Monday, 26 December 2011

Durban North Coast Vibes

Although growing rapidly, Durban north coast is still very seasonal. Quiet in the winters and teaming with life during the peak holiday seasons in Summer.There are many beautiful coastal towns along the coast from which to choose, below is a brief description of some of the major ones.

Umhlanga Rocks
Umhlanga has transformed from a quiet little seaside town north of Durban, into the top holiday destination on the North Coast. Huge hotels line the seafront and the newly built Gateway shopping centre brings up the rear of the town. Development is rife as the town snowballs.
The general vibe in Umhlanga is hectic with loads of people and lots to do. The main beach took a knock from the 50 year swell which recently hit the east coast of South Africa, and it is a shadow of its former self. Still it is a great place to be seen, and probably the busiest beach on the North Coast. Umhlanga is also the priciest of the North Coast towns especially when it comes to accommodation. This is definitely the place to be if you want to party ... not so if you are keen to just get away from it all.

Ballito Bay
Ballito is quickly following in Umhlanga's footsteps as development booms. It is however not so compact, and with two main beaches affords visitors a little more privacy. Ballito's layout is also more spacious with less skyscrapers and more apartments. This is my favourite town in the North Coast, It affords the convenience of being in a big town (shops, restaurants, bars, clubs etc) with the privacy of a small town. The main beaches of Willard and Thompsons are also some of the nicest beaches on the North Coast.

Umdloti is a great town to kick back and relax. It is made up mainly of houses, and most of the people who holiday there are regulars. There is more of a community vibe. The beach is nice and the break is great for surfing. The town does lack some amenities, but with Umhlanga just down the road, there is nothing you can get if you are prepared to drive a short way.

Zinkwazi is remote, over an hours drive from Durban central, it is the perfect place to get away, do nothing and relax. It is a very small scale town, with very few amenities. Self-catering is a must.

Glenashley is a small residential suburb in Durban North. Though predominantly inhabited by locals, the town does cater for the relaxed holiday maker. 

How to get to Durban
Flights are available into Durban from all major airports in South Africa with airlines such as SAA,, 1time and Mango.
Durban is also within driving distance of South Africa's main airport - Oliver Tambo in Johannesburg. Driving from Cape Town is not recommended unless you want to see the Country.

Where to stay in Durban
Being coastal towns, there are many hotels, apartments and B&Bs for rent. In the off season accommodation won’t be a problem, but book well in advance for the high season from December - January.
Please check the resources below for accommodation options.

How to get around Durban
Most of the towns are small enough to get around by foot. Cars are advisable however for longer commutes as public transport isn't great.

Durban Nightlife
While most of the above mentioned towns sport their own bars (and even small clubs), the major town nightlife can be found on Florida Road in Durban centre. This road is packed with restaurants, bars and clubs and is sure to cater for each and every need. Do be sure to have a designated driver though, as Kwazulu Natal has a strict zero tolerance on drinking and driving.

Must do activities in Durban
Durban - Visit uShaka marine world in Durban central.
Durban - Watch the surfing at New Pier, a local break which some of the worlds top surfers call home.
Umhlanga - Visit Gateway shopping centre.
Umhlanga - The first week of December is  one of the most popular matric holiday destinations in South Africa.
Ballito - Chill out on Thompsons beach - best during low tide where you can wade out far into the ocean.
Ballito - The New Years Eve street party in Ballito is legendary.

More information about Durban


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