Positioned on the shores of the Indian Ocean and well known for its stunning scenery, historical sights and abundance of nature reserves, there’s plenty to explore in KwaZulu-Natal outside of Durban. Guests of The Oyster Box Hotel have ample opportunity to explore the surrounding region, with areas of extraordinary natural beauty and points of interest all within comfortable distance. Here’s our pick of six of the best day trips from Durban.
Valley of a Thousand Hills
Worth visiting for its intriguing and dramatic name alone, the Valley of a 1000 Hills is just 30 minutes’ drive from central Durban. So called due to the many hills that rise up from the Umgeni river that runs all the way from the Drakensberg Mountains to the Indian Ocean, the area is known for its magnificent landscape. In addition to spectacular scenery, the Valley of 1000 Hills is also known for its wide range of activities which makes it an ideal day trip from Durban. Choose from outdoor spots such as hiking, horse riding and golf to a trip to the Tala Game Reserve and a Zulu cultural experience.
A selection of suggested routes that are a one-hour drive from Durban, the Midlands Meander combines beautiful surroundings with historic landmarks, plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities and the chance to shop for local crafts. The Butterfly Artists & Crafters route makes an ideal day trip from Durban as it’s an enjoyable way to visit local communities and pick up some wonderful souvenirs, from handmade canvas bags to leather goods, cheese and even hand-dyed hammocks.
Umhlanga Lagoon and Ponds
Located close to the hotel, the Umhlanga Ponds prove that in Durban visitors needn’t travel far to enjoy unspoilt natural surroundings and fantastic wildlife. The Umhlanga Ponds are part of the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve and they provide a haven for wetland species. Wander through this coastal dune forest and expect plenty of bird sightings – around 215 species are believed to live in this area. Then, enjoy a picnic at the purpose-built area by the lagoon.
Beachwood Mangroves Nature ReserveA surprising find in the very heart of the city, the Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve is home to 76 hectares of protected land and mangrove swamp forest. A thriving habitat for flora and fauna, visitors will get up close to birdlife such as the Mangrove Kingfisher and Curlews as well as intriguing creatures like mud skippers, fiddler crabs and waders.
The South Coast – Aliwal Shoal & Margate
Thanks to its superb wreck diving opportunities as well shark cage diving the South Coast is a popular day trip for visitors from Durban for very good reason. Here you’ll find Aliwal Shoal, located 5 kilometres off the coast, it’s viewed by many experts as one of the world’s best diving spots thanks to its combination of outstanding marine life and wrecks. With comfortably warm waters all year round, divers flock here to get up close to ragged tooth sharks, turtles and dazzling coral fish. Located further down the coast, Margate is a charming seaside town that’s also worth a visit on account of its flawless beaches, art galleries and craft shops.
Explore Durban and KwaZulu-Natal from The Oyster Box Hotel.
Image Credits: Lead image © iStock/ChrisVanLennepPhoto. Valley of a Thousand Hills © iStock/volschenkh.Zulu woman © iStock/ManoAfrica. Beachwood Mangrove Swamps © iStock/wildacad.