanga and join the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board crew for a boat tour on an early morning? Enjoy watching the safety system at play and learn about sharks, and you may even get to see dolphins, turtles and rays.
View the Umhlanga Lighthouse from Lighthouse Bar
The red-and-white candy-striped lighthouse in Umhlanga is always a glowing fascination to visitors. Why not view the splendid structure while sipping a refreshing cocktail? Located on the premises of The Oyster Box hotel, Lighthouse Bar is a colourful establishment with a fantastic view of the Umhlanga Lighthouse and the beach. Don’t miss a beautiful sunset evening with live music in the background at this romantic rendezvous spot. Try their signature drink, the Umhlanga Schling, made with ingredients unique to Durban such as cane sugar and cane spirit.
Follow Inanda Heritage Trail
The Inanda Heritage Trail forms part of the Freedom Route, which recognizes important historical areas in the KwaZulu-Natal province. The trail begins at the Inanda Township, home to the Ohlange Institute, where in 1994 Nelson Mandela voted in South Africa’s first democratic elections. The Inanda Heritage Trail encompasses key historic sites that have been pivotal to the shaping of South Africa as it is today. Some of these sites include Gandhi’s Phoenix Settlement, where Mahatma Gandhi nurtured his passive-resistance philosophy, and the Inanda Seminary, one of South Africa’s oldest schools for girls, founded by American missionaries in 1869.
Dine at The Cargo Hold
If you choose to visit uShaka Marine World, be sure to book in for lunch or dinner at The Cargo Hold, located on board the infamous Phantom Ship, where guests can dine in fine style surrounded by the deep blue in one of Durban’s most remarkable settings. Enjoy some of the spiciest, fruitiest and most exotic flavors procured from the freshest produce in KwaZulu-Natal, and sample expertly prepared meals while witnessing the beautiful ocean view and the sharks swimming in the tank. Try the grilled crayfish or langoustines, a mouthwatering dish prepared with herbs, spices, lemon and olive oil.
Go to Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World
Located at the northern end of the Golden Mile, Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World is a complex that houses cinemas, many restaurants, a beach bar, its own semi-private beach and, of course, a casino. If you visit during the months from September to January you will see many recreational cyclists who use the casino grounds as a base for their training rides up the North Coast. The casino offers both smoking and non-smoking areas where you can test out your luck in a comfortable environment.
Swing into Moses Mabhida Stadium
One of the host stadiums for the 2010 World Cup, this multipurpose sporting arena has evolved into a venue for a variety of surprising activities. A particular highlight, if you’re feeling brave, is the appropriately named Big Rush Big Swing, where you can strap yourself in and dive 80m (263ft) to experience the world’s biggest swing
|Languages spoken||Xosa, Zulu, Afrikaans, English|
|Currency used||South African Rand (ZAR)|
|Area (km2)||2,292 km²|
|Country name||South Africa|