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The South African city of Durban is a pleasant mix of sun, sea, beaches, a busy port and traditional African culture. Its population is also very diverse: Africans, Europeans and Asians (mostly Indians) define the scene. Tourists are mainly attracted by the so-called Golden Mile along the beach: a chain of hotels, tourist attractions and amusement centers. In the hinterland you can learn more about South Africa's history and the Zulu culture, for instance in Phezulu Safari Park.
Durban has 3.5 million inhabitants. There is a large minority of Indians, descendants of people that were taken from India by the British to work on the sugar plantations.
Durban is located in the east of South Africa on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Except for the business district and the port, Durban is built on hills. The western suburbs are high above the city (up to 850 meters).
The local economy relies on the port and tourism. Durban's port is the largest of South Africa. The sugar plantations close to the city still play an important role. Through the port, a large proportion of the sugar is exported. Furthermore, Durban is a popular tourist destination. Yet, the city also has major problems. Many companies have moved away and the unemployment rate is around thirty percent.
Durban has a brand new airport, which was built for the 2010 World Cup. King Shaka International Airport (also known as La Mercy Airport) is situated 35 kilometers north of Durban. The airport is easily accessible by rental car via the N2 highway. The exit to the airport is clearly indicated.
For many visitors the Durban People Mover is the best form of public transport. These buses run frequently (every 15 minutes) between important destinations in the center and along the beach. Moreover, these buses are equipped with security cameras. The other public buses in Durban run irregularly and are not as safe.
Just like in other cities where 2010 World Cup matches were played, Durban has improved its infrastructure greatly for this event. In and around the city the roads are excellent and you'll have no trouble to find your way around with a rental car. However, you should keep a few simple rules in mind. Keep your doors and windows locked at all times. At night, be careful at red lights: if there are people standing around, it is safer to slowly drive through the red light than to stop. Rather a fine than to be robbed!
It is recommended to park your car in a garage or at an official parking facility.
Most tourists stay in one of the many hotels alongside the beach, Durbans Golden Mile. Accommodations around Victoria Street Market are popular too. Outside the summer months (October to March) it is easy to find a hotel which you like. If you would like to travel to Durban in the summer months (October to March) then we recommend you to book your accommodation well in advance.
For more information about Durban we recommend Google and the following sources: