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Durban borrows its name from the Zulu word “eThekwini” meaning lagoon, or bay. Its location is on the east coast of South Africa bordering the Indian Ocean. Apart from being the biggest city within the KwaZulu-Natal province, it is also the third most populous after Cape Town and Johannesburg. The city boasts itself of the natural Durban Harbour, qualifying it as the busiest harbour in the country and the fourth-busiest in the Southern Hemisphere. Additionally, the town is the second-most significant manufacturing zone in South Africa, after Johannesburg.
Durban is rated among the top destinations for tourism due to its extensive and pristine beaches. Also, the warm subtropical climate adds to its recreational values. The city is within the larger eThekwini Municipality which comprises of neighbouring towns like Umlazi, Westville, Queensville, among others. This municipality has a combined population of approximately 3.8 million people who include a vast network of ethnic groups (Zulus, Indians, and British). Due to the huge number of people, the whole eThekwini Municipality qualifies among the largest on the African Indian Ocean coastline.
Durban city’s population, however, is approximately 595,000 people. It is rich in different cultural traditions and beliefs. Besides the Zulus, who form the largest single cultural group, it also includes people of both Indian and British origins. They are influential to Durban’s welfare because of their religions, unique cultures, and cuisines. According to the city’s statistical data, 38% of its population is below the age of 19 years while 68% of its population is of working age.
The majority of the city’s informal sector is made of semi-formal and informal street vendors who sell commodities from spices and clothing to traditional medicine. Despite its huge population, the city is generally secure, making it a special tourist destination.
The Fugitives’ Drift Battlefields: Located almost 265 kilometres (165 miles) from the city of Durban is the attraction of one of the most common battlefields in history. It provides intriguing battlefield sceneries of all the area’s Zulu war battle sites including Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana. With the lead of an accredited guide, you’ll learn about the courageous Zulu warriors that triumphed over the British Army at Isandlwana. You’ll also be lucky to hear the popular historical tale of Rorke’s Drift (an army of 4,000 Zulu warriors attacking 139 British soldiers).
Shakaland – Zulu Cultural Centre: About 156 kilometres (97 miles) from Durban is the Shakaland – Zulu Cultural Centre that presents an exhilarating Zulu experience. Here, you can learn about everything with regards to the Zulu culture in one rememberable day! From experiencing the live performance of traditional dances by locals to a traditional meal, your experience will give you an outlook into the cultural aspects of the Zulus. As if that’s not all, you’ll learn the art and expertise of crafting cultural huts, pottery, and brewing local beer.
The Umgeni Steam Railway: This thrilling attraction is situated roughly 45 kilometres (28 miles) from Durban city. If you want to travel back in time while riding aboard a vintage steam train on one of South Africa’s earliest rails, then this is your way to go! Fortunately, it’s an appreciated scenery by all groups of visitors. What other better way to wow at the region’s appealing landscape than through the train as it traverses the valley of a Thousand Hills (between Ichanga and Kloof Stations).
Travelling to and from Durban by air is made easy with various nearby airports. The nearest airport to Durban is the King Shaka International Airport – about 40 kilometres (25 miles) away. This airport provides flight services to both local and international planes with frequently scheduled flights to and from Nairobi, Dubai, London, Windhoek, Mauritius, Istanbul, and Gaborone.
Another airport that is close to Durban is the Pietermaritzburg Airport which serves the town of Pietermaritzburg and its environs. It’s about 75 kilometres (47 miles) away from Durban and it serves as a convenient alternative to the King Shaka International Airport for people intending to visit Durban by flight.
At both airports, you’ll be lucky to find remarkable car rental companies that will offer you valuable car hires at affordable prices. Popular companies at the King Shaka International Airport include AVIS Rent a Car, Tempest Car Hire, King Shaka Airport Car Hire, and Europcar. At Pietermaritzburg Airport, you’ll find rental services from companies like AVIS Car Sales, Hertz Rent a Car, First Car Rental, and Europcar.
The roads leading to and from Durban are well developed due to its key location as the port of entry into South Africa. The N3 Western Freeway leads west out of the city joining Durban with Gauteng. The N2 Outer Ring Road connects Durban with Mpumalanga to the north and Eastern Cape to the South. The Western Freeway is certainly vital as it aids trucks in transporting freight to and from the port to the Witwatersrand.
Fortunately, the majority of the car rental services will provide you with a GPS to aid in navigating. The city also offers ample parking areas like 85 on Field Parking, Durban Parking Services, Royal Parking, Workshop Parking, Interpark, Nicole Square Parking. The speed limits as stipulated in the South African National Road Traffic Act of 1989, are; 120 km/h (74 mph) on freeways, 100 km/h (62 mph) on public roads outside an urban location, and 60 km/h (37 mph) on public roads within an urban location.