Durban or eThekwini as it is known in the local Zulu dialect, is a modern African city that has opened its doors to visitors from all corners of the world! The city has a population of over three million people and tourism has played a major role in its growth.? Durban lies in the historic Zulu Kingdom?of KwaZulu-Natal. However, its modern look is quite different from the historic images of the exploits of the Zulu warriors.
The KwaZulu-Natal region has a diversity of attractions? unsurpassed in the whole of South Africa. It encompasses the towering Drankensburg mountains, sublime tropical beaches, top rated nature and game reserve, historic battle fields, the rolling green hills of the Natal Midlands, greater St Lucia Wetland Park and the City of Durban itself. Actually it is a tourism hub of note. It has a well-developed infrastructure?dedicated to providing?all services tourists could possibly need. To be honest, South Africa’s tourism product is probably one of the best developed on the continent.
Travelling on an invitation to cover this year’s Indaba, Africa’s top tourism trade fair —and third largest in the global calendar — would open up a chance of a lifetime to visit this marvellous city right on the edge of the Indian ocean. Indaba, which is Zulu word for coming together to discuss matters of importance, has overtime grown to be an exhibition avenue by many tourism stakeholders keen to showcase what Southern Africa’s? best tourism products has to offer the rest of the world.
The journey from Nairobi’s?Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Oliver Tambo Airport in Johannesburg took slightly over four hours. On arrival, we transferred to the local departure lounge as we waited to board a South African Airways to King Shaka International Airport in Durban, which would become my ‘temporary’ home for a couple of days. We met true Africa’s hospitality at its best as we arrived at the King Shaka Airport to a grand reception by a welcoming party from the organising committee of Indaba 2012. A bevy of beauties clad in striking red T-shirts and black trousers were on hand to usher us into the courtesy buses to our hotel in downtown Durban. With smooth roads that lacked a single pothole led us past through a huge sugarcane plantations as we criss-crossed?the beautiful scenery.
This is sugarcane country by the looks of it, and approaching the airport from the air almost looks as if you are landing in a cane field, until the tarmac comes up to meet you. Large ocean going ships waiting to dock in Africa’s busiest port, the Port of Durban, were visible from the side windows of the coach we were riding in. The magnificent Southern Sun Hotel, part of Tsogo Sun chain of hotels , a towering five star resort located a stone throwaway from the golden beaches of the Durban coast was all inspiring.
On hand to welcome us were Zulu traditional dancers and the hotel staff who promptly checked us in. From my hotel room on the 20th floor the view beneath was breath-taking. Located on a scenic location around the Natal Bay?where waters remain calmer throughout the year, the Golden mile next to the city’s main beach features a host of entertainment spots with several seafood restaurants that straddle the location adding to the beauty of the place.
A paradise for swimmers, which is evident from the large number of enthusiastic water lovers seen in water each day alongside fishermen and surfers alike, Durban waters, I learn, are safe to swim in with no fear of shark attacks. Shark nets are in place to prevent the sea predator from coming too close to the shore.
Voted by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 family beach holiday cities in the world, Durban has a wide range of accommodation options to suit your needs and requirements.
These range from up-market hotels, holiday apartments, guest houses, B&B, backpacker establishments? and bush lodges. In terms of cuisine, Durban restaurants offer a variety in terms of style, location and vibe with all tastes being satisfied here.