The bustling port city is a Mecca for locals and international tourists alike who travel to the cosmopolitan metropolis to seek out their share of sun, sand, surf and sea. With subtropical weather that ranges from balmy to scorching all year round, warm ocean waters and an expanse of palm-lined beachfront, it’s no surprise that the sunny city is sometimes referred to as South Africa’s Miami!
One of the major attractions on the tourist map is the eight kilometre stretch of beaches, hotels, restaurants and promenades known as the Golden Mile. At one end of this stunning strip is the highly popular South Beach (sometimes referred to as uShaka Beach after the marine theme park located nearby).
As far as holiday beaches go, this one pretty much takes the cake. With lifeguards on patrol and shark nets to keep out any unwanted visitors, South Beach is the perfect spot for a family vacation, offering safe swimming for children and sheltered surf conditions to hone your skills on the waves. You can hire a surfboard, canoe or surf-ski to test your aquatic abilities or take a guided lesson if you are a complete newbie.
South Beach’s major attraction is the famed uShaka Marine World. This marine theme park is the largest of its kind on the continent and boasts one of the biggest aquariums in the world. It is an ideal spot to take the kids so they can learn a little more about our fishy friends at the aquarium or get their heart rates up on the rides at the Wet ‘n Wild amusement park.
South Beach also offers easy access to the uShaka Village Walk where you can grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants or cafes or spend a bit of time browsing the African themed shopping area. If shopping’s not your thing, chill out on the sun-drenched beach and tan to your heart’s content. If you’re a little weary of getting sand in all the wrong places, spread your towel on the grass banks at the top of the beach area and enjoy the waves from a distance.
Evenings on South Beach can be spent sipping sundowners at the heavenly Moyo cocktail bar on the pier or delving into a tasty meal at one of the uShaka restaurants. Try out Wahooz on the promenade for live music and a fun vibe, or pop into the Cargo Hold for a more sophisticated ambiance. If you’re on a family beach holiday, take the kids out for an a-la-carte meal at the Upper Deck Restaurant or grab some takeaways and have your meal on the promenade.
The area boasts a range of places to stay from inexpensive B&Bs such as the Botany Bay Lodge to more exclusive accommodation like the three-star Blue Waters Hotel. The Garden Court Holiday Inn is conveniently located near uShaka and offers a range of facilities suitable for leisure and business travellers.
Whether you’re taking the family on a beach holiday, treating your partner to a weekend away or zipping into town for a conference, South Beach is a fantastic base to explore the thriving city of Durban.