You're going to Durban (South Africa) for a week!
Durban, a city on the East Coast of South Africa, is an underrated gem that often lives in the shadow of the Mother City, Cape Town. It's time to move the spotlight on to Durban as it is most definitely ‘a vibe’ (as the locals would say). So here is what a week in Durban might look like; It's Monday morning and the blues won't be catching up with you because chances are, the sky is blue and the Umhlanga Promenade is calling your name! Stretch your legs, burn some energy and embrace the 5km run/walk. Stop for an ocean side refreshment. Soak up the salty air and get some sand between your toes if you haven't already kicked off your *takkies and slops and bolted for a dip in the warm Indian Ocean!
All that activity has you ready for a snack so it's a good thing Tree Natural is just up the hill! Tucked away in Umhlanga Village is an incredible wellness concept store which combines yoga with yummy smoothies, juices and of course, coffee! Also, if you're a yogi you'll definitely want to pop into the studio and join in on a class!
Some of you might be getting a little worried as this first day of holiday has been incredibly healthy and well... you're on holiday right? If I said, GOURMET MILKSHAKE, does that excite you? It should because it doesn't get much better than a Horlicks, honey & banana milkshakes! Sage Café is in Salt Rock which is on the North Coast, about a 40 minute drive North of Durban City but so worth it. The freshest and tastiest ingredients make up their big menu and a lovely atmosphere makes me give this spot a 10 every time I go! Once you're done at Sage, explore the Salt Rock area, go past Thompson's Bay or head back down and check out Ballito which is a rapidly growing beach town filled with many exciting things to do!
It's Tuesday you're stoked because hey, you're in AFRICA! Grab your swimming gear and some sunscreen, it's time to embrace The Golden Mile. It's a surfer's haven and paradise for any beach bum! Picture numerous beaches separated by piers, palm trees and good looking people everywhere. Yes, I typed right, *saffas are hot! (I'm not being biased as a South African myself. Ha! Jokes) Golden Mile related things to do:
- Hire a bike and ride the flat promenade all the way to the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
- Hire a surfboard and ride the gnarly warm waves.
- Eat at Surf Riders Food Shack. (If this is the only thing you do all day, that's also alright as their cheesy rosemary chips are on another level entirely!)
- Go to uShaka Marine World, a water theme park that entertains both young and old. Sea World is full of amazing sea creatures for you to see, Wet 'n Wild is exactly that, some of the best water rides in the world! And if you're hardcore, you can even try cage dive with some sharks!
Now the sun is probably starting to go down which means it's time for cocktails at Moyo on the end of the pier. Who wouldn't want to watch the sunset over the Durban skyline, Daiquiri in hand? Congratulations, you've successfully had another great day in Durban!
Wednesday morning and you're up with the sparrows because it's time to hit the road and find some game. It wouldn't be an Africa trip if you didn't see a wild animal. I would recommend staying a night or two, but it's also alright to go to a Game Reserve just for the day. KwaZulu-Natal has so many different parks to choose from! Click here for the map! If you're driving from Durban for the day, I'd recommend Hluhluwe Umfolozi. (And rumour has it you might find a Prince Harry lurking at the Hilltop Camp! Must be one of his favourite spots too!)
The day is coming to an end, you've seen at least 4 of the BIG 5 and now it's time to rush back for Karaoke at Connors. A classic Irish Pub in Durban North, filled to the brim with tone-deaf people singing and dancing with cheap cocktails in hand. It is an unforgettable night.
Good Morning Sunshines, it's another beautiful day in Africa! Yesterday was a busy one so this Thursday morning will be dedicated to coffee and cake! Fuel yourself with great variety of cool cafés! A good friend of mine (a local Durban lady) runs the blog Coffey And Cake which is where you'll find all the information you may ever need about your Durban Café experience. (Personal favourites: Factory Café and Corner Café, find them!) If you're looking to keep the day at a slow pace, grab some takeaway sushi from Bamboo for amazing prices, then drive yourself to the beach and find a chilled spot to enjoy your food with a view, another fine Durban quality. If you're the energizer bunny or hate sushi, then I'd HIGHLY recommend trying one of the best burgers South Africa has to offer. RepubliK is FOR THE PEOPLE. Everything is delicious, beers are on tap and the vibe is real. And the chances of you spotting some of Durban's coolest people is pretty high too as it seems to attract beards and Nikes. Once you're done head upstairs to BrewHaus for craft liquor and complimentary popcorn (YUM!).
FRIDAY FRIDAY gotta get roadtrippin' on FRIDAY! Today we are headed away from the ocean and going to explore the Midlands! Fill your car journey with local talent's sound and a Gangs Of Ballet album. First stop is The Nelson Mandela Capture Site, a must for any visitor to Durban! Not only was *Madiba South Africa's number one hero but he's also a legend that deserves to be mentioned at any given opportunity! Next up is the best food, coffee and cake all found in one stop, The Farmer's Daughter. After that grab a Midlands Meander map and explore as much as your heart desires or at least until the late afternoon as you've got dinner plans!
Friday night in Durban. The best night. Your dinner reservations are at Old Town Italy, a new and very 'happening' authentic Italian restaurant, which is why making reservations is vital! Durbanites are renowned for pounce all over anything that is new and shiny so you'll get the full feel for a Durban night in this spot. Once you've finished with food I recommend moving the party to the Umhlanga Village and finding a jazzy little spot called The Dutch that provides you with old school live music and a selection of great drinks! The rest of the village has a few great spots to eat and drink at too! Important side note: If driving between dinner and drinks is a problem I'd recommend Remo's Villaggio (also delicious Italian) and it’s right next door to The Dutch. Ps. If you'd rather be at a club, "Tiger Fridays" is apparently a thing, look it up!
After last night's fun, how about a slow starting Saturday morning? It's the first Saturday of the month which means iHeart Market! It's where local foodies and designers get to showcase and sell their amazing goodies, it is at the Moses Mabhida stadium, another major Durban attraction! The best part is that there's a "big swing" which I not only highly recommend (excuse the pun) but it's in the guinness world record for tallest swing! B!G RUSH is definitely going to be the highlight of your Durban week!
Now it's time to relax a bit before you head to Florida Road for your evening entertainment! A lively street that is filled with endless, food, drink and dance opportunities to satisfy your Saturday night fever! Start your night off with dinner at Spiga D'ora, then make your way across the street for a few drinks at Dropkick Murphy's. What a treat of an evening! Durban locals everywhere shouting "JA KIFF LEKKER BRU" giving you a full saffa experience.
If you're up for some live music and your taste sways more towards the rock, I'd say get yourself to Amsterdam on 143 Helen Joseph Road. And if you're up for a late night boogie there's always something going on at Origin. I'll warn you though, multiple rooms, many DJs and never any Taylor Swift or One Direction playing. Some Durbanites might say it's "pretty hardcore".
Wheeey! SUNDAY FUNDAY! How you doing? Feeling fresh? Tired? It's been a pretty long week! Sundays are the best rest days and chances are everyone in Durban is on the beach! Make today about doing something you forgot to do during the week, or loved so much that you want to do again! There's always Gateway Theatre of Shopping, a big shopping mall if you wanted to make the most of the weak exchange rate and grab a few gifts before you leave! If you're looking for some Sunday night entertainment, Taco Zulu on Florida Road will be full of atmosphere!
Sidenote: If you're usually a church go-er when you're not on holiday and you'd be interested in seeing how South Africans ‘do church’, I'd say Grace Family Church is where you need to be! They pride themselves on "Come As You Are" and love visitors! Services are fun and relevant to so many ages groups, but most importantly, they have a killer coffee machine & baristas for before or after the many services they have on a Sunday!
And that's that! I hope you've all had a great week in Durban, remember this was just a rough guide and if you're actually going you can mix and match these days up or just pick out the stuff you're more interested in doing. Spending everyday on the beach surfing and eating cheesy chips is also completely acceptable! Here's another post, The Durban List with less garnish and just the cold facts!
*takkies - your trainers, nikes, running shoes, etc. *slops - flip flops *Madiba - Mandela's clan name Madiba. "The term is used as a sign of respect and affection."
May you never lose your wander, Ash xxx