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Old 06-30-2015, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Placitas, New Mexico
1,158 posts, read 2,020,178 times
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I will be traveling next Jan to South Africa and still deciding on an itinerary. Of course, will be visiting Johannesburg and Cape Town. But I was thinking of Durban also partly because I love the beach and I heard Umhlanga just north of the city is very pleasant. What are some of your experiences with Durban?
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Old 06-30-2015, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
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I liked Durban. What makes it unique is the presence of both the large Indian and Muslim populations.

And the beaches are really nice, of course, and Umhlanga is pleasant. I don't know that it's worth going out of your way to visit however. As cities go as far as being a tourist, I prefer Cape Town and Johannesburg.
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Old 07-01-2015, 05:17 AM
 
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Beach wise Durban is pretty good imo. Umhlanga and Scottburgh on the popular 1s. Just make sure to try and avoid the New Years rush. Everyone from Jo'burg normally heads down there over the December holidays and so it can get very crowded around that time. And obviously lots of people means lots of people taking advantage so just don't silly things like leave valuables unattended on the beach or go walking along the beach at night in certain places on your own.

Weather wise it's hot and humid which makes the sea fantastic to swim in. I think the average sea temps are sitting around 24 Celsius and your day time temps will be hitting around 30+. Basically wear lots of sunscreen and if you can, make sure your room has aircon

Attraction wise only popular 1 I can think of off the top of my head is uShaka Marine World? We basically only really go down to Durban for the beach

It's only a 6 hour drive/40 min flight from Jhb so it's really not that far for a few days of your trip.

Lemme know if you've got any other questions.
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Old 07-01-2015, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Placitas, New Mexico
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Thanks TrueDat and dowsieboi for your info. I will definitely be going to Jhb and Cape Town and will be trying to decide where else to go in my 2 wks in South Africa. It will be in Jan. I'm also considering the Garden Route, and even a jaunt up to Victoria Falls in nearby Zimbabwe.

I have heard things, both good and bad about Durban, but I love the beach and would want to some beach and sun to get away from some cold winter temperatures here in New Mexico. I'm also intrigued by several day tours to Shakaland and Lesotho that are offered from Durban.

I am an experienced traveler and take necessary precautions, but the inevitable question comes up about safety in Durban. I have heard that Umhlanga is completely safe and I shouldn't stay in downtown Durban. Is that reasonable?
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:46 AM
 
271 posts, read 292,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQSunseeker View Post
I am an experienced traveler and take necessary precautions, but the inevitable question comes up about safety in Durban. I have heard that Umhlanga is completely safe and I shouldn't stay in downtown Durban. Is that reasonable?
Umhlanga is pretty safe. I would say avoid downtown anywhere in South Africa. Cape Town CBD is the only 1 I feel remotely safe in. Johannesburg CBD I avoid like the plague. I work in Sandton CBD and I feel safe walking around there 9pm with my laptop.

Some other cool smaller places people miss are places like Clarens and Drakensberg. Very beautiful mountain scenery and hiking areas

Lesotho I haven't had a chance to go to. The 1 time some friends wanted to go we were staying in Clarens and I didn't have my passport with me, so they just left me behind in Clarens for the day while they went off on their own :P

If this helps at all, here are some of the pictures I've taken with my phone at the different places. These are just the 1's that get synced from my phone to Google+ so don't expect world class shots :P

Scottburgh - November 2014:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...lHV2JwQmxxMlF3

Drakensberg - July 2014:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...dPRnVNZnlTeHZR

Drakensberg - June 2013:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...NUQVFxekF6cHVn

Clarnes - July 2012
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...JFVWdncHdnajhn

Last edited by dowsieboi; 07-01-2015 at 11:59 AM.. Reason: Added some links
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Old 07-01-2015, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Placitas, New Mexico
1,158 posts, read 2,020,178 times
Reputation: 1036
Quote:
Originally Posted by dowsieboi View Post
Umhlanga is pretty safe. I would say avoid downtown anywhere in South Africa. Cape Town CBD is the only 1 I feel remotely safe in. Johannesburg CBD I avoid like the plague. I work in Sandton CBD and I feel safe walking around there 9pm with my laptop.

Some other cool smaller places people miss are places like Clarens and Drakensberg. Very beautiful mountain scenery and hiking areas

Lesotho I haven't had a chance to go to. The 1 time some friends wanted to go we were staying in Clarens and I didn't have my passport with me, so they just left me behind in Clarens for the day while they went off on their own :P

If this helps at all, here are some of the pictures I've taken with my phone at the different places. These are just the 1's that get synced from my phone to Google+ so don't expect world class shots :P

Scottburgh - November 2014:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...lHV2JwQmxxMlF3

Drakensberg - July 2014:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...dPRnVNZnlTeHZR

Drakensberg - June 2013:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...NUQVFxekF6cHVn

Clarnes - July 2012
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...JFVWdncHdnajhn


Thanks so much for the great pics and advice. Drakensberg and Clarens scenery remind me vaguely of New Mexico which I love. Never heard of Scottburgh but will check it out. I plan to stay nowhere near the CBD of Jhb, maybe in Sandton.
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Old 07-02-2015, 07:20 AM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
2,174 posts, read 4,394,657 times
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Actually, there are some cool neighborhoods near JHB's CBD, like Braamfontein, which is enjoying a revival and an infusion of money. If you don't mind hipsters...

Renewed Braamfontein gets trendy - Market News, News

Johannesburg Tries a Comeback - WSJ

Also, some of my most memorable moments in S. Africa were exploring off-the-beaten path neighborhoods and townships BUT I was with a local. I don't think I would have done a lot of that on my own -- but it definitely enriched the experience. I think I would have been bored to death just staying in Sandton. It's nice but it's not all that different from its suburban equivalent anywhere in the world. Not to mention, by avoiding the city you miss out on attractions like the Apartheid Museum.

You should at least do a township tour with a tour group. Soweto (during the day at least) seems quite safe.

Back to Durban, there's a really good Indian market in the central area and I think is a must for anyone who wants to get a flavor of Durban.

http://www.southafrica.net/za/en/art...-street-market

Last edited by TrueDat; 07-02-2015 at 07:34 AM..
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Old 07-02-2015, 07:46 AM
 
271 posts, read 292,536 times
Reputation: 300
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrueDat View Post
Actually, there are some cool neighborhoods near JHB's CBD, like Braamfontein, which is enjoying a revival and an infusion of money. If you don't mind hipsters...

Renewed Braamfontein gets trendy - Market News, News

Johannesburg Tries a Comeback - WSJ

Also, some of my most memorable moments in S. Africa were exploring off-the-beaten path neighborhoods and townships BUT I was with a local. I don't think I would have done a lot of that on my own -- but it definitely enriched the experience. I think I would have been bored to death just staying in Sandton. It's nice but it's not all that different from its suburban equivalent anywhere in the world. Not to mention, by avoiding the city you miss out on attractions like the Apartheid Museum.

You should at least do a township tour with a tour group. Soweto (during the day at least) seems quite safe.

Back to Durban, there's a really good Indian market in the central area and I think is a must for anyone who wants to get a flavor of Durban.

Visit Victoria Street Market and enjoy Durban
Braamfontein does have the odd trendy place at the moment Randlords has a nice roof top bar/party vibe that looks over Nelson Mandela bridge. Still feels dodgy as heck parking your car on the street though Newtown is also known to have the more hipster type clubs.

Sandton is your typical modern area. So Sandton, Houghton, Bedfordview etc are your typical upper middle class to upper class areas. Parkhurst has been doing well lately and has a much more of a hipster/Cape Town vibe to it. Randburg is a pretty decent middle class area (minus a few places like Windsor).

I do agree with you here that a township tour with either a tour group or a local (at least) should be on your list. Heck, even I'd be willing to buy you a beer if I'm around that time
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Old 08-02-2015, 08:34 PM
 
7 posts, read 7,888 times
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Durban is a fairly decent city, but like any other South African city-- you have a lot of shady characters situated in specific regions. Avoid the South Coast, and basically everywhere around the core of the city (with the exception of Musgrave which is fantastic, and parts of South Beach along the boardwalk). Umhalanga, and basically all of Durban North are very safe, and not too far from the actual city. If you want to live farther out, then you have the choice of either Hillcrest or Kloof (both very safe areas).

PROS of Durban:

Cheaper than Cape Town, but you still get good beaches, maybe even better and less crowded
Very diverse population (a balanced population of Indians, Muslims, whites, mixed people, blacks, etc)

CONS of Durban:

Horrible crime rate
Gross humidity
Constant fear of getting your car broken into
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