The ships dock at the Passenger Terminal at the Port of Durban. There is a lovely market at the air-conditioned N-Shed where cruise ships passengers are catered for. The city centre is walking distance, however geting a taxi is recommended. UShaka Marine World is nearby, as well as Margaret Mncadi Avenue and the Wilson’s wharf – popular beachside locations, with shops and restaurants. There are public buses running to some of the local markets. The Airport is 40 min drive away.
The official currency in South Africa is the South African Rand – ZAR. Exchanging money once you arrive in Durban seems to be the better choice than exchanging money at home. All major credit cards are accepted, except in rural areas, and getting cash from ATMs is generally cheaper than paying by card. Make sure you are vigilant about card scams and try to use ATMs in shopping malls rather than street ones. Don’t forget to call your bank before you travel, as banks are cautious and often decline transactions if not notified in advance.
Durbanites speak eleven official languages. English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu being the most commonly spoken ones. English is widely spoken, although not always as a first language, and is mostly used for government and media purposes.
Opening hours and bank holidays. In general opening hours are 9 am to 5 pm, open until midday on Saturday and closed Sundays. However, in tourist areas there is a tendency of shops staying open until as late as 10pm. Most of the shops and outlets are closed for Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Day, except for bigger malls. There are also a number of national bank holidays.
Tipping is advisable in Durban, and at bars and restaurants it should be 10-15 per cent of your bill. Some restaurants would add 10% service charge to the bill of larger groups. It is also customary to tip hotel staff and tour guides.
The local time in Durban is GMT=1 hour only and the international dialling code is + 27 31.
Things To Do
Ushaka Marine World is a must-see in Durban. There are a number of sea, water, beach and action related activities here, such as Sea World, Wet’n’Wild, uShaka beach, Village walk, toped with lovely views of the Indian Ocean.
Durbanites are very proud of their state-of-the-art stadium, the Moses Mabhida Stadium that hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Its classic design that incorporates elements of the national flag, has made it one of the country’s most loved sports facilities. We recommend getting up to the viewing platform on top if it’s arch to see the most amazing 360 degrees views of Durban and the ocean at 106 metres high.
Experience the tranquillity of Durban Botanical gardens after you get enough of the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s the oldest botanical garden in Africa, established at 1849 and the city’s oldest public institution. The main plant collection includes cycads, orchids, bromeliads and palms. There are more than eighty heritage trees, many of which exceed one hundred years old.
Juma Masjid Mosque, more popular as the Greet Street Mosque is a local landmark, representing this buzzing multicultural city. It was the first mosque in Durban, completed in 1930s. It represents a spiritual centre for Durban’s Muslims and it can accommodate up to 6000 worshipers.
The Temple of Understanding is the biggest Hare Krishna temple in Africa and it’s built in the shape of a lotus flower. The interior is fascinating – the pastimes of Lord Krishna are presented by giant, gold framed, paintings in the ceiling. Almost nearly as famous is the restaurant downstairs, very affordable and serving only pure vegetarian Indian cuisine.
Visiting the Natal Lion park is a popular day trip from Durban. As the name suggests, the park boasts a population of lions, kept in an open-air enclosure, where visitors have access to them through a manned gate. It’s a self-drive park, 67 km from Durban and you could also spot elephants, zebras, various antelopes and a large variety of bird.
If you are feeling adventitious, you can cross the Sani Pass – considered the most challenging gravel pass in South Africa, it connects Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho. Don’t forget to bring your passport, as you would be crossing to get to another country. The pass starts comfortably at 1544m altitude and 1:20 gradients and climbs up to 2876m and 1:3 gradients. Only 4x4 vehicles are allowed and the pass is closed in snow and bad weather conditions.
All Cruises and Flight details are subject to availability and price variation. Final package price is available upon payment of deposit and confirming your ATOL & ABTA protected cruise holiday