Encompassing both the Golden Mile that stretches the length of the city, and the Dolphin Coast that goes as far north as Umdloti Beach, Durban’s coastline is dotted with secluded bays and sun-dappled coves. While staying at The Oyster Box luxury hotel, follow our guide to the best beaches in Durban from the north to the southern shores.
Situated on the Dolphin Coast, it comes as no surprise that dolphins are known to swim close to the shore here. Not only this, but from July to November whales also make an appearance, throughout the coastline’s whale watching season. Even without these spectacles of nature though, the long stretch of sand, rock pools and warm water make Umdloti beach one of the most family-friendly options.
South of Umdloti is the equally as enticing beach Umhlanga Rocks, which also has ample opportunities for dolphin and whale watching. But other ocean activities abound too, such as surfing, scuba diving and kite boarding, with cafes, restaurants and bars lining much of the shore. It’s also from these golden shores that The Oyster Box overlooks the Indian Ocean.
Encompassed with Durban’s Golden Mile, North Beach lives up to the name with its golden shores that are lapped by warm waves, enticing people into the water to surf, body-board, and kite-surf. As the sun sets, take a stroll along the promenade and soak up the views.
Also known as New Pier, this is one of Durban’s most renowned beaches for its surf, with exceptional breaks created by the beach’s exposure. In fact, this is the very spot where the Mr Price Pro Surf competitions take place. This doesn’t mean the water is exclusively for surfers though; many people swim here, too.
In its protected location near Durban’s harbour, Addington Beach is ideal for families who want calmer waters to swim in, smaller waves for beginner surfers and the added assurance of lifeguards. It’s also less crowded than other beaches on the Golden Mile, making it a more relaxing location all-round.
Cave Rock at Brighton Beach is regarded by many as South Africa’s best surf beach due to its reef and underwater channel, drawing keen surfers in from worldwide. While these waters might not be so suitable for the less accomplished surfer, it’s a dramatic spot to take a walk along, and at low tide the shore’s many rock pools are revealed.
With shark-nets and lifeguards, South beach is another popular haunt for both locals and visitors, especially for anyone learning to surf. Plus, with restaurants and bars lining its palm-fringed seafront, South Beach is a good choice for those looking to explore the local cuisine.
Back at The Oyster Box, make the most of the hotel’s beachfront setting by dining out on the atmospheric Ocean Terrace. With Champagne to sip and oysters to shuck, there couldn’t be a better way to end a day by the sea.
Image credits: Cover photo © Red Carnation Hotels. Ocean Pier Jetty © iStock / Chris Van Lennep Photo. North Beach © iStock / wildacad. The shores overlooked by The Oyster Box © Red Carnation Hotels. Durban after dark © iStock / wildacad.