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is big, brash and the antithesis of Cape Town. This is the Atlantic
City of South Africa, and it's determined to part you from your wad
with minimum intellectual input and and maximum speed.
the promenade comes in. Loaded with attractions from the uShaka Marine
World at the south end to casinos and beaches reaching to infinity
and beyond at the north end, it's liberally scattered with kiosks,
hustlers, cotton candy, sand, skate parks, pickpockets and - at night
You've got to admire the total disregard for the law of the Durban beach.
But keep your wits about you and your wallet well zipped away and
this is a very lively, happening city, with fantastic wide, clean
beaches, warm surf (24C in summer) protected by shark nets and lifeguards,
endless things to do and watch on and off the promenade and great
bars, restaurants and clubs.
The Golden Mile is the local nickname for the busy hi-rise development alongside the beaches here. Visiting during the holidays ensures you'll never walk alone, but visit off season and it'll be you and the surfers, mano a mano.
Kiddie pools off the beach.
Downtown has a cluster of reasonable museums but most touristy shops
seem to have migrated to malls so there isn't much to keep you away
from the beach/promenade zone - except, perhaps, some of the splendid
golf courses scattered around.
To keep you and your foreign wallet intact the beach strip is patrolled by police, monitored by CCTV cameras and well lit at night. No problem. But, as usual, avoid dark deserted areas, and don't wander around in the middle of the night, especially between the port and downtown.
Rocks with Durban city centre in the distance.
A quieter, safer (duller, some would say) alternative to Durban is
a few kilometres north at Umhlanga
Rocks, where luxury apartment blocks and hotels line the broad sweeps of sand and appear to embrace a quieter generation that no longer surf and are in bed by 10pm with a cup of cocoa.
Though Umhlanga's not safer when the sardines are on the run, pursued by gulls and Great Whites!
Durban not only has warmer waters than Cape Town but it also has warmer weather, with average summer highs of 28C (82F) and 23C (73F) in winter and lows of 21C (70F) in summer and 12C (54F) in winter. Summer is, of course, November-February.
The best time to go there is when rainfall is low and extremes of cool and heat don't occur, in the shoulder months, April May, August, September.
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