Durban’s Golden Mile
Durban and its surrounding areas have hundreds of neighborhoods, townships, villages, suburbs, and beaches. The population is about 3.5 million. Yesterday, I joined a city tour of Durban’s more notable attractions. It was difficult taking photos in a bumpy moving vehicle – maybe after 8 months of travel, I’m becoming a bit weary…
Durban City Center
Central Durban has interesting museums, monuments, markets, galleries, and theaters. Political and historical sites provide detail about Zulu ancestry and the apartheid era. My favorite building, City Hall, is a magnificent Edwardian neo-baroque structure!
Moses Mabhida Stadium from Morningside
“The most prominent part of Durban is called The Golden Mile, a stretch of beach where sunbathers, surfers, and bodybuilders gather.”
Beaches, Beaches, Beaches…
Durban is one looooong beach, not to mention those in nearby Ballito and the Dolphin Coast. a playground for bottlenose dolphins. These are a few of the most popular beaches along the Golden Mile:
These beaches are popular surfing locations overlooking Durban Harbor:
Old West Street Cemetery
Neighborhoods, Districts, Townships, Suburbs
The Durban City Tour begins at North Beach along The Golden Mile and proceeds through some of Durban’s close-in districts:
Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse
Today, some of Durban’s most popular “in places” include:
Station Drive Precinct, once a “no go” neighborhood near city center, transformed into a “hip” area where “light industrial meets residential”. There are craft breweries, restaurants, clothing designers, and a popular Sunday Trade Market.
Busy Durban Shipyards
Station Drive’s “collaborative-style work spaces” are becoming popular in Durban. The Foundry includes a renovated clothing factory which is “a creative hub consisting of floors of workshops, studios, and offices”.
Station Drive Project
Rivertown District, an “inner-city revival project, reignited neglected spaces in the central business district”. A former warehouse, 8 Morrison Street, now has innovative “office pods” with flexible workspaces.
It’s a hub for business startups, entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, and photographers. The district hosts a monthly food and craft market. Rivertown Shed and Beerhall is a popular venue for bands, openings, conferences, and creative competitions.
Morningside is one of my favorite neighborhoods. It’s near the beaches and known for “hip” Florida Road. The street has fabulous restored Victorian and Edwardian buildings and an eclectic variety of restaurants, pubs, coffee houses, art galleries, and shops.
Morningside is also home to The African Art Centre and Burman Bush Nature Reserve, 136 acres of indigenous forest along the Umgeni River. Other trail walking areas and nature reserves near Umgeni include:
“Since the 2010 World Cup, areas in and around Durban central have undergone significant urban regeneration.”
North Beach is a popular area with “its own atmosphere, including the smells of sea salt, tikka cooking at Pakistani restaurants, and pineapples from vendors along the ocean”. There are shops and restaurants, a skate park, and a seaside promenade running from Moses Mabhida Stadium to UShaka Marine World.
Glenwood is a pretty, “quietly cool” suburb overlooking Durban harbor. It’s known for famous eating spots like the Glenwood Bakery, art galleries, and “graffiti so cool the area has its own curated graffiti tours”.
Glenwood Bed and Breakfast
Umhlanga Rocks is the “upmarket” part of Durban. It’s a holiday village filled with pricey hotels, a beach promenade, lighthouse, and a mix of Durban’s best restaurants.
Durban Manor House
Townships are the “cultural soul” of South Africa. Durban’s largest townships include Umlazi, Inanda, and KwaMashu. KwaMashu is known for its “lively performing arts scene – Maskandi, hip hop, pansula dancing, drama, and football (soccer)”. The township has a community radio station and eKhaya Multi Arts Centre for Arts and Performance.
Inanda is known as the home of John Langalibalele Dube, first president of the African National Congress (ANC), a residence/base for Mahatma Gandhi’s operations, and birthplace of the syncretic Nazareth Baptist Church.
Seychelles Mahé Island
I leave Durban December 1 for the Seychelles but will be back again in January 2018. Although I’ve spent almost a month here, it seems like I’ve barely scratched the surface. There’s much more to learn about the area. It takes time to understand a new place – at least it does for me. The tropical climate and weather have been volatile but never boring – steaming hot one day and cool and stormy with wild skies, thunder and lightning the next. I’ll have refined my “must see” list when I return in January and am looking forward to more exploration.