Focus on Durban, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Harnessing together the welcoming smiles, inviting splendours of nature, unique cultural experiences and pulsating celebrations of four distinctly characteristic slices of holiday heaven... Durban Metro is Africa's ultimate coastal playground in the sun! The enchanting, vibrant, historic city and townships of Durban have gathered around them the ideal family getaways of The South, luxury resorts and casino of our northern Sugar Coast... plus rolling, green, country treats of the Valley of 1000 Hills. Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, this idyllic outdoor lifestyle in subtropical paradise offers you that much more - more buzz for your buck...pleasure for your pound...rave for your rupee! Africa's largest, busiest port and economic powerhouse of our Zulu Kingdom, we boast investment opportunities aplenty - more yield for your yen! Durban Metro also extends the warmest welcome to our Kingdom's many, compelling treasures...getaway to two World Heritage Sites among majestic Drakensberg peaks and vast Game Reserves of the Zululand Bush, plus history-drenched Battlefields, fascination- filled Midlands and a resort-dotted coastline that stretches seemingly forever in both directions.

Life's a Beach

Durban seafront has exerted a magnetic pull since time immemorial... first attracting San hunter-gatherers of the Stone Age from their icy mountain fastness with the mildest winter imaginable. Iron Age peoples from Central Africa began infiltrating about two thousand years ago...pirates and shipwrecked European explorers of the modern era made temporary homes here during the 1700s...and in 1824, British adventurers deceived King Shaka and raised the Union Jack over this gem of his recently-founded Zulu realm.

The Golden Mile

This quaint, rather antiquated description of Durban beachfront - and the fact that it's still popularly used - bears witness to both its radiant beauty and the easy-going charm that evokes memories of 'modest' bathing suits and sepia-tinged holiday photographs. Merely a few paces from an enticing selection of international-class, ultra-modern and meticulously maintained colonial-style tourist accommodation, clean golden sands and warm Indian Ocean beckon with irresistible allure. Protected year round by shark nets and expert lifeguards, our sea has rhythm...and invites you to leap and frolic in waves perfect for surfing and body-boarding 'aquabatics'.

Designated areas keep bathers and surfboard riders a safe distance apart, so there's no chance of being speared by an errant piece of sporting equipment! If you re new to surfing or board-sailing, sheltered Addington Beach has ideally-small waves for learning the 'three- dimensional dance with nature's energy'. Hawaiian kings may have invented surfing, but we caught on very quickly...and Durban's own 'hang-ten' history is displayed with devotion at the Timewarp Surfing Museum. Curated by (grand)father-figure of the Durban surf scene, Baron Stander, one of the museum's aims is to enthuse new generations...particularly those youngsters kept alienated from surfing culture by the racially-segregated beaches of our recent past.

Further added dimensions to the beachfront's surf, sand and sun are daily dolphin shows and fascinating marine life at UShaka Marine World, the spine- chilling inhabitants of our Snake Park and scaled-down perspective of Mini Town. Salt-water paddling ponds and olympic-size swimming pool ensure we cater for water-babies of all ages and exercise- regimes!

Among all these attractions are cinemas, restaurants and taverns, fast-food outlets, amusement arcades, flea-markets and the opportunity to watch traditional Zulu arts and crafts in the making. For a low-flying bird's-eye view, survey the scene from our cable-car route...or stroll the long, water's-edge promenade for a more orthodox panorama. Come sundowner time, there's little more satisfying than to relive a day of dedicated sun-worshipping over tall, cool glasses on a sea-facing veranda!

North of the Golden Mile, Country Club Beach, Tekwini Beach and Laguna Beach are away from hotels and self-catering holiday apartments overlooked...instead by two golf courses and major sporting complexes. At the wide Umgeni River mouth, Blue Lagoon Beach is Durban's most popular fishing locale...while beyond the river, La Lucia and Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve offer long, tranquil walks along empty sands.

Shark-net and lifeguard protection resume at the satellite- resort and capital of our northern boundary Sugar Coast - Umhlanga.

On the Southside, meanwhile, suburban residents of The Bluff - a gigantic headland that forms the south-eastern 'arm' of Durban Harbour - enjoy a string of safe and protected beaches that make a pleasant change from their 'city cousins' . Brighton Beach, Cave Rock Beach, Anstey's Beach and Garvies Beach are all highly popular, with interesting walks through coastal bush that ends almost at the water's edge. This stretch of shoreline continues beyond industrial areas and Durban International Airport to become seaside playground of The South and its 'capital' - Amanzimtoti.

Hotels, resort complexes, self-catering establishments and caravan parks follow the beaches at Doonside, Warner Beach, Winkelspruit and Illovo leading to Metro Durban's southern boundary at the Mkomazi River. Named the Place of Whales by King Shaka after marvelling at the giant creatures basking in the river mouth, the broad Mkomazi River's southern bank is crowned by the spectacularly sited town of Umkomaas. Now within Durban Metro limits, but also regarded as the first destination of our South Coast region. Umkomaas is worth an extra mention because 5km offshore lies the internationally renowned scuba-diving combination of Aliwal Shoal and the Nebo - a steamer that sank in 1884. More proof that our beaches have exuded magnetic qualities for a very long time!

Article from http://durban.kzn.org.za