Voted the South African city with the best quality of life for several years running, Durban has a winning combination of ingredients for an unforgettable stay. A vibrant city on the shores of the Indian Ocean, it combines idyllic beaches and sweeping natural landscapes with a thriving gastronomic scene and refreshing creative spirit. It’s also home to one of South Africa’s most treasured hotels, The Oyster Box. With British Airways’ new direct route from London, it has never been easier to discover why Durban is South Africa’s must-visit destination.
Home to what’s known as the Golden Mile, Durban is blessed with swathes of soft sandy shores that appeal to surfers and swimmers alike. This balmy coastal expanse is in fact four miles rather than one, and it’s easy to mark out a quiet spot here to stretch out in the sun.
There’s also plenty to see off shore. If you’re fortunate enough to visit during June and July or September and October, you are likely to catch a glimpse of the humpback whales and southern right whales on their migratory route. Year round, visitors can witness dolphins diving through the waves near Umhlanga Rocks. The Sardine Run, when shoals of pilchards migrate from the southernmost point of Africa to the warmer waters off Durban’s coast between May and July, is a huge highlight for wildlife lovers too.
A must-see when you visit Durban, the Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve is an extraordinary 76 hectare haven of flora and fauna. Take a stroll along the boardwalk to appreciate the unspoilt beauty of this picturesque habitat and its wildlife, which includes vivid mangrove kingfishers as well as fiddler crabs and mudskippers.
Further afield but well worth the journey is the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first Natural World Heritage Site. Spanning an impressive 328,000 hectares, the park has a staggering variety of natural environments, from coral reefs to salt marshes and dense woodland, with plenty of head-turning inhabitants such as hippopotamus, crocodiles and elephants.
A gourmand’s paradise
Durban’s melting pot of cultures makes for an exciting and ever-evolving gastronomic landscape. Home to the largest Indian diaspora outside of India, it’s little wonder that the city is renowned for its fantastic curries. Be sure to sample Kevin Joseph’s legendary Curry Buffet at The Oyster Box when you visit Durban. It includes a feast of at least a dozen tantalising spiced dishes served with all the traditional accompaniments.
Durban is enjoying a growing reputation on account of its craft distilleries, including Distillery 031, named after the dialling code for Durban. The company produces a Durban gin as well as vodka made from sugarcane grown in KwaZulu Natal and the Brazilian spirit Cachaça, proclaimed to be the first of its kind in Africa.
Culture and creativity
Once rarely visited, the Station Drive precinct has now marked itself as Durban’s coolest creative centre. Bristling with independent boutiques, cafés, workshops and distilleries, Station Drive is a hive of entrepreneurial activity and pop-up culture. The Sunday morning market, which showcases a vibrant spread of seasonal produce alongside local crafts, is a must visit when in Durban.
Make the most of the new direct London-Durban route with The Oyster Box’s Get More With British Airways package until 14th December 2018.