Exciting Things To Do In Durban For Under R250

[Updated 18 March 2021]

It’s official, the rest of the world finally woke up to what Durbanites knew all along – Durban is cool. The New York Times featured Durban as 7th on its 52 places to go to back in 2015. A little bit Rio, a little bit Miami, eThekwini (the local name for Durbs) is in a class of her own.

Here are 55 things to do in Durban for under R250:

1. Johnny’s Rotis

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Image courtesy of @nixipix26 via Instagram

Also known at Sunrise Chip ‘N Ranch, Johnny’s Rotis is an institution. You haven’t been to Durban if you haven’t eaten the triple cheese and chip roti with mutton gravy after a night out. They’re open 24/7.

2. Try a spicy pineapple at the Spice Emporium

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Image courtesy of @shivi_505 via Instagram

A trip to Durban wouldn’t be complete without trying out the hot dishes that form part of the city’s famed reputation! One of the most unconventional treats you must taste is a spicy pineapple from the Spice Emporium. Besides the mix of sweet and hot, you’ll also find a huge stock of spices at the emporium.

 

3. Walk on the sky at Moses Mabhida Stadium

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The Skycar at Moses Mabhida Stadium

Built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the enormous stadium has many adrenaline-inducing activities on offer. The Sky Car, a single cabin that runs up steel tracks on the northern arch of the stadium and is designed to roll down the arch under its own gravity (in case of load shedding), has a 106-metre vantage point. Then there’s a Big Sky Walk along the arch of the stadium (don’t look down!) or a beach glide on a segway for those seeking a more serene adventure.

Looking for a place to stay? Check out the best hotels in Durban.

4. Conquer the waves at WavePark Gateway

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Image courtesy of @fal_larsch via Instagram

The WavePark at Gateway flaunts some great waves. Tear things up on the Flow rider or for something a little tamer have a go on the Supertube rides (perfect for keeping the kids busy in the school holidays).

5. Afro’s Chicken

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Image courtesy of @gareth1519 via Instagram

This afro-chic beach-side takeaway spot is right on the promenade. The food is simple and delicious and comes in two flavours- hot is chili, koel is lemony. Burger meals start at just 60 bucks.

Also read: Top 10 Durban restaurants & cafes

6. The Chairman

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The Chairman by That Skattie

This sophisticated hole-in-the-wall jazz bar is a well-kept secret. The space wouldn’t be out of place in Buenos Aires or Catalonia. Expect to find good music and an inviting ambience. You can also look forward to exceptional cocktail blends, such as Surrender Your Booty and delicious bar snacks like their Coco-Cola beef ribs.

7. Go Godzilla at Mini Town

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Image courtesy of @thegypsytourist via Instagram

The perfect place to practice your Godzilla destroying eThekwini pose, Mini Town is fun for kids and grown-ups too.

8. Mitchell Park Zoo

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Image courtesy of @fia-zrck via Instagram

Much-beloved by Durban parents, the Mitchell Park Zoo is where kids can explore the grounds that used to be an ostrich farm but now houses crocodiles, buck, meerkats, cranes, flamingoes, wallabies, monkeys and tortoises. There’s also the Blue Zoo tea garden for coffee and cake. Find out more from the knowledgeable Zoologist.

9. Nostalgia at Fun World

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Fun World by Khidra Stevens

Though a little scruffy these days, Fun World is a beach amusement park with tons of nostalgic value. Founded in the 1930s by Arthur Thornton, Durban Fun World started out as a miniature steam train ride. The cableway was added in 1970 and still offers a great view of the city. Entrance is free and you can buy affordable tickets at the kiosk for the rides.

10. Join Durban’s edition of ‘First Thursdays’

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Image courtesy of @marchelle__ via Instagram

Experience a creative overflow in the Station Drive Precinct. Admire wonderful street artworks, enjoy the entertainment with live music and join a free Bollywood dance class! There are also flea markets, art exhibitions and occasional salsa sessions. Make sure you’re near the Station Drive Precinct on the first Thursday of each month from 18:00.

11. Surf’s up

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Image courtesy of @vos14hj via Instagram

Grab a board and do as the locals do on Addington Beach. There are plenty of surf shops to book a private or group lesson.

12. Faith47 murals

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Image courtesy of @curiocity.africa via Instagram

Faith 47 is a South-African born street artist with a strong sense of social justice. You can find her work in countries all over the world including Sweden, Scotland, the USA and China. Visit Warwick Junction in central Durban for a closer look at her murals, including life-like portraits of the traders on columns adjacent to the Early Morning Market.

13. Rivertown Beerhall

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Image courtesy of Karen Van Pletsen via Facebook

The Rivertown Beerhall is an eThekwini Municipality initiative that started with the activation and naming of the area during the UIA 2014 Durban Architecture Congress. It was built in 1914, and opened again on 3rd August to 10th August 2014, 100 years on. Grab a beer and enjoy live music in this historical space. They aren’t open every day so visit their Facebook page to check ahead of time.

14. KZNSA Gallery

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Image courtesy of @nirosha_g via Instagram

This modern, airy building is an inviting space. Along with upcoming and experimental artists, the gallery has an extensive collection of well-known South African artists such as Penny Siopis and Isaac Sithole. Enjoy a snack in the gallery café which spills out into the garden. Entrance is free.

15. Wilson’s Wharf

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Image courtesy of Yuvi K Photography at 5 Star Durban

The place to see Durban Harbour, the busiest port in Africa, in action. You’ll get a glimpse of luxury yachts, racing boats, hulking tankers, trawlers and tiny optimist sailing boats as they go by. At Wilson’s Wharf there are many restaurants and fast-food spots to choose from and the flickering lights on the water at night are particularly atmospheric.

16. Tour of Warwick Junction

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Image courtesy of @carmenrayanderson via Instagram

Take a guided tour through the nine markets in central Durban to get a feel for the pulse of the city. The Markets of Warwick Tour takes you through Victoria Street Market, the Impepho and Lime Market, Brook Street Market, Bead Market, Herb Market, Music Bridge Market, Berea Street Market, the Bovine Head Market and the Early morning or ‘Mother’ Market, which hosts over 640 stalls with vendors selling fresh produce, flowers, spices and live poultry. In the Bovine Market, cow heads are collected by trolley operators from local butcheries. The cooked meat is then presented on wooden chopping boards with condiments for customers to eat.

17. The Golden Mile

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Image courtesy of @blazvogelnik via Instagram

The Golden Mile runs roughly from South Beach (uShaka Marine World) to Suncoast Casino in a perfect gilded stretch of sea and sun. Longer than a mile, it’s the best place to do an early morning beach run, rollerblade or cycle à la Ipanema Beach. Or, you could rent a bike for an hour or two from Xpression on the Beach.

Also read: Top 10 beaches in Cape Town and Durban

18. Grab a cold one at Wahooz

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Image courtesy of Urban lifestyle Blog

Stop in at this Hawaiian-vibe beach-side restaurant at uShaka Marine World for a beer among the palm trees. Enjoy the laidback atmosphere and fresh, tasty meals.

19. Umgeni River Bird Park

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Kids will love the Umgeni River Bird Park – they have 900 birds from 180 species in the park, a free-flight bird show, restaurant and playground.

20. Durban Natural Science Museum

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Image courtesy of I Love Durban

On the first floor of the magnificent Durban City Hall, this trove of dinosaurs, fossils and taxidermied predators will enchant both kids and grown-ups. Entrance is free.

21. Sunset catamaran cruise

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Image courtesy of Hakuna Matata Charters

Watch the powerful east coast sun set over tropical Durban aboard a catamaran sundowner cruise. Hakuna Matata Charters offer half-hour and one-hour sunset cruises, and the boats can be rented for private functions too.

22. Alayam Hindu Temple

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Image courtesy of Living the Kiff Life

This beautiful temple is well worth a visit. Make sure to observe the intricate carvings of Ganesha, Shiva and Vishnu on the temple facade. The antique doors that lead to the cellar were salvaged from a temple built on the banks of the Umbilo River in 1875, which was later destroyed by floods. Remember to dress respectably.

23. Have lunch at parc

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Image courtesy of @sthamazubane via Instagram

Make sure you head to this café in Glenwood when you’d like to take a break from exploring Durban’s city centre. You’ll find some tasty Mediterranean-inspired specials and a chilled-out vibe. Just what you need after experiencing the rush of the city’s urban scenes.

24. Bay of Plenty for a quick swim

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Image courtesy of Durban is Yours

The best thing about Durban is that, winter or summer, it’s always a good idea to kick off your slops and leap into that beautifully warm sea. The Bay of Plenty, at the heart of the beachfront, also offers good surf conditions and beach volleyball.

25. The Sardine Run

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Image by @matt.perry.963 via Instagram

Nearly every year between June and July, billions of sardines travel along the east coast of South Africa attracting an abundance of dolphins, whales and sharks. If you are lucky enough to see the sardine run while in Durban it will be worth renting a boat to get a closer look. For a less pricey option, hire a kayak from Ocean Ventures uShaka. You’ll launch in front of uShaka and paddle to the Vetjies Reef, past the shark nets and out to the limestone reef where there’s a 1940s shipwreck. If you’re exceptionally lucky and the timing is right, you’ll catch the hundreds of dolphins tailing the sardine run.

26. Freedom Café

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Image courtesy of @jo.vdm via Instagram

This bright space is brilliant for an all-day breakfast. Do pop in to their famous Chocolate & Cheesecake Bar to sinfully indulge in their delicious treats.

27. KwaMuhle Museum

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Image courtesy of @gcinizulu via Instagram

Once the Native Administration Department, step through the copper-covered entrance doors to find a post-apartheid museum documenting the history experienced by all of Durban’s residents. The photographs and artefacts on display portray a city in search of an identity within a new political context. Entrance is free.

28. Visit the world’s rarest plant at Durban Botanical Gardens

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Image courtesy of @charlie.romeo_ via Instagram

The Durban Botanical Gardens boasts the rarest cycad collection in the world. Cycads, have been around before the dinosaurs and have survived three mass extinction events although they are in danger of extinction today. Wood’s Cycad is reputed to be the world’s rarest plant. You can find it growing peacefully near the old reservoir. The orchid collection and palm grove are also worth visiting. Entrance to the gardens is free. Attend one of the concerts at the lake which take place throughout the year. Read up on the concert schedule and buy tickets.

29. Roma Revolving Restaurant

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Image courtesy of @bushmastere2s via Instagram

Enjoy the kitsch but fun seventies dining atmosphere of the Roma Revolving restaurant on the 32nd floor of the John Ross building. The Roma is the only revolving restaurant in the southern hemisphere. You’ll be privy to an incredible rotating view 105 metres up in the air while eating hearty Italian food. If you’re not hungry, head to Gino’s Bar one floor above for drinks in the sky.

30. Skate park fun

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Image courtesy of @shanebotesphoto via Instagram

Have exhilarating fun at the beachfront skate park in front of the Bay of Plenty- entrance is free. Your other option is WavePark in Umhlanga.

31. Hop aboard a Ricksha Bus

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Take a three-hour whirl around Durban on the top deck of a Ricksha bus. It’s practically always blazingly sunny so enjoy the sun on your face as you pass all of Durban’s major attractions. There are two tours per day, seven days a week. The morning tour starts at 09:00 and ends at midday and the afternoon tour starts at 13:00 and ends at 16:00. They accept cash only.

32. Little Gujarat

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Image courtesy of Durban is Yours

Arguably the most authentic and affordable Indian food in the city, Little Gujarat offers a feast of delicious vegetarian bunny chows, samoosas, pakoras, bhajis, roti breads, rice and pickles.

33. Watch a horse race at Greyville Racecourse

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Image courtesy of @edusport_travel via Instagram

This racecourse is often associated with the Durban July, one of South Africa’s biggest horse races and a major fashion event. On any other day though, you can get free entry to watch the races (except during major race days)! The Greyville Racecourse offers a picnic area where you can relax, with plenty of food outlets. If golfing tickles your fancy, you can play a round at the Royal Durban Golf Course, in the centre of the track.

34. Durban International Film Festival

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Image courtesy of @home_made_a_short_film via Instagram

This film festival is an unmissable event on Durban’s annual calendar. It’s one of the oldest of its kind in southern Africa. Catch it from mid- to late-July. The festival also serves as a launch pad for Wavescape, a film and music festival celebrating a mutual love of surfing and ocean culture.

35. Florida Road shopping

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Image courtesy of @sergiebb via Instagram

In between stopping in at the many greats cafés, bars and restaurants on Durban’s glam dame Florida Road) there’s the beautiful emporium of wooden and ceramic homeware at Cécile & Boyds. For a throwback to the 90s, visit Art Film Co, a discerning DVD rental store, where you can find curated DVDs.

Also, be sure not to miss the burgers at Dropkick Murphy’s!

36. Relax with a gondola boat ride

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Image courtesy of Zulumoon Gondolas

You’ll catch wonderful views of the city of Durban with a gondola boat ride courtesy of Zulumoon Gondolas. This boat ride is an ideal way to celebrate a special occasion and is perfect for romantic experiences or a refreshing activity for the family.

37. Beachwood mangroves

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Image courtesy of John A Forbes

This mangrove reserve is a national monument and contains three species of rare mangroves – black, red and white. Walk along the sturdy wooden platforms to catch a glimpse of mudskippers, fiddler crabs and rare kingfishers among the muddy water and white sand.

38. Dine with sharks at uShaka Marine World

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Image courtesy of Amada44 via Wikipedia Commons

The fifth largest aquarium in the world, the building of uShaka was pivotal in the revitalization of the Point area. Expect water rides, penguin, seal and dolphin shows, sharks circling you as you eat dinner, a dangerous creatures section and an extensive shopping walk.

Also read: Durban Hotels and Experiences

39. House of Curries

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Image courtesy of @mini.rana via Instagram

Famous for their tender lamb curry, mini-bunny chows and spicy bean curry, House of Curries is an old favourite on Florida Road. Relaxed Durban vaab for days. You can choose a main course for under R100.

40. Go ice skating

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Image courtesy of @gavinherwood via Instagram

Durban’s Ice Rink got a revamp recently and is bigger and better. This is one of the city’s most exceptional activities. During these sessions, you can also test your skills with a 7-metre indoor climbing wall for only R20.

41. Lekker vibes at Nev the Barber

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Image courtesy of Lola Malone

Nev offers a slick haircut with attitude, “kiff cuts, laka vibes” is the idea behind this punchy Glenwood barbershop. You’ll see posters up with zingers like “vibe the vibe” and “waai from here”. Right next door is the much-loved Corner Café where you can munch a panini and drink a flat white. And the good news is that Nev is opening another spot in Umhlanga.

42. Take a steam train through the Valley of 1000 Hills

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Tucked in the verdant Valley of 1000 Hills is the village of Inchanga. Catch a steam train from Kloof to Inchanga’s small Victorian station in the rolling hills of Kwa Zulu and back again. There are trains on the first and last Sunday of every month, seats fill up quickly so book in advance. Avid photographers will enjoy the early-morning curling smoke shots over the dramatic rolling hills. Stop in for a pint at Stoker’s Arms in Kloof.

 

43. Giba Gorge Biking

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Image courtesy of Find it Faster

For adrenaline lovers, Giba Gorge boasts a Supercross, BMX and cycle track. There are also calmer spots for picnics with space for kids to run around. If you don’t have bicycles and helmets you can rent them from the independently run “Yolo Cycles” within the park.

44. Inanda Mountain

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Image courtesy of Durban Green Corridor

Drive 50 mins out of the CBD to Inanda Mountain for Durban’s most incredible view. The road ends practically at the edge of the cliffs that plunge down to Inanda Dam. Photographers and birders will appreciate the Lanner falcons and banded Harrier hawks that ride the thermals every morning.

45. Mzinyathi Falls and Rasta Caves

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Image courtesy of Durban Green Corridor

A 20-minute drive from Gateway, Mzinyathi falls is relatively unknown. The dramatic sandstone amphitheatre makes this a popular rock climbing spot. In summer after heavy rain, the falls have an impressive volume. The Rastafarian caves are a sacred place where Rastafarians who work in the city during the week come on the weekends. The path to these caves is quite difficult to find, contact the Green Corridor to arrange a tour to the caves, falls and surrounding area.

46. Virginia Nature Reserve

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Image courtesy of Melancholy Mons

The Virginia Nature Reserve in Durban North provides a 38-hectare respite from the suburbs. It has winding paths of coastal scrub filled with Natal figs, hibiscus, grey duiker, spotted genet and dwarf mongooses. It’s a great spot for bird watching. Give yourself a good two hours to ramble around.

47. Umhlanga Pier – the most beautiful pier in the world

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Image courtesy of Durban Gov

CNN has crowned Umhlanga Pier the most beautiful pier in the world. The whale-bone skeleton structure is striking and the favourite of sunset Instagrammers. The pier also performs an important function as an extension of an underground culvert that helps disperse excess stormwater into the sea.

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Image courtesy of @trevinmaharajphotography via Instagram

Now that you have more to add to your list of things to do in this popular South African city, pack your bags and book cheap flights to Durban! What do you love most about Durbs? Share your favourite things to do in Durban in the comments below.

Find your Flysafair, British Airways, Kulula or Mango flight to Durban with popular flight routes from Johannesburg to Durban or Bloemfontein to Durban.

Featured image on top courtesy of @awharvard via Instagram


All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information.

Our Readers Comments

  1. @trevinmaharajphoyography, super excited to see one of your amazing photos featured here… Well done bro.. Keep the passion..

  2. Good day. Please assist with the contact number you have on the advertisement for Wilson’s Wharf. It belongs to Julio’s On The Bay | 076 440 0057 | Durban and not to one of the current operators that are here 7 days a week?

    Change : 076 440 0057 to 061 435 8202

    Please look on Google search who will be available to answer calls about Wilson’s Wharf the Best?

    • Hi Barend,

      Thank you for reaching out and the feedback.

      Due to Covid-19 with some places closing, we have since updated this blog by removing all contact details.

  3. For the backpacker or younger traveler to Durban, South Africa, Moonhotel in Clairwood is also good for accommodation. Affordable and excellent customer services. Worth having a lock at.

  4. For the backpacker or younger traveler to Durban, South Africa, Moonhotel in Clairwood is also good for accommodation. Affordable and excellent customer services. Worth having a lock at. I also agree with JayJay Seepurshad about the Hari Krishna temple as well as Dawn on the Shongweni food market,

    • Hi Kavisha,

      Thanks for your tip on Moonhotel in Clairwood. This is good to know.

  5. hi…what about HARE KRISHNA TEMPLE…it has great architecture and a great vegetarian restaurant

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for the feedback. We will be sure to remember this for our next blog.

  6. how can we get our market featured here ? we run a bimonthly market in durban north called KZN VEGAN MARKET

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      We will keep you in mind for the next blog we put out.

    • I produce a show on Durban youth radio and I wanna do something about this,This coming week,I believe a radio interview would do justice

  7. There are revolving restaurants in Australia in the Southern Hemisphere

  8. And also the Natal Sharks Board tours.

  9. Please include Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve when you post this article again.

    • Hi Carolyn,

      Thanks for the tip. Will keep this in mind the next time we do a blog for Durban.

    • haha remeber when my dad dropped me and my two friends of at stainbank. ended up walking and getting lost. hearing monkey sounds and seeing snake holes was hilarious but frightening at the same time. we had the best time ever:)

    • Please include Stainbank reserve in Yellowwood park as I have noted that it still is not featured

    • Hi Mark,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We appreciate all suggestions and feedback.

  10. This is a GREAT article, thank you! I can’t wait for our trip to Durban next week. It will take some planning to get to even half of these awesome places 🙂

  11. Shongweni food market is really enjoyable for the whole family including furry pets

  12. Hi there

    Is there an updated list? I see some of the items here were time-specific.

    I am going to Durban in March and look forward to exploring some of the city’s gems.

    • Hi there,

      That sounds amazing. Enjoy every moment.

      You welcome to go onto our website http://www.travelstart.co.za

      Under our Blog section: http://www.travelstart.co.za/blog/ (on the top right you will see a search bar – type Durban in, and any Durban related blogs we have put out will come up in date order)

      Hope this helps. And enjoy your time is Durban.

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