Over the years, I’ve written countless blog posts on cool Durban spots but still find myself compiling a messy list of links and websites every time someone new asks me “So, what’s there to do ’round here?”.
In light of all the visitors our beautiful city is going to receive for the International AIDS Conference, I teamed up with some other passionate Durbanites to create the ultimate Durban guide, including top places to drink, dine and dance. Feel free to check it out, leave your suggestions, or send it along the next time a foreign friend or family member hits up the 031!
If you need more info, just hover your mouse over the places for clickable links.
Places to eat
Upper Highway Area
Bellevue Cafe – Quaint, cute with a great cafe’ style vibe
Stretta Cucina – Modern Italian, trendy atmosphere and great pizza
Lupa Osteria – If you’re keen for something hearty and delicious, then this is your spot!
Quo – Exciting modern cuisine with an intimate vibe
Conscious Cafe – Enjoy vegetarian and vegan yumminess in an 1960’s castle.
Market – For delicious specials and a gorgeous atmosphere, Market is one of my faves everytime.
Spiga D’Oro – A firm Durban favourite for food that never fails, whatever the occasion
Joop’s Place – Keen for a real steak? Then head to Joops.
Green Mango – For sushi, Thai and Japanese food like no other
9th Avenue Bistro – Looking to have a fancier affair? Check out 9th Avenue.
Unity Bar – For the best vibe and burgers around, Unity Bar is a must!
Cafe 1999 – The perfect blend of upmarket dining and a relaxed environment
Mooki Noodles – Asian cuisine with a fun twist!
La Bella – The very best breakfasts
Parc Cafe – An intimate, trendy spot with a great cafe menu
Glenwood Bakery – Head on over for the best Eggs Benny and grab a loaf of home-made bread on your way out.
Circus Circus – Breakfast or lunch with an ocean view? Sold!
Afro’s Chicken – Tasty, easy and another exclusively Durban gem.
Freedom Cafe – An arty spot with a trendy menu.
The Cargo Hold – Dine with the sharks! No that’s not another euphemism for “sleeping with the fishes”. Seriously, check it out for yourself.
Earthmother Organic – Vegan foodies, this spot won’t disappoint!
Indian Summer – Authentic Indian cuisine
Vovo Telo – Freshly baked goods with a quaint cafe feel
Mo’s Noodles – Modern Asian dining
Remo’s Fratelli – Upmarket Italian menu and atmosphere
Bel Punto – A little drive out to Umdloti, but totally worth the sea views and incredible menu
The Wok Box – A cool concept Asian restaurant.
Little Havana – Check out this Cuban-inspired dining experience.
Four15 – Craving Mexican? Then look no further.
Durban’s Famous Bunny Chows
Durbs is perhaps best known for their curry and bread creation – The Bunny Chow. Every Durbanite will promise you their favourite spot is the best, but it’s up to you to try them out for yourself and decide which Bunny reigns supreme!
House of Curries – Florida Road
Govenders – Umbilo
Hollywood Bets – Stamford Hill
Little Gujurat – City Center
For even more Bunny Chow reviews – check out The Quarter Bunny blog here!
Grab a drink
Dropkick Murphy’s – Think Irish style pub with a hipster twist
The Oyster Bar – Durban’s premium bar and restaurant – you could find yourself wining and dining with a celebrity or M.O.P!
Moyo on the Pier – Sip on something cold while the waves roll under you.
The Dutch – Old school setting, new school drinks menu
14 on Chartwell – Enjoy a drink on Umhlanga’s vibiest strip.
Stoker’s Arms – A real pub-style favourite of Upper Highway locals, right on the railway.
Sidebar – A top spot to grab a drink, soak in the ambience and rub shoulders with Durban’s coolest.
Amsterdam Bar – Enjoy a round of foosball while you’re there!
The Distillery 031 – Locally distilled spirits plus a creative food menu
S43 – A real unique drinks spot in the Station Drive Precinct, where you can sample locally brewed craft beers.
The Standeaven Brewery – Grab a locally made Craft beer at this micro-brewery.
The Roma Revolving Restuaruant – This Durban famous restaurant and bar may verge on a 70’s time-warp, but there’s no denying the spectacular 360 degree views of Durban!
Sure you can technically grab a coffee at just about anywhere, but here are the spots that I’d recommend if you’re looking for top class coffee and a unique Durban setting.
Love Coffee – A perfect combination of good coffee and good vibes.
The Bean Green Coffee Company – A Durban-proud cafe and bean roastery
Colombo Coffee and Tea – Coffee and Tea specialists like no other
The Coffee Tree – Unique setting, first class coffee, a little attitude.
Savior Brand Coffee – Coffee with a cause
Lineage Coffee – World class coffee, brought to you by the 2014 SA Barista Champ
Ciao Bella Cafe – Quaint and classy coffee cafe, right by the harbour
The Boiler Room – A light and breezy coffee spot in the iconic Lion Match Factory park.
Markets of Warwick Tours – Check out the heart of Durban’s Informal Trade Markets
Karkloof Canopy Tours – Walk above the trees, get high on adrenaline.
The Midlands Meander – Roam about our countryside
Durban Ricksha Tours – See the best of Durban via a double-decker bus
Inchanga Choo Choo Tours – Round up the family and take a steam train trip to a prime picnic spot.
Street Scene Tours – Get the very best of Durban and book a unique Street Scene Tour
Markets and Events
The Morning Trade – Foodies, you’ll love this breakfast market every Sunday!
The I Heart Market – Local crafts and stalls, every first Saturday of the month.
Wonder Market – Food and shopping at the gorgeous Chris Saunder’s Park
First Thursdays – Get in on an array of food stalls, music, late night shopping and more in the Station Drive Precinct, every first Thursday of the month.
Shongweni Farmer’s Market – Fresh farm produce and more, in a beautiful setting
Club it up or get your dance on!
The Chairman – A top-notch jazz club, The Chairman is a must for everyone experiencing Durban.
The Winston Pub – My favourite place to catch local live music and knock back a few quarts.
Cool Runnings – Want a real local bar experience? Venture into town to Cool Runnings!
Rainbow Restaurant – An iconic 80’s-born Durban jazz lounge and unforgettable experience.
Things to Do / Entertainment
Bike and Bean – Hire out a bike and cycle Durban’s famous Golden Mile Promenade
The Barnyard Theatre – If OTT supper theatres are your thing, then check out what’s showing at The Barnyard
Durban Botanical Gardens – Whether there’s a Sunday concert on or not, go and while away a few hours in the gardens.
Tala Game Reserve – Head to Tala for a real African-esque game experience.
KrantzKloof Nature Reserve – Enjoy a local nature trail or gorge hike.
Sutton Park Swimming Pools – Take a refreshing dip in the pristine public pool
Boat Hire By The Sea – Hire out a boat and head to the high seas, drinking in Durban’s harbour lights.
KZNSA Gallery – Check out current exhibitions at this unique art gallery
Surf, SUP, Yoga – A weekly yoga and surf class held on the beachfront
Beach Please – Yes, this is an obvious one but don’t miss out on our local beaches! Personal favourites include Bronze Beach, New Pier North Beach and Ushaka Beach.
Durban Natural Science Museum – From art to dinosaurs, there’s plenty here to keep you busy.
Mitchell Park Zoo – There’s nothing quite like checking out an array of rescued critters, thriving in their new home.
Umgeni Bird Park – Try and catch a bird show while you’re there – they’re quite something!
Suncoast Casino – If you’re keen to try your luck, then head to the casino! (Insert disclaimer about responsible gambling here.)
Places to stay in and around Durban
The Concierge Boutique Bungalows – Gorgeous rooms in central Durban
Mantis and Moon Backpackers – A quick drive down the coast
Tekweni Backpackers – Situated right next to buzzing Florida Road
Makaranga Lodge – A fancyshmancy lodge in the Upper Highway Area
Umzumbe Surf House – Head down the coast for a prime surfing spot
Mei Pen Lai Guest House – Get out of the city and down to the shore.
Chimp & Zee – I, a full grown woman loved this kids’ obstacle course.
Ushaka Marine World – Check out sea critters or head to the water slides!
Durban Funworld – Turth be told, I know more adults who enjoy Durban’s oldest funfair. The cable cars are a must!
If you’re looking for anything else in specific, don’t be shy to hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thanks to the following contributors, for your help and suggestions: