There is always something appealing about a city that has its face turned permanently towards the sea. Durban is just such a city. Although it is ranked as South Africa’s third biggest, it is little more than a third of the size of Johannesburg in terms of population (3.7 million inhabitants compared to 9.2 million) – and has more of a small-town feel as a con-sequence. Moreover, on any given day, you will find plenty of the locals on the beach.

In part, this is due to the climate. Durban lies far further north than its coastal colleagues Cape Town and Port Elizabeth – and even in July, the middle of South Africa’s winter, you can expect temperatures of around 22ºC. This ready warmth sends people dashing to the Golden Mile – the string of beaches laid out where Downtown meets the Indian Ocean. Many of them go holding surfboards – as the waves are as reliable as the weather.

Not that there is nothing more to Durban than its waterfront. Its Botanic Gardens, opened as long ago as 1849, showcase some of the plant-life which thrives in the city’s sub-tropical context – while there are plenty of excellent restaurants (Durban’s sizeable Indian demographic ensures that curry is a popular dish). And if you do not fancy tackling the ocean on a board, the vast Gateway Theatre shopping centre has an artificial “wavepark”.

The Golden Mile

The Golden Mile is one of the most popular attractions in Durban. The paved walkway that runs alongside Durban’s best beaches, North Beach, South Beach and Addington beach that are all great for swimming and surfing. Spend a while taking in your beautiful surroundings with an ice cream or visit many of the attractions along the Golden Mile such as the uShaka Marine world, Mini Town or the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment world.

Try Bunny Chow

Bunny Chow is an incredibly popular South African delicacy created in the city of Durban, but don’t worry, no bunnies are harmed in the making of this culinary delight. It’s made up of half a loaf of bread that has been hollowed out and filled with a delicious vegetarian or meat curry. The history of the bunny chow is shrouded in mystery. Some say that it became popular when chefs started serving this as a self-contained take out dish from their windows for South Africa’s black population to enjoy after the apartheid laws prevented them from eating inside restaurants.

Moses Mabhida Stadium

The Moses Mabhida Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium boasting 56,000 seats. Not only is this a great landmark of Durban, the stadium is also home to many adrenaline inducing activities for the whole family to enjoy. Even though The British & Irish Lions will not be playing a match there, it is still worth a visit to ride up to the top of the arch that stretches over the pitch for an unrivalled panoramic views of both the ocean and the city below.

PheZulu safari park

Just 30 minutes away from Durban is the PheZulu safari park. Here you can head out on an hour-long game drive with an experienced guide to inform you about the range of animals you will pass. These include Giraffes, Wildebeests and Blesbok. A crocodile and snake park are also part of this safari park along with the PheZulu village that gives visitors an insight into the Gasa Clan who perform a traditional Zulu dance – a great cultural experience.

Umhlanga Rocks Beach

Umhlanga Main beach is another one of South Africa’s finest Blue Flag beaches. Walk along the promenade lined with shops and restaurants to the soundtrack of the waves hitting the shore. Not only is this a great place for a little relaxation on the beach there’s also the opportunity to visit two popular landmarks, the Umhlanga Lighthouse and the Whalebone Pier. Both are great photo opportunities!