Durban Neighborhoods, Townships, Beaches

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

City Hall

City Hall

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.”


Dolphin Coast

Beaches, Beaches, Beaches…

Durban is one looooong beach, not to mention those in nearby Ballito on the Dolphin Coast, a playground for bottlenose dolphins. These are a few of the most popular beaches along the Golden Mile:

Durban Skyline

These beaches are popular surfing, body boarding, and kite surfing locations near the bluff overlooking Durban Harbor:

West Street Cemetery

Neighborhoods, Townships, Suburbs

The Durban City Tour began at the beach along The Golden Mile and proceeded through some of Durban’s major areas:

Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse

Today, some of Durban’s most popular “places to be” include:

Station Drive Precinct – once a “no go” neighborhood near city centre – was transformed into a “hip” area where “light industrial meets residential”.

Durban Cityscape

There are craft breweries, restaurants, and clothing designers. Morning Trade Market is held every Sunday. Station Drive “collaborative-style work spaces” are becoming popular all over Durban. The Foundry includes a renovated clothing factory which is “a creative hub with floors of workshops, studios, and offices”.

Station Drive Mural

Station Drive Mural

Rivertown District, an “inner-city revival project, reignited neglected spaces in the central business district”. Formerly a warehouse, 8 Morrison Street has innovative “office pods” with flexible workspaces. It’s a creative hub for 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.

Rivertown Mural

Morningside is one of my favorite neighborhoods. It’s near the beaches and known for “hip” Florida Road. This leafy street has restored Victorian and Edwardian buildings, and a variety of restaurants, pubs, coffee houses, art galleries, and shops.

Morningside is also home to The African Art Centre and Burman Bush Nature Reserve. Burman Bush is 136 acres of indigenous forest along the Umgeni River. It’s a great place to explore the local flora and fauna. Another nature reserve near the Umgeni River is the La Lucia and Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve, an excellent place for trail walking. Virginia Bush Nature Reserve and Giba Gorge are also on my hiking list.

Morningside Architecture


“Since the 2010 World Cup, areas in and around Durban central have undergone significant urban regeneration.”


Juma Masjid Mosque

North Beach is a popular area with “its own atmosphere, including the smells of chicken tikka cooking at Pakistani restaurants, salt from the sea, and pineapples from vendors along the ocean”. There are shops and restaurants, a skate park, and a great seaside promenade between Moses Mabhida Stadium to UShaka Marine World.

North Beach

Glenwood is a “quietly cool” suburb overlooking Durban harbor. It has 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.

Umlazi Township

Townships – 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)”. KwaMashu township has its own community radio station and popular eKhaya Multi Arts Centre for Arts and Performance.

Bhambayi Settlement Inanda Township

Bhambayi Settlement Inanda Township

Inanda is known for its Heritage Trail and being the home of:

KwaMashu Township

Seychelles Next

Leaving Durban December 1 for the Seychelles Mahé Island, but will be back again in January 2018. Although I’ve spent almost a month here in Durban, 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, never boring – steaming hot one day, cool and stormy with wild skies, thunder and lightning the next. I’ll have refined my Durban “must see” list when I return in January, and am looking forward to more exploration then. During December, I’m prepared to become a Seychelles beach bum!


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