Seaside Fun in Durban, South Africa

Seaside Fun in Durban, South Africa

Bold flavors, posh hotels and panoramic views make Durban a priority when visiting South Africa By: Megan Leader
<p>The Golden Mile is an ideal destination for surfing, sunning and fishing. // © 2015 Megan Leader</p><p>Feature image (above): Durban is one of...

The Golden Mile is an ideal destination for surfing, sunning and fishing. // © 2015 Megan Leader

Feature image (above): Durban is one of South Africa’s most populated cities. // © 2015 Thinkstock

How to Get There

South African Airways offers service to Durban from Los Angeles (LAX) via New York City (JFK) or Washington, D.C. (IAD) and Johannesburg (JNB).

In eclectic Durban, worlds collide: It’s a sunny surfer’s paradise with the largest Indian population outside of India, and the area is rich in Zulu heritage. Art, history and flavor abound in the city, but some of Durban’s best offerings are centered around one of its greatest natural assets — its beautiful coastline.

You’ll find several eateries serving tasty beach fare along Durban’s seaside promenade, but Moyo features a winning combination of stellar views, live local bands and a variety of classic African dishes. Perched above the Indian Ocean in the uShaka Marine World complex, Moyo serves up delicious food along with a stunning view of the Durban coast and skyline — go just before sunset to see The Golden Mile bathed in warm evening light.

For dinner, sample dishes such as ostrich nachos, fried mopane worms or lamb bunny chow. (No bunnies are harmed in the making of bunny chow: It’s a Durban classic, composed of curry served in a hollowed-out hunk of white bread.)

For breakfast or lunch, walk over to Moyo’s pier venue, Moyo Ushaka, which offers a light cafe-style menu and — you guessed it — ocean views.

Located just north of Durban on the Umhlanga beachfront, The Oyster Box is the epitome of South African elegance and hospitality. Known for its iconic lighthouse (the original property served as a navigational beacon in the 1800s), the hotel features exquisite colonial decor and personalized service. Rooms are beautifully appointed, and the award-winning on-site spa is the perfect remedy for jet lag.

Don’t miss the renowned Curry Buffet in The Ocean Terrace on-site restaurant, where you can try 11 or more types of curries daily, plus freshly baked naan, savory chutneys and zesty garnishes. Top it off with the brownie and popcorn ice cream — you won’t regret it.

Durban’s easygoing personality is most evident along The Golden Mile, the sandy stretch of beach that runs from uShaka Marine World to Moses Mabhida Stadium. Travelers flock to Durban’s beaches during the summer months (October to February), but the city’s mild subtropical climate makes an off-season visit even more enjoyable.

On a weekday afternoon in fall, nothing beats a quiet stroll on the soft, golden sand — you’ll have the entire beach to yourself, save for a few fishermen, surfers and young families soaking up the sun and the sea breeze. Bike the promenade, shop for handicrafts from local artists or take a ride on a colorful Zulu rickshaw. If you have just one afternoon in Durban, it will be well-spent here.