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Durban North is an elegant upmarket seaside suburb on the coastline of the Indian Ocean, about 8 kilometers out of central Durban.
Bordered by the mighty Umgeni River on one side, the gorgeous suburb of La Lucia to the north, and with wonderful sea views, it is one of Durban’s most beautiful residential areas, with lush tropical gardens and flowering trees. As one of the older and most expensive suburbs, it has lovely houses with magnificent established gardens.
Hotels and houses with panoramic views over the beautiful bronze beaches face the picturesque stretch of coastline. It is a popular holiday destination all year due to the lovely scenery and pleasant warm climate, as well as the easy access to all the best Durban has to offer.
One reason Durban was chosen for the New York Times list of the Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2015 is the multitude of exciting activities. Durban North is well positioned and is a particularly good choice for accommodation as it is slightly off the main drag, between the N2 and the ocean, and yet all main attractions are a short drive away.
The wide golden beaches and warm turquoise ocean allow swimming all year, and stretch from the Umgeni Estuary to Glenashley. Lifeguards and shark nets ensure safe swimming.
The benign climate is ideal for outdoor activities so there are many sports and running clubs. There are 9 golf courses nearby, 2 public swimming pools and 2 paintball venues. The Durban Country Club and Beachwood Golf Club are two superb golf courses there.
For those with children there are many amusements, including coral exploration (scuba diving), and the Snorkel Lagoon at the UShaka Marine World. There are also several Art and Craft Markets for families, with fresh food and live music.
The Wave House at Gateway is the place to go for those wanting a safe, yet exciting thrill. It offers a fusion of surfing, snowboarding, skating and wake boarding.
The Big Swing at the Moses Mabhida Stadium ( tallest swing in the world, big rush indeed ) and Shark Cage diving are more serious thrills.
Sea Cruises are available, both deep sea and harbour cruises.
Durban North is close to the enormous Gateway Shopping Centre, the biggest mall in the southern hemisphere, and the smaller more peaceful La Lucia Mall, so shopping is superbly provided for.
A wonderful relaxing place for a picnic and keeping children amused are the gorgeous Japanese Gardens, with masses of flowers and birdlife, water features, streams, bridges, waterfalls and playgrounds. Entrance is free.
At the Umgeni river mouth the Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve conserves the shoreline north of the Blue Lagoon. An elevated boardwalk winds through the 76 ha swamp forest where plant and animal life can be viewed. Entrance is free, and walks can be arranged with the wildlife conservation officer.
Another popular attraction is the Umgeni River Bird Park, which is built into an old quarry on the banks of the river, with walk-through aviaries and amazing waterfalls. There is a fabulous free flight show every day.
The Valley of the Thousand Hills is a short drive away, with unspoilt nature and magnificent scenery of endless green undulating hills, and rivers.
The Umgeni Steam Train runs from Kloof station and also takes a scenic route through the hills, a really amazing experience for all ages.
Where To Eat
There is a wide choice of restaurants in Durban North.
C’est La Vie is off Kensington Drive. They do classic dishes and freshly baked croissants and cakes. Children are very welcome as there is a shady garden and play area . They are open for delicious breakfasts and lunches.
Scoozi’s is a popular child friendly Italian restaurant also in Durban North. Of course there are many other restaurants near Durban North in Umhlanga and Durban city.
The Riversands Hotel, high up on the river bank, has stunning views over the Umgeni River and Indian Ocean. There are several restaurant options there:-
The Cafe Bali does Thai food.
Mojo’s Pool Bar is a cocktail bar with a snack menu.
The Jaipur Palace is for authentic North Indian food.
Hops is casual pub restaurant.
The Riverside Cafe, decorated in plantation style, has an extensive menu, and one can eat inside or outside next to the pool.
The Atasca is a small restaurant specialising in Portuguese and Mozambique food using the freshest ingredients.
The Greedy Buddha serves tapas and Asian fusion.
Kung Thai is a Thai restaurant with vegetarian options.
Where To Stay
As a traditional established suburb it is serene and quiet. Some of the guesthouses are rather grand with beautiful rooms, glorious tropical gardens, huge swimming pools and excellent facilities. There are also boutique hotels, some on the river banks with panoramic views of both the river and sea.
Many guesthouses, B&Bs and self catering cottages have elevated properties with lovely sea views, and are within walking distance to the beach.There are many options of accommodation, suitable for everyone from families on holiday to business visitors, from self catering apartments to luxury hotels.
Car: It is best to hire a car at the airport as the public transport system is not very developed. The highways are excellent, providing easy access all around Durban. The fast N2 runs from Durban through Durban North and the less busy M2 motorway goes on through to Umhlanga Rocks.
Air: Durban North has its own small airport, the Virginia Airport, for small chartered plane flights. However, guests arriving from other parts of the country, or internationally, will need to go through King Shaka International Airport which is 26 kilometers away on the M4 highway.
Taxis/Uber: Taxis are great for short distances but for longer trips and rather rent a car .Uber is a cashless taxi service. Once you have signed up, and downloaded the Uber app you can order an Uber taxi to fetch you where ever you are in and around Durban. You'll be able to track your Uber taxi to make sure it's on its way to you, and it'll know exactly where you are. The trip is then paid for from your credit card details on your Uber account. It's an easy safe way to get around the city without paying ridiculous fees and having to have cash on you!
Did You Know
Durban North is sometimes misspelt Durbannorth, Dirban north or D”urban North
Before the area was built up, the Durban North area was originally coastal dune forests.
The Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve is one of the few preserved estuarine ecosystems remaining on the earth. Mangals are rare as few trees can grow in saline water where the land intersects the sea.