Durban hotels and experiences
For those who know Durban, it’s no surprise that the locals are friendly and exceptionally down-to-earth which is quite refreshing. One might even be sneakily tempted to say that Durban is a warmer, more laid-back version of Cape Town—but that would also be a lie.
At first glance, Durban may seem like a bit of a slow city with—dare we say, very little to offer except an abundance of parking space, humidity, and the warm Indian Ocean. After spending three memorable days in this vibrant city, you will never judge a book by its cover again!
Protea Hotel by Marriot
The newly renovated Protea Hotel’s beach-themed décor perfectly mirrors its surroundings. Coast-like carpets line the hallways and beach bags can be spotted hanging neatly around the premises.
The bar which literally lights up in the evenings adds an inviting touch of elegance and a tranquil aura.
Adorned with hanging bulbs, blue bottles and white sea shells, the hotel bar is quite the masterpiece. The Protea Hotel in Umhlanga is perfectly located for bleisure travellers and also offers an affordable and central base for holiday-makers.
The Oyster Box, Umhlanga
On the calm shores of the Umhlanga beach sits the The Oyster Box hotel, which hosts two magnificent restaurants and is nothing short of perfection. Boasting 86 individually decorated rooms, you’ll find yourself slipping from one era to the other as you explore this wonderland of a hotel. From Italian balconies, Greek statues, Moroccan courtyards, English gardens, Spanish art, to tropical inspired plant life; the hotel tour is nothing short of an overwhelming experience.
High Tea at The Oyster Box
The Oyster Box high tea is hosted at the magnificent Palm Court, a naturally lit setting, surrounded by palm trees of various shapes and sizes. The buffet table spread is an initial feast for the eyes: colourful macarons, pastries, donuts, cupcakes all elegantly laid across the table with cheese cakes, carrot cakes and lemon meringues towering above them.
The other half of the table usually features, bain-marie’s brimming with spicy samoosas, fresh meat pies, a selection of hors d’œuvre’s topped with salmon, cheese and other savoury delights. Bottomless bubbly, coffee and freshly squeezed juice is served throughout the afternoon. If this isn’t the true definition of indulgence, we’re not sure what is!
Zimbali Coastal Resort
A few kilometres beyond the city limits rests the spectacular Zimbali Coastal Resort. Zimbali is a Zulu word which loosely translates to “valley of flowers”. The resort houses a 5 star hotel, self-catering lodges, a country club and spa.
The hotel interior is a marvellous depiction of the cultural melting pot of Durban—African grandeur paired with hints of the rich oriental heritage of India.
This serene haven makes for a perfect family getaway and has just the right amount of secluded corners to cater for those who like it quiet. The resort is perched over a lush green nature reserve and at just the right height to offer phenomenal sea views.
Indulge in a bountiful breakfast as you gaze into the mesmerising depths of what lies beyond the horizon. Perhaps you prefer to enjoy a peaceful game of golf at the Zimbali Country Club as you chance upon shy bush-bucks, colourful birds, and maybe even snakes in the grass!
uShaka Marine World
uShaka Marine World is a Durban must-see for adults and kids looking for an unforgettable day trip. This tropical-Africa themed amusement park is jam-packed with activities that are sure to intrigue people of all ages.
From the gigantic water-slides at Wet n’ Wild to the Sea World aquarium, which happens to be one of the largest in the world! Boasting the largest assortment of marine life in the southern hemisphere—all housed in a real 1940’s ship wreck; uShaka undoubtedly has a perfect blend of entertainment and educational activities for all ages.
Release your kids into a playful adventure zone, featuring Africa’s largest jungle gym, a ginormous sandpit, a painting paradise pen, plus plenty more–all at Kids World.
Don’t miss the colourful and thrilling rickshaw rides along the promenade, driven by locals clad in traditional Zulu regalia. Stock up on curios along the Village Walk, unleash your wild side at the Chimp n’ Zee obstacle course or test your fear threshold as you handle some of the world’s creepiest ‘crawlies’ at Dangerous Creatures!
Watch this video to experience the highlights of our trip:
These were a few of our favourite Durban hotels and experiences. Know more about Durban travel? Share your top Durban hotels and experiences in the comments below!
Photo credits: Oyster Box Hotel, Zimbali Coastal Resort, Durban Community Tourism Organisation, uShaka Marine World