The Ultimate Guide To Durban

July 11, 2016

EVENTS / THINGS TO DO / TRAVEL

durban

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.

Morningside/Glenwood Area

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!

Durban North/Umhlanga

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

drinks

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!

Coffee Spots

coffee in 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.

Tours

markets of warwick tours

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

markets

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!

chairman

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

things to do

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.

Got kids?

durban

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 girlwithabum031@gmail.com!

Thanks to the following contributors, for your help and suggestions:

Alice Armstrong – Independent Consultant
Levi  Pique Sign – Youth Advisor and Development Advocate
Sonto Sulhosna – Adolescent Friendly Service Coordinator
Gugu Mofekeng – NGO Co-Ordinator
*Please note: This is not a sponsored blog post. The places featured here are places I’d genuinely recommend and for the most of it, have attended or frequented myself.

22 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide To Durban

  1. jess

    Great article, but you forgot to mention under “things to do” or “got kids”: Hillcrest paintball & Infinite adventures. :) It’s great fun.

    Reply
  2. Josh

    This is awesome. I live in Durban, and it appears that ignorance is the furthest thing from bliss. Good works yo

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      Hi Charlene! Unfortunately ArtSpace (which used to my BEST Durban gallery) is in the process of changing into workspaces, but will check out Grace Kotze gallery – thank you!

      Reply
  3. Kelsey

    Hi Jenna, what an awesome list! Cant wait to try some of these we haven’t done. I would like to suggest that you check out the Shongweni Farmer’s Market. Really cool vibe & loads of crafters & food on a Saturday morning.
    PS Saw your post shared on My Durban Facebook page :)

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      Ah Kelsey how could I have forgotten this out! I love the Farmer’s Market and have attended it since I was about 8 years old. Great idea – will add it asap! J x

      Reply
  4. Debbie

    Hi please don’t forget The Stables Lifestyle Market – a very relaxed and enjoyable market, great food and live music as well as great shopping. Family friendly too. Open Wed and Fri 6 to 19pm and Sun 10am to 5pm.

    Reply
  5. Mark

    Great effort, Jenna.

    Well done! Please include The Glenwood Restaurant in Brand Road for stunning and (BYO) affordable fine lunching and dining. Old Town Italy at Umhlanga Ridge is not everyone’s cup of tea but I do believe it deserves an inclusion as a great place to visit and enjoy.

    Thanks again

    Mark Lowe

    Reply
  6. Bhavna

    Great list …I think surfriders at Addington beach deserves a mention .The food is awesome as are the milkshakes .
    Best pizza in town !!!

    Reply
  7. Lisa

    Such a great list! As a Durbanite, there are a few that I still have to tick off :)
    Since this is aimed at the Aids conference attendees, you might consider adding The Spice Emporium? It’s close to the ICC and they have a great selection of Durban spices and a quirky Indian street food restaurant.
    Also, Cafe Jiran near the beachfront. It has a big selection of coffee and a great breakfast menu.

    Reply
  8. Krissy

    Thanks for this! I am coming up to Durbs next week and I’ve only been once. Short of uShaka Marine world I needed real, non-tourist Durban things to do. Excited now!

    Reply

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