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Durban is the most popular South African destinations for international tourists.

All About Durban

South Africa's seaside playground in the sun, is the second most populous city in South Africa, forming part of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality. It is the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal. Durban is famous as the busiest port in South Africa and a centre of tourism due to the city's warm climate and beaches. Durban is one of the most popular South African destinations for international tourists.

Durban, South Africa

Durban has from its earliest days possessed a special charm...a certain mystique that adds 'something extra' to the meeting of warm Indian Ocean, radiant golden sands and lush sub-tropical greenery. To offer the broadest possible spectrum of unforgettable experiences, we've brought to your holiday doorstep the magnificent environment and cultural wonders of the Valley of a Thousand Hills, long and tranquil beaches of The South and up-market ambience of the historic and culturally rich Umhlanga.

Durban started as a small British settlement, but grew around its sugar cane plantations. A large number of Indians were brought to work on the plantations. Durban still has a large population of Indian descent, giving the city a unique character. The city developed its tourism facilities, particularly during the 1970s which saw a skyscraper construction boom along the beach front. During the 1980s and early 1990s, the region saw violent fighting between supporters of the Inkatha Freedom Party and the African National Congress.  Durban, South Africa city beach.

Durban, South Africa marine world.

According to the 2001 Census, the city has a population of 3.2 million. Durban's land area of 2,292 km� is comparatively larger than other South African cities, resulting in a comparatively lower population density of 1,460/km�. Where East meets West in a sub-tropical holiday city. Durban formerly known as Port Natal - A natural port that has grown into one of South Africa's best-known and most popular coastal resorts and commercial ports. With stretches of safe, sandy beaches and abundance of holiday accommodation destinations available and all-year sunshine attract visitors to this festive city every year. 

 Experience and view an exotic mix of oriental plazas, cathedrals, mosques, temples and festivals of traditional Zulus performing tribal dances amongst the rippling folds of the Valley of a Thousand Hills, while sun seekers ski and swim in the tumbling surf, sunbathe on Durban�s finest beaches or taste the nightlife of the city where the fun never sets, and soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere that is uniquely Durban's own!

History of Durban

It is thought that the first known inhabitants of the Durban area arrived from the north around 100,000 BC, according to carbon dating of rock art found in caves in the Drakensberg. These people were living in the central plains of KwaZulu-Natal until the expansion of Bantu people from the north sometime during the last millennium. Little is known of the history of the first residents, as there is no written history of the area before it was first mentioned by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who came to the KwaZulu-Natal coast while searching for a route from Europe to India. He landed on the KwaZulu-Natal coast on Christmas in 1497, and thus named the area "Natal", or Christmas in Portuguese. The modern city of Durban dates from 1824, when a party of 25 men under British Lieutenant F. G. Farewell arrived from the Cape Colony and established a settlement on the northern shore of the Bay of Natal, near today's Farewell Square. Accompanying Farewell was an adventurer named Henry Fynn. Fynn was able to befriend the Zulu King Shaka by helping him to recover from a stab wound he suffered in battle. As a token of Shaka's gratitude, he granted Fynn a "25-mile strip of coast a hundred miles in depth." [citation needed] During a meeting of 35 white residents in Fynn's territory on June 23, 1835, it was decided to build a capital town and name it "d'Urban" after Sir Benjamin d'Urban, then governor of the Cape Colony. [citation needed]. Voortrekkers established the Republic of Natalia in 1838 just north of Durban, and established a capital at Pietermaritzburg. Fierce conflict with the Zulu population led to the evacuation of Durban, and eventually the Afrikaners accepted British annexation in 1844 under military pressure. A British governor was appointed to the region and many settlers emigrated from Europe and the Cape Colony. The British established a sugar cane industry in the 1860s. Farm owners had a difficult time attracting Zulu labourers to work on their plantations, so the British brought thousands of indentured labourers from India on five-year contracts. [citation needed] As a result of the importation of Indian labourers, Durban became the largest Asian community in South Africa. In 1948, the National Party was elected on a platform of racial segregation laws, which later came to be collectively known by the Afrikaans word apartheid. As a consequence of the Group Areas Act, which classified all areas of the country and city according to race, formerly multi-racial suburbs were either purged of unlawful residents or destroyed. Many Zulu men migrated to Johannesburg to work in gold and diamond mines, and a nominally-independent homeland for Zulus, KwaZulu, was established in 1977 around Zululand. This created tension between the Zulu-dominated, National Party supported Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the anti-apartheid party and supposedly Xhosa-dominated African National Congress (ANC). Terrorism and necklacing continued throughout the province in the 1980s as both parties competed for dominance. Political violence grew exponentially in the early 1990s during the downfall of the apartheid system. Large massacres became frequent on both sides. Fortunately, the successful multi-racial elections in 1994 eased tensions dramatically, particularly after the ANC made the IFP leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, minister of Home Affairs. Today, Durban is the busiest container port in Africa, the world's 9th busiest port, and a popular tourist destination. The Golden Mile, developed as a welcoming tourist destination in the 1970s, as well as Durban at large, provide ample tourist attractions, particularly for people on vacation from Johannesburg. It lost its holiday pre-eminence to Cape Town in the 1990s, but it remains a popular location.

Durban Demographics

Geographical distribution of home languages in Durban.According to the South African National Census of 2001, the population of Durban is 3,090,117 people, who live in 786,745 formal households, of which 68.9 percent have a flush or chemical toilet, and 85.4 percent have refuse removed by the municipality at least once a week. 72.0 percent of households use electricity as the main source of energy. 16.1 percent of households are headed by one person. Black Africans account for 68.30 percent of the population, followed by Asians or Indians at 19.90 percent, Whites at 8.98 percent, and Coloureds at 2.82 percent. 48.9 percent of the population is under the age of 24, while 4.2 percent are over the age of 65. The median age in the city is 25 years old, and for every 100 females, there are 92.5 males. 27.9 percent of city residents are unemployed. 88.6 percent of the unemployed are black, 18.3 percent are Coloureds, 8.2 percent are Asians or Indians, and 4.4 percent are White. 63.04 percent of Durban residents speak Zulu at home, 29.96 percent speak English (roughly representing the Indian and White populations), 3.43 percent speak Xhosa, 1.44 percent speak Afrikaans, 0.7 percent speak Sesotho, 0.2 percent speak Ndebele, 0.1 percent speaks Sepedi, and 0.93 percent of the population speaks a non-official language at home. 68.0 percent of residents are Christian, 15.5 percent have no religion, 11.3 percent are Hindu, 3.2 percent are Muslim, and 0.1 percent are Jewish. 1.9 percent have other or undetermined beliefs. 10.0 percent of residents aged 20 and over have received no schooling, 13.3 percent have had some primary school, 5.7 percent have completed only primary school, 34.6 percent have had some high school education, 26.8 percent have finished only high school, and 9.6 percent have an education higher than the high school level. Overall, 36.4 percent of residents have completed high school. The median annual income of working adults aged 15-65 is ZAR 20,695. Males have a median annual income of ZAR 24,851 versus ZAR 16,927 for females.

Economy in Durban

The Durban Metropolitan Area (DMA) has a large and diversified economy with strong manufacturing, tourism, transportation, finance and government sectors. It's coastal location and large port gives it comparative advantage over many other centres in South Africa for export-related industry. Durban's mild climate, warm marine current and culturally diverse population has also provided a drawcard for tourism to the region. There has, however, been little growth in the number of jobs provided by DMA's formal sector over the past 20 years. The manufacturing sector, which is second only to government in the number of jobs provided, has been shedding jobs as firms' restructure and become more capital intensive. High rates of crime have become a disincentive to growth in tourism and many other sectors. Despite a dynamic and growing small and micro business sector, the DMA has very high rates of unemployment, reaching over 30% in some areas of the city. There are still few economic opportunities in the former township areas. Durban's economic contribution to the region The Durban Metropolitan Area is the main economic driver in KwaZulu-Natal, contributing over half of the province's output, employment and income. In national terms, Durban is the second most important economic complex after Gauteng, accounting for 15% of national output, 14% of household income and 11% of national employment. Regional development corridors link Durban northwards to Richards Bay and Maputo, and westward to Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg. Informal Sector The inability of the formal sector of the economy to provide sufficient employment opportunities for Durban's growing population has led to the development of a fast growing informal sector. It is thought that about 16% of the labour force is active in the informal sector. Very few people in the informal sector appear to be involved in manufacturing activities. Most people provide services for low pay (such as domestic work) followed by trading, catering and accommodation. It is expected that future growth will occur in the trading sector. There are some 20 000 street traders in Durban including a Muthi Trade of regional importance.

Durban Tourism

The Golden Mile
Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World
The Victoria Embankment (also known as The Esplanade) is home to many tourist sites.
The International Convention Centre (ICC) - the leading conference centre in Africa for the last 5 years, and rated 4th in the world in 2005.
The Natal Playhouse Theatre Complex
The local history museum
The Maritime Museum
The Tourist Junction
The BAT centre
The Durban Art Gallery
The KZNSA Gallery
The African Art Centre
Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre
Catalina Theatre
Kwasuka Theatre
uShaka Marine World, one of the largest Aquariums in the world.
Sahara Stadium Kingsmead is a major test match and one-day cricket venue.
Kings Park Stadium (Now known as ABSA Stadium) is host to the Internationally renowned Sharks Rugby Team.
Botanical Gardens
Umgeni Bird Park
Gateway Theatre of Shopping
The Umhlanga Explorer UrbanRisk Essential Security and Travel Information for Durban, South Africa. Know Before You Arrive.

Durban Communications and media

Two major English-language daily newspapers are published in Durban, both part of the Independent Newspapers, the national group owned by Irish media magnate Tony O'Reilly. These are the morning editions of "The Natal Mercury" and the afternoon "Daily News". Like most newsmedia in South Africa, they have seen declining circulations in recent years. Major Zulu language papers comprise "Isolezwe" ( Independent Newspapers) and "Ilanga", the latter being seen to be politically aligned to the IFP. Independent Newspapers also publish "Post", a newspaper aimed largely at the Indian community. A national Sunday paper, the "Sunday Tribune" is also published by Independent Newspapers as is the "Independent on Saturday". A variety of free weekly suburban newspapers are published by the Caxton Group and there are numerous "community" newspapers, some of which are short lived and others which have had stable tenure. A number of lifestyle magazines are published in Durban, some of which have national circulation. A major city initiative is MetroBeat magazine, a colour publication which is sent to some 400 000 households monthly with a readership of over 1.6 million. As a local government publication, it is a unique initiative and rates in the top ten consumer publications in South Africa as far as circulation is concerned. A major English language radio station, East Coast Radio, operates out of Durban and is owned by SA media giant Kagiso Media. It is seen as very supportive of the city in general and has wide listenership. East Coast Radio has several skilled and seasoned broadcasters including Alan Khan, Darren Scott, Daryl Illbury and Dave Guselli. East Coast Radio targets adults aged 25 to 49 and is one of the most successful commercial radio stations in the country, currently attracting 2.2 million listeners in the province alone. The national broadcaster, the SABC, has regional offices in Durban and operates two major stations here, the Zulu language "Ukhozi FM" with a huge national listenership of over 5 million, and Radio Lotus, aimed at "Indian" listeners. The other SABC national stations have smaller regional offices here, as does TV for news links and sports broadcasts. There are a number of smaller stations which are independent, having been granted licences by ICASA, the national agency charged with the issue of broadcast licences. Although advertising agencies and communications companies here are smaller than in Gauteng province, where most national corporate head offices are located, there is a full complement of services on offer to support retail trade and other sectors of the marketplace.

Durban Sports teams and stadiums

Durban is home to two rugby union teams, the Natal Sharks, who compete in the domestic Currie Cup competition, and the Sharks, who compete in the international Super 14 competition. Both teams play out of Kings Park Stadium. Durban is one of cities of 2010 FIFA World Cup. The stadium has not been built yet. On January 29, 2006, Durban hosted a race in A1 Grand Prix, driven on a street track. It is rumoured that Durban will bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Transport in Durban

Durban downtownAir Durban International Airport services both domestic and international flights, with regularly-scheduled service to Swaziland, Mozambique, and Mauritius. The airport handled four million passengers in 2005, up over 15 percent from 2004. Plans are at an advanced stage for the construction of a new airport, to be known as King Shaka International Airport, at La Mercy, about 36 kilometres north of the Central Business District, and 15 kilometres north of Umhlanga Rocks. The airport serves as a major gateway for travellers to KwaZulu-Natal and the Drakensberg.

Sea Transportation in Durban

Durban has a long tradition as a port city. The Port of Durban, which was formally known as the Port of Natal, is one of the few natural harbours between Port Elizabeth and Maputo, and is also located at the beginning of a particular weather phenomenon which can cause extremely violent seas. These two features made Durban an extremely busy port of call for ship repairs when the port was opened in the 1840s. The Port of Durban is now the busiest port in South Africa, as well as the busiest container port in the Southern Hemisphere. The modern Port of Durban grew around trade from Johannesburg, as the industrial and mining capital of South Africa is not located on any navigable body of water. Thus, products being shipped from Johannesburg outside of South Africa have to be loaded onto trucks or railways and transported to Durban. The Port of Maputo was unavailable for use until the early 1990s due to civil war and an embargo against South African products. There is now an intense rivalry between Durban and Maputo for shipping business. Salisbury Island, part of the Port of Durban, was formerly a full naval base until it was downgraded in 2002. It now contains a naval station and other military facilities. The future of the base, however, is uncertain, as there is increasing demand to use Salisbury Island as part of the port facilities.

Rail Transportation in Durban

Durban is well-served by railways due to its role as the largest trans-shipment point for goods from the interior of South Africa. Shosholoza Meyl, the passenger rail service of Spoornet, operates two long-distance passenger rail services from Durban: a daily service to and from Johannesburg via Pietermaritzburg, and a weekly service to and from Cape Town via Kimberley and Bloemfontein. These trains terminate at Durban Railway Station. Metrorail operates a commuter rail service in Durban and the surrounding area. The Metrorail network runs from Durban Station outwards as far as Stanger on the north coast, Kelso on the south coast, and Cato Ridge inland.

Travel by Road in Durban

One national road starts in Durban and one passes through it: The N2, which links Durban with Ermelo, East London, and Port Elizabeth before ending in Cape Town; and the N3, the busiest national road in South Africa, which links Durban with Johannesburg. The N3 is particularly important as goods are moved by truck from Johannesburg to be shipped out of the Port of Durban. The N3 starts in the Central Business District, and interchanges with the N2 at the Westville Four-Level Interchange, officially known as the E. B. Cloete Interchange, which is informally nicknamed the Spaghetti Junction due to the complicated nature of the interchange. The N2 runs through the entire city from north to south, and is known locally as the "Outer Ring Road". Durban also has a system of freeway and dual carriageway M-roads, which connect different parts of the city. The M4 exists in two segments: The northern segment starts at Umdloti Beach�where it separates from the N2�passing through Umhlanga Rocks, and ending at the northern side of the CBD. The southern segment of the M4 starts at the southern side of the CBD, connecting it with Durban International Airport, before reconnecting with the N2. The M7 connects the N2 and the Durban South Industrial Basin with the N3 and Pinetown via Queensburgh. The M19 connects the N2 with Pinetown via Westville. The M13 acts as an alternative to the N3, which is tolled at Mariannhill, as well as feeds traffic through Gillitts, Kloof, and Westville.

Buses in Durban

Remant Alton, which bought the recently privatised eThekwini Municipal Bus Company, operates scheduled bus services throughout the Durban metropolitan area. Several companies run long-distance bus services from Durban to the other cities in South Africa.

Taxis in Durban

Durban has two kinds of taxis: metered taxis and minibus taxis. Unlike many cities, metered taxis are not allowed to drive around the city to solicit fares and instead must be called and ordered to a specific location. There are a number of companies which service the Durban and surrounding regions. These taxi's can also be called upon for airport transfers, point to point pick ups and shuttles Minibus taxis are the standard form of transport for the majority of the population who cannot afford private cars. Although essential, these taxis are often poorly maintained, and are frequently not road-worthy. These taxis make frequent unscheduled stops to pick up passengers, which cause accidents when drivers to the rear are unable to stop in time. With the high demand for transport by the working class of South Africa, minibus taxis are often filled over their legal passenger allowance, making for high casualty rates when minibuses are involved in accidents. Minibuses are generally owned and operated in fleets, and inter-operator violence flares up from time to time, especially as turf wars over lucrative taxi routes occur.

Rickshaws in Durban

Durban is also famous for its iconic Zulu Rickshaw pullers navigating throughout the city. These colourful characters are famous for their giant, vibrant hats and costumes. Although they have been a mode of transportation since the early 1900's, they mostly cater to tourists.

Educational institutions in Durban

Private schools in Durban

Al-Falaah College
Clifton School
Crawford College Durban
Crawford College La Lucia
Crawford College Northcoast
Durban Girls' College
Highbury Preparatory School
Hillcrest Christian Academy
Kearsney College
St Henry's Marist Brothers' College
Maris Stella School
Orient Islamic School
St. Mary's D.S.G.
Thomas More College

Public schools in Durban

Bonela Primary School
Carrington Primary School
Durban Girls' High School
Durban High School (DHS)
Durban North College
George Campbell School of Technology
Glenwood High School
Hillcrest High School
Kloof High School
Kloof Junior Primary School
Kloof Pre Primary School
Kloof Senior Primary School
Mowat Park High School
New Forest High School
Northlands Girls' High School
Northwood School
Pinetown Boys' High School
Ridge Park College
Sastri College
Westville Boys' High School
Wingen Heights Secondary School

Tertiary institutions in Durban

University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban University of Technology
Other institutions also give degrees