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Sun & Surf : a City for all Seasons

By: Pierre
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Durban is one of the most dynamic South African cities and a prime tourist destination due to its subtropical climate, vibrant community and golden beaches, as well as its proximity to a number of marine resorts and game reserves.

Situated in KwaZulu-Natal, Durban is the third largest metropolis in South Africa and has the busiest harbor in Africa. It is well served by rail links and has an international airport. Although pleasantly warm even in winter, the summer months of December to March can be extremely humid. Washed by the warm currents of the Indian Ocean, temperatures hardly fall below 15 degrees Celsius in winter and the Durban beaches are popular all year. Pumphouse Beach is a favorite of surfers and skiers, whilst South Beach offers an open-air theatre.

Durban is South Africa’s leading beach resort for all-year bathing and a popular feature is the Golden Mile, a 6km stretch of beach front and promenades which offers a large selection of entertainment and facilities for holidaymakers. There are a great deal of nightclubs, discos, dinner-dance and cabaret venues throughout Durban, including such favourites as Raffles at the Southern Sun North Beach (ex Maharani Hotel), Smuggler’s Inn, Lara’s at the Elangeni and the Copacabana. To the north of the city lies Berea, a ridge of hills which overlook the CBD, whilst to the west lay the fashionable suburbs of Kloof, Hillcrest and Westville.

South of the CBD you will encounter the Asian ambiance of the Indian community. The air is redolent with incense and spice, the streets crowded and bustling. The largest mosque in the southern hemisphere is in Grey Street and there are also a number of Hindu temples, including the Hare Krishna Temple at the Chatsworth Centre. The Jumma Musjid Mosque, sometimes called the Grey Street Mosque, dates from the 1880’s and offers informative tours. An exotic collection of Indian jewellery, icons, costumes and more can be viewed at the Cultural and Documentation Centre. Exhibits include a photographic display relating to the 21 years Mahatma Gandhi lived in South Africa from 1893 onwards.

Nearby settlements include Amanzimtoti (25km south of Durban) which offers popular and safe beaches as well as a number of facilities for tourists and its northern counterpart, Umhlanga Rocks, which is approximately 18km from the Durban CBD and offers luxurious accommodation, excellent shopping and a number of restaurants.

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