Durban Life and Visitor Travel Tips
(Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)
Although South Africa is known for have a crime problem, the situation here does not compare to that within Johannesburg
and tourists who are sensible will be able to enjoy a pleasant and relaxed holiday in Durban. Simply keep valuables and jewellery out of sight, stay in the main touristy areas and streets, stay together and try to blend in, rather than look like you are sightseeing.
It is always advisable to use taxis to travel between attractions, rather than walking, and listen to the advice of your hotel concierge. The beach promenade in Durban is widely considered to be a safe place and is regularly patrolled by police, although as in any busy places, be aware of your belongings at all times. Other recommended areas of Durban include the harbour area, the main shopping malls and also the more affluent residential neighbourhoods.
Useful Contact Details
The city's main tourist information centre comes in the form of the Durban Tourist Junction, which is housed in a historical 19th-century railway station. The first floor is home to the Durban Africa office, while the ground floor contains the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Authority Information Office.
Also within the busy complex are outlets of KZN Wildlife and South African Parks Reservations. City visitors should come here to pick up their free copy of the 'What's On in Durban' and the 'Durban for All Seasons' booklets, the latter of which is usually on hand in most good hotels.
Further tourist offices (Durban Africa) are situated within the airport's arrivals hall, and also along the Marine Parade.
Address: 160 Pine Street, corner of Soldiers Way, Durban, South Africa, ZA
Tel: +27 031 304 4934
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 08:00 to 17:00, Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 14:00
Visa Information and Passports
Tourists holidaying in Durban and arriving from either Western Europe or the Commonwealth countries, together with the countries of both Japan
and the USA
will automatically receive entry permits, completely free of charge. All visitors are entitled to a 90-day visa, which will expire when you fly out of South Africa.
Dos and Don'ts
- Book Shops - Adam's & Co. is a very notable book shop in Durban and can be found on West Street and also at the Musgrave Centre, while Mark Lane has further book stores
- Internet Access - most of the city's hotels provide access to the Internet at an hourly rate, along with various cafes around the city
- Postal Services - the main post office resides on the corner of Gardiner Street and West Street, where it offers a convenient poste-restante facility. A further postal brand can be found close to the beachfront, near to Funworld
- Crime - there is a level of crime present in some areas of Durban, with pick-pocketing being at its worst around the beachfront, despite a noticeable police presence along the promenade. Also be sure to keep an eye on your belongings around the Berea railway station, the Wheel shopping centre and Point Road (known for its prostitution). Those parking in central Durban are advised to use locked garages at night, since this area becomes rather deserted at this time
- Monkeys - avoid feeding the monkeys, since you will soon attract many further monkeys and it won't be long until they become a nuisance
- HIV and AIDS - South Africa contains one of the world's highest levels of HIV and you should therefore be sure not to expose yourself under any circumstance
- Drinking Water - high quality water is available throughout Durban and so you should not be afraid to drink from taps
- Jellyfish - on occasion, the north-eastern winds are known to blow Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish into the beachfront waters and they can even get washed up on the sand. In the unusual event that you are stung, search out the lifeguards, who will be able to offer you medical attention
- Malaria - mosquitoes can certainly be a problem in some parts of South Africa, such as northern KwaZulu-Natal, and so anti-malarial medication is always worth packing in your suitcase
- Immunisations - it is important to visit your doctor at least six weeks before travelling to Durban, so that you can arrange for the necessary vaccinations and immunisations