Having reinvented itself from the toughest to the trendiest end of town in the past few years, the gentrification of Station Drive in Durban is complete. Now a lively hub of quirky boutiques, independent coffee shops, small craft breweries and artisan street-food stalls, it’s the city’s hipster highlight. A 15-minute drive south along the coast from The Oyster Box, the precinct offers an entertaining break from the beach. Here are the highlights not to miss on Durban’s Station Drive.
The caffeine fix
Early risers should head to Parkside, a cute pavement café in the heart of the Station Drive precinct, for a hefty shot of local brand Colombo coffee to wash down a breakfast boerie roll. But for the best cortado in town, Khuluma is the local favourite. This friendly coffee shop concocts ingenious daily multi-origin blends, such as Sidamo with Mandheling, which are delicious accompaniments to the homemade cakes. Try the banana bread—it comes fresh from the oven with a strong hit of espresso butter.
The street food
The Morning Trade is Station Drive’s celebrated Sunday farmers’ market. The locals don’t just flock here for the fresh organic produce, though. Here’s where to source Durban’s most innovative artisanal bakers and delicatessens. Stock up on expertly seasoned cured game meat at Timmy’s Moist Biltong, while Divine Simplicity’s cinnamon-sprinkled Coconut Custard Cake is a vegan take on the classic Afrikaans milk tart.
Elsewhere, Momenti Artisan Gelato is open week round. Here, exotic flavours such as liquorice and pineapple coconut sorbet are served in crisp hand-rolled cones. If you’re lucky enough to be in Durban on the first Thursday of the month, Station Drive bursts to life from 6pm with meaty braais, buzzing street-food stalls, local musicians and late-night shopping.
Vintage magpies and antiques enthusiasts will appreciate Station Drive’s flock of off-beat olde-worlde boutiques. Start foraging in 6 Station at The Vintager, where a classic Ford pick-up shares the floor with pre-loved clothing, beautiful faded black and white photography and intriguing well-worn paraphernalia. Duck into the African Art Centre to stock up on local souvenirs. It’s a colourful trove of Zulu beadwork, woven baskets, hand-shaped ceramics and local embroidered textiles—plenty to fill a suitcase. If you’re in need of refreshment, follow your nose to Savior Brand Co., which sells locally hand-crafted, beautiful leather satchels alongside exceedingly good coffee.
Surfing the crest of South Africa’s gin revival is bijou craft distiller, Distillery 031. The multi-award winner has an innovative range of witty botanical-infused drinks to choose from. Try the D’Urban Scarlet Gin, a smooth coffee berry-infused spirit that more than lives up to its hype. For an easy, down-to-earth drink that’s in line with South Africa’s favourite tipple, little beats Station 43’s home-brewed craft beers. From its ales and stouts, the perennial favourite is That Blonde Ale—crisp, light and served ice-cold.
For a break from the beach at Red Carnation Hotels’ The Oyster Box, allow our concierge to arrange your excursion to Durban’s Station Drive.