If you happen to visit the city of Durban, you might want to get into its cultural and historical atmosphere. There is no better way to do that than by visiting its most important museums. They will give you a rather accurate idea of the city’s rich history, depicting Durban’s military and colonial life and its strategic role as a port city.
Killie Campbell Africana Museum
Considered by many to be the most important museum in Durban, it occupies the former Dutch-style home of Dr. Killie Campbell, a great collector of South African history. The valuable heritage of Dr. Campbell includes pieces of Zulu art, books and photographs that tell the history of the Zulu’s and Natal, an ethnology collection, pieces of furniture and precious sculptures.
Opening hours: Tuesday and Thursday – 8:00 to 23:00.
Find it: at 220 Gladys Mazibuko Road.
Natural Science Museum
Another worthwhile stop and great for children is Durban’s Natural Science Museum, located in the majestic City Hall building. This museum will provide you with a clear idea about Africa’s wild life (you will have the chance to closely analyse taxidermies like an elephant, wild dogs, a leopard, birds and insects). Don’t miss the popular galleries with stuffed birds (flamingos, penguins, ostriches) and giant insect replicas and kids will love the interactive displays.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday - 08:30 to 17:00, Sunday and Public Holidays - 11:00 to 17:00.
Find it: at 1st Floor Durban City Hall (Smith Street entrance).
Old Court House Museum
History buffs will love the Old Court House Museum. Find out more about the early history of this region through interesting replicas of Durban style settlements. Feel the colonial perfume of the past in a beautiful building that was once a Court House, located very close to the City Hall.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday – 8:30 to 16:00, Sunday – 11:00 to 16:00.
Find it: at 77 Samora Machel Street (previously Aliwal Street).
Kwa Muhle Museum
For a quantum of true history don’t miss Kwa Muhle Museum
! The elegant building which houses it was once the Native Administration Department. Today this museum documents the troubled Apartheid
era, describing the harsh life in that period. The exhibited photos show images of a city in search of its identity during changing times.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday – 08:30 to 16:00. Sundays and public holidays – closed.
Find it: at 130 Bram Fischer Road (previously Ordnance Road).
Natal Maritime Museum
Set on the beautiful harbour coast of Durban, the Natal Maritime Museum symbolizes the city’s importance as a maritime trade centre. Durban has an established seafaring tradition and, due to its status of Africa’s busiest port, it had to have such a special sight. The museum is housed by three floating ships: a minesweeper dating from World War Two, a steam tug and a pilot boat. If you are passionate about maritime collectables and culture you will really enjoy a day at this original museum.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday – 8:30-16:00 Sunday – 11:00-15:45.
Find it: at Bay End, Aliwal Street.
Admission: Adults: R5 | Children: R3.
All five museums will help you understand the rich and beautiful history of Durban.
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