Located on South Africa’s East Coast, Durban is best known for its stunning beaches – but there’s more to this city than sun, sea and sand. If you only have 48 hours in Durban, don’t worry – we got you. Here’s our very own two-day itinerary with some of the best things to do to experience the city like a local.
Let the locals show you the city
For your first day, you’re going to want to get to know the city a bit better. Take our Inner City Walking Tour to explore Durban’s hidden gems with a local guide. On your stroll through the city streets, you’ll stop at the iconic Victoria Market, discover a secret rooftop garden in the heart of the city and explore the Zulu Muti Market of traditional medicine. Along the way, you will learn all about Durban’s history and rich culture.
We’ll also hook you up with some of the city’s best eats for lunch. Durban is listed among the world’s best places for street food, and it doesn’t get much better than the bunny chow. This local delicacy consists of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with spicy curry and is a must-try during your time here.
Learn to surf
Durban is South Africa’s best kept secret surfing spot. The warm Indian Ocean provides the perfect conditions with waves to rival some of the world’s best surf destinations. Never been on a board before? Well, travelling is THE best time to try something new and our surf lessons are suitable for complete beginners. We’ll have you catching waves in no time.
Sip + shop at Station Drive
Now you’re back on dry land, head to artsy Station Drive – a creative precinct and refurbed warehouse that is populated by local businesses. First, get your caffeine fix at quirky coffee shop Khuluma then wander over to the African Art Centre where you can browse exhibitions by local artists. The centre provides thousands of unemployed artists and craftspeople with the opportunity to earn a sustainable living – artworks include everything from fine art to beadwork to traditional Zulu pieces.
Other must-sees here include huge antique store The Exchange, craft beer brewery S43 and The Vintager for – you guessed it – vintage clothing, décor and furniture. Before you leave, be sure to #treatyourself to some traditional Italian gelato from Momenti Artisan Gelato who specialise in all natural, vegan flavours.
Oh, and if you happen to be here on the first Thursday of the month, then you’re in luck – First Thursdays is a monthly event that sees the area come alive at night with live music and entertainment, DJs and late-night shopping.
Check out The Chairman
With a well-deserved rep as ‘the coolest jazz bar in the country’, you can’t leave Durban without paying a visit to The Chairman. Music lovers will be right at home here with top class live performances and resident DJs spinning tracks that you don’t even know you love – yet. But don’t just drop in for the music – check out the artwork in their gallery and the dope décor. You and your crew will be well catered for, with creative cocktails shaken by their resident mixologists, artisanal pizzas fresh from a wood-burning oven AND a dedicated champagne bar! We’ll cheers to that.
Start the day with beach yoga
It’s an early start for this one, but we promise it’s worth it! Yoga on the beachfront has gotta be one of the best ways to start your day. Watch the sunrise over the Indian Ocean while you perfect your poses. Afterwards, when you’re feeling zen, you can enjoy a refreshing smoothie and relax.
Fuel up at Circus Circus
A popular pit-stop on Durban’s busy promenade, Circus Circus beach cafe is popular with locals and tourists alike. Their breakfast menu includes all the classics – eggs benedict, smashed avo and made to order omelettes. Grab a table on the sand and enjoy sea views while you eat.
Wander the Golden Mile + promenade
Durban has earned the nickname ‘South Africa’s Playground’ – a stroll down the promenade will show you why. The endless stretch of sandy beaches, known to locals as the Golden Mile, is a hub of activity all year round thanks to the city’s great weather and laid back vibes.
Get up close + personal with sharks
Okay, so you’ve heard of shark cage diving… but how about dropping the cage? If you’re ready for a serious adrenaline rush, then this is the activity for you. You’ll head out to Aliwal Shoal where you’ll have the option to snorkel with the sharks in open water, take a cage dive or – if you are qualified – scuba dive alongside these magnificent creatures. What a way to get out of your comfort zone!
Grab a bite at Afro’s Chicken
No doubt you’ve worked up an appetite so it’s time for lunch. A local’s favourite, Afro’s serves up fresh, simple and super affordable food, including the best chicken burgers in the city, from their laidback beachside spot. Their signature sauces are what keep people coming back – choose from chilli, lemony or a 50/50 blend. This is also a great spot to kick back, people watch and take in the hustle and bustle of the promenade.
Experience Durban at night
Depending on the nights you stay with us, there are a few different options to experience Durban after dark. You can join one of our Night Cycles to take an evening bike ride through the city, ending on Saturdays with a rooftop braai and on Thursdays with a visit to a local brewery. Here on a Friday? Then you know you gotta hit up our pub crawl. And don’t miss happy hour in our bar from 6 – 8pm every evening.
Visit our Durban page to find out more about the activities + experiences we offer and see where you could stay.