Durban is South Africa's third largest city and known as one of the country's best seaside escapes, with lively nightlife and an emerging café, shopping and cultural scene, surrounded by the wildlife-rich game reserves of KwaZulu-Natal. The sedate suburbs of Greyville, Morningside and Berea are favoured for their upmarket accommodation options, shopping malls, museums, galleries and stylish eateries and bars – all popular with those in Durban high society.
Durban's beachfront is a major draw for visitors. The top beaches for families are North Beach and South Beach and also the protected Addington Beach. Exposed Anstey's Beach gets the biggest swells and is the best for strong swimmers, while Umhlanga Rocks Main Beach is a luxury hotel and apartment-lined stretch of beach just outside Durban. Kosi Bay, Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay offer some of the most pristine sand and diving in the world.
The province of KwaZulu-Natal is among South Africa's most dramatic and, at just a few hours from the city centre, a visit to Durban affords access to some of the country's best private game reserves. Spread over 23,000 hectares of Big-Five wilderness, the boundless plains offer chances to spot elusive suni antelope, track rhino in the bushveld, observe breeding herds of elephants and see cheetahs teach their cubs how to hunt.
The popular beachfront stretch is called the ‘Golden Mile'. The nearby Victoria Street Market is known for its large range of African and Indian products, especially the barrels of fragrant spices and incense. Ushaka Marine World, one of the largest aquariums in the world, has a water park, shark exhibit, seal and dolphin stadium and regular aquatic displays. Away from the beach, Durban is also home to Africa's oldest botanical gardens.
Sprawling Durban comes alive after dark with a buzzing nightlife of pubs, clubs, casinos, theatres and restaurants. The laid back beachside cocktail bars are always popular, especially in Greyville, while another twilight highlight is Wilson's Wharf. The views from the wharf's wooden decks look out over Durban's Natal Royal Yacht Club and the harbour.