Durban Museums

(Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)

Photo showing the Suncoast Casino in the distanceDurban's rich history is more than adequately preserved in the city's museums. They document every aspect of Durban's heritage, from colonial and military life to its seafaring role as a busy port.

Highly suitable for families is the Natural Science Museum, which is located within Durban City Hall and home to a life-size model of the ultimate predator dinosaur, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. For something totally different, head on down to the Bay End and check out the Natal Maritime Museum on Aliwal Street.

Natal Maritime Museum

Address: Bay End, Aliwal Street, Durban, South Africa, SA
Tel: +27 031 311 2230
Part of the city's Natal Maritime Museum is housed on board three ships, including a steam tug, pilot boat and a World War Two minesweeper. Through exhibits of photographs and artefacts, visitors can find out all about Durban's seafaring past and its role as the busiest of Africa's ports. There is also an exhibition hall which features displays on communication at sea and weather prediction.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 0830 to 15:45, Sunday - 11:00 to 15:45
Admission: charge

Natural Science Museum

Address: 1st Floor, City Hall (Smith Street entrance), Durban, South Africa, SA
Tel: +27 031 311 2256
Durban's Natural Science Museum is one of the city's most popular museums. On display are plenty of natural history artefacts, including insect and butterfly collections, as well as exhibits of South Africa's local plant and bird life. It's a fascinating place to visit, particularly if you're planning to animal-spot on safari and would like to find out more in advance of your trip. Included within the museum is the KwaZuzulwazi Science Centre. Big and little kids will no doubt enjoy having a go at its interactive exhibits.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 15:00
Admission: free

Local History Museum

Address: Old Court House, Aliwal Street, Durban, South Africa, SA
Tel: +27 031 311 2229
Durban's Local History Museum is housed within the former Court House, a 19th-century building located just behind the City Hall. This is a great place to visit if you would like to find out more about the history of the city and the surrounding area of South Africa, from Zulu history to the town's colonial past.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 08:30 to 16:00, Sunday - 11:00 to 16:00
Admission: free

Killie Campbell Africana Museum

Address: 220 Marriot Road, Berea Hill, Durban, South Africa, SA
Tel: +27 031 207 3432
This is widely regarded as Durban's most important museum. Housed in the former home of Dr. Killie Campbell, located on Berea Hill, the collections on display include an extensive library of books, manuscripts and photographs chronicling the history of Zululand and Natal. It's also home to some fine examples of Zulu weapons, sculptures and furniture.
Open hours: Tuesday and Thursday - 08:00 to 23:00
Admission: free

Old Fort / Warrior's Gate War Museum

Address: 208 Old Fort Road, Durban, South Africa, SA
Tel: +27 031 205 1820
This model fort is actually a reconstruction of original mud defences built by Irish soldiers as they besieged Durban in 1842 during their battle with the Boers. The defences were successful, holding off their attackers for over a month and, famously, allowing Dick King and his soldiers to bring relief. The fort was later rebuilt and expanded to include an armoury and barracks, part of which is now home to some of South Africa's war veterans.
Open hours: Tuesday, Friday, Sunday - 11:00 to 15:00, Saturday - 08:30 to 16:00
Admission: free