48h in… Durban

The hottest places to go and stuff to see

Is there any place that gets summer started quite like this city by the sea? In our first 48h in… feature, we explore its must-see sights, spots and spaces for visitors and locals alike.

Written by Cayleigh Bright; Images supplied and Kyle Cut Media, Kaan Numanoglu, and Dan Grinwis.

Whether you’re making a quick stop in the city or wanting to take a staycation on your own doorstep, Durban offers plenty of potential for relaxation. In our 48h in… series, we aim to showcase some of the best ways to spend a couple of days in SA’s cities, and in the spirit of summer being on its way, Durban is first on our list.

 Day 1, 8am: Start off at Skyline

Get your day off to a delicious start at one of the city’s favourite coffee spots: Skyline, a little shop off of buzzy Florida Road. The store has become a favourite for coworking and catchups, and showcases the city’s creative talents on its walls with rotating exhibitions of local art. But at this time of the morning, you’re probably after the coffee and some breakfast, so grab a flat white and avo on toast: with these millennial favourites famously plentiful in Durban’s tropical climate, it’s impressively well-priced here compared to SA’s other cities. Settle into the courtyard or watch the world go by out front with your second cup of coffee and a freshly baked sweet treat, if that’s your thing, or grab something to go if you’re eager to explore.

Day 1, 9:30am: This is Florida Road

Take an hour or two to browse the street and scope out spots for drinks, dinner or ice-cream later. Florida Yards offers an impressive selection of options to eat and drink, whether you’re after another coffee, a snack, or a super-sweet treat. Spots like Boston Brew, Falafel Fundi, House of Curries and The Bunny Bar all offer great options for a quick lunch, but be prepared to defend it: you’ll likely run into some of Durban’s most confident residents; its monkeys.

Day 1, 12:30pm: Reach new heights at Moses Mabhida

While most cities’ stadiums don’t exactly do much between sports events, you can get your adrenaline rush from this one whenever you choose. Depending on how adventurous you feel, you can take a relaxed segway tour of the space or tackle a bungee jump that also includes a climb to the top.

Day 1, 6:30pm: A relaxed occasion

At the top of Florida Road (technically it has an Innes Road address) is one of Durban’s best-loved institutions, Spiga D’Oro. It’s a must-try if you’re a fan of Italian food, and a great place to share drinks and starters before you tuck into a pizza or pasta that you’ll want to keep all to yourself. Not your thing? Head to the bottom of the street instead, and try new addition Dukkah, where meals draw inspiration from cuisines up and down the continent’s East coast – including Durban, of course.

Day 1, 9:30pm: Drinks, dancing or duvet?

We’ll leave this one up to you: if your explorations earlier led you to a spot you’d like to try, now’s the time for a nightcap. Otherwise, you might want to get an early-ish night after that good meal: you’ve got an early start tomorrow.

Day 2, 7am: Hit the beach

Durban’s Golden Mile, as the beachfront is known, is at its glowy best first thing in the morning, so we’d suggest you head there early if possible. Once you’ve taken in some sights and grabbed your shots for the ‘gram, kick back and enjoy breakfast at Surf Riders Café before heading onto the sand, into the sea, or off to check out the rickshaws and spiced pineapple you’ve likely heard a bit about.

Day 2, 11:30am: (Water) parks and recreation

There are two Durban beachfront favourites beloved of locals, young and old alike: The Durban Funworld and UShaka Marine World. Whether you’ve got a few bundles of joy by your side or are just young at heart, you won’t regret buying admission to the water park’s slides or screaming your lungs out on the fun fair’s rides. If you know anyone from Durban, you’ve likely seen them post a picture of those red chairs suspended in the sky above the city’s seafront, and this is where you’ll find them. Hop on and enjoy the view, or snap your own pic from the safety of ground level.

Day 2, 1:30pm: Curry flavour

Ready for some spice? Your lunch has got to be one of the delights that Durban is famous for: bunny chow and epic curries. Pick a café near the beach to do what the surfers do and enjoy an authentic bunny chow – that’s a curry of your choice served in hollowed out white bread – or head to the beachside Maharani, a hotel straight out your mental image of Florida that’s well-known for the curries that form part of its buffet-style selection.

Day 2, 3:30pm: Luxe lounging

It’s time to treat yourself. Head up the coast to The Oyster Box Hotel. You’re likely to be tempted by their extremely good-looking (and tasting) high tea, but if you don’t have a sweet tooth or are still full from lunch, fear not: drinks while enjoying the hotel’s iconic lighthouse view won’t disappoint. For maximum relaxation, check into the spa: it’s one of the country’s best for creating a far-from-everyday-stresses atmosphere.

Day 2, 7pm: Dinner at Dante

Round off your minibreak with a meal worthy of a celebration. At this handsome venue, the decor comes close to stealing the show and the cocktail menu is impressive, but you’ll want to make sure you visit for a meal – whether it’s an ultra-casual pizza dinner or a full-on seafood feast with bubbly. If you haven’t taken enough holiday photos over the past few days, you’re in the right place to make up for lost time.