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Arriving to Durban in September or October

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Arriving to Durban in September or October

Hello to all,

I am planning a trip to Durban in September. I am from the northern US. I have read some of the information here and it was all very useful. I was considering staying in the Balmoral near the beachfront. I am a bit cautious because of the "not safe at night" statements. I really cannot determine how bad this is.

Where else would be good but also reasonable? I plan to visit Gateway and any other tourist attractions. I would like to go to the inner city and learn as much as possible about the city and culture. I have met a few friends there and they reside in Durban North and Phoenix.

Car rental--Is this necessary? Are there any personal tour guides available?

Any insight anyone has would be greatly appreciated.


south africa- jhb
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1. Re: Arriving to Durban in September or October

hello! durban is cool if you stay in a more residential place.. i recommend you stay at a place called gibela lodge. the guy runing it is really friendly and can tell where to go to dependin on the time of year your there... plsu he is good fun!

i usually stay over there when we go to transkei and its a keeper this place for sure!

here are the details.. the area is pretty awesome but yes you will need to rent a car if you wanna be independent but the taxi cabs are really cheap cus the place is sooo small. its up to you, but this area is nice if you wanna go have a drink or a meal nearby and there are loads of stores and a pharmacy and a mini mall there. the beach is nearby so a car would be good.

here are the details and enjoy!



Tel (+27) (0)31 303 6291 Mobile (+27) (0)83 261 5276

P.O. Box 47736, Greyville, Durban, 4023, KwaZulu-Natal

Durban, South Africa
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2. Re: Arriving to Durban in September or October

Hi - its great that you have some friends in the Durban North area as that is actually a good area to stay - definitely NOT the Balmoral if I were you. I would suggest one of the suburbs like Morningside or Berea if you want to be closer to the city. If you want to be in a beachfront area, the better option is Umhlanga Rocks. This is 5 minutes north of the suburb called "Durban North". Its very preatty and a safe area to stay. There are also alot of self-catering apartments, if that is what you are interested in. If you are looking for a B&B -type place - look at the areas Umhlanga,La Lucia, Durban North,Glenashley,Morningside or Berea.

I would rent a car if I were you. Just remember you have to get used to driving on the "wrong" side of the road ! The public transport system is really not too great here ( no underground and not too many buses to rely on) so unless you have friends to drive you around, you should get a rental car. ( We have Avis,Hertz,Europecar etc. )

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3. Re: Arriving to Durban in September or October

Thanks Bianca and Annikins!,

I appreciate your help. I am looking into that now. My friends do not have vehicles and will be working most of the day while I am there. I think I will get a rental vehicle.

I have ruled out the Balmoral Hotel as an option. I will keep you updated on what I decide.

Have a good day,


Cape Town
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4. Re: Arriving to Durban in September or October

Hi Dalvin823, I come from a place near Durban, so Im going to add my 2 cents and hope it helps you to make a decision.

Umhlanga is definitely the "nicest" place to stay. It has a fantastic beach, restaurants, top hotels, a small shopping centre and the sharks board (which is worth a visit) all within the town. And the huge Gateway shopping/entertainment centre only a 15 minute walk (or short taxi ride) away. In short, Umhlanga is the classier, more modern side of Durban - which is why everyone likes it.

Durban city (and main beachfront) is older and shabbier. Many of the hotels were built in between the 60's and 80's, which means it can look a little run-down and dated. Also inner-city Durban is where a lot of impoverished and sometimes criminal characters hang about - South Africa is a third world country afterall. And Durban city centre is not the kind of place you want to walk around alone at night. Having said that, it definitely has more African vibe than Umlhanga, and is closer to transport links, museums etc.

So this really depends on what kind of experience you want to have. Many tourists are looking for the nice beaches and relaxing holiday - in which case I would recommend Umhlanga. Some however are more interested in getting to grips with the real Durban - however unsafe and third world it may be?

Alternatively, if you want to experience the city, but stay in a nicer area, you should consider the Berea area. I love the Musgrave area especially as it’s one of the nicer parts of the Durban suburbs - but still very much part of the city. It also has restaurants and a shopping centre with cinema for after hours entertainment. A good website for accommodation is www.wheretostay.co.za

As for transport, well...there isn’t much to choose from. Don’t think of South Africa like the US or Europe which has trams, busses and trains. People who can afford cars, use cars. People who can’t, take busses and minibus taxis. Busses are infrequent and minibus taxis can be quite dangerous – especially if you don’t know where you’re going and you don’t speak Zulu (the local language). A car is the best solution for freedom, and means you can do day trips into the surrounding areas, which are great and have a lot to offer. Suggestions are: A small game park like Tala (www.Tala.co.za), Valley of 1000 hills, and Phezulu (www.phezulusafaripark.co.za)

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5. Re: Arriving to Durban in September or October

Thanks. I have a wealth of information now. It will take me some time to digest it all. I have decided I will get a rental car. I would like to visit Gateway, Workshop and any nature sites. I planned to be there for 7 days, it takes about 32 hours for the entire flight with layovers.

Will 7 days be enough time?

Does anyone think this is not long enough?

I may consider moving to Durban based on my visit, can anyone tell me how much $ in ZAR is needed for above average living (yearly).

Thanks Again,


Port Elizabeth
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for South Africa
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6. Re: Arriving to Durban in September or October

Nature sites e.g. Greater Lake St Lucia Wetland park are 3-4 hours drive north of Durban.

South Africa
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7. Re: Arriving to Durban in September or October

Please take the advise about the beachfront and stay North if possible. Durban North La Lucia and Umhlanga Rocks are your safest and best areas. Try and find a Bed and Breakfast in any of those areas. Gateway is a big shopping centre, the Wheel the same but in a rather unsavory area. There are many more interesting places to visit.

Try the Ushaka water world, Sharks Board and many many more beautiful places. 7 days if enough for Durbs but while you are so close by I would highly recommend you travel North to visit one of our wonderful game reserves. Hluhluwe and Umfolozi are but a few.

You will need about 3 - 4 days if you can spare it.

To live comfortably in one of the above areas as small 3 bed house will cost you from R 2 mil (rent from R6000 per month) and you will need a car. It is hard to say what living costs are but work on your house being 50%of your needed amount. The rand dollar is about R7 to $1 at the moment. Good investment for overseas visitors.

Hope that helps

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8. Re: Arriving to Durban in September or October

Just wanted to say thanks for all of the information everyone has given me. This will make my trip planning much easier. Have a good day.

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9. Re: Arriving to Durban in September or October


I'm on a holiday in SA and will be staying in durban for just for a day (in transit from CPT to J'berg).

I'm travelling alone and would like to stay in some place safe, not too far from airport and not too expensive. Preferably a place which will help arrange for airport transfer as well.

Any sugesstions?



Auckland, New...
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10. Re: Arriving to Durban in September or October

Hi Khus

No hotels near the Durban airport but try the Holiday Inn North beach - they have transport to and from the Airport.

Why are you flying to Durban - we normally fly directly from Cpt. to Jhberg.