Best Areas to Stay in Durban, South Africa

Africa, Durban, South Africa  /   /  By bestdistricts

Where to stay in Durban – A guide to the great port of South Africa

Durban is the third largest city in South Africa and one of the most modern in the continent.

Also known as the “port city of South Africa”, it is located on the shores of the Indian Ocean, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

The centre of its economy is in its port, considered the most important in the continent as far as imports are concerned. It also receives a large number of tourist cruises with visitors from all over the world.

Durban has become a major tourist complex on the past couple of years, thanks to its infrastructure and well-preserved historical attractions.

Cultural offerings in Durban include theatres (the Natal Playhouse Complex, the Elizabeth Sneddon, Catalina and the Kwasuka theatres), art galleries (the KZ NSA Gallery and the African Art Centre), museums (Museums of local history and the Maritime Museum) and the ICC convention centre.

Durban is one of the greenest cities in the country, thanks to its theme parks, safaris and zoos like the popular Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, where you can see elephants, lions, buffalo, giraffes, rhinos, zebras and more.

TThe best time to travel to Durban is from June when the rains stop, the summer begins and the beaches look their best.

Currently, Durban has two airports, the old airport, which serves as the base for the South African armed force, and the Rey Shaka international airport.

The Durban train station has lines throughout the city, and even connects with nearby cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and Bloemfontein.

When it comes to the best areas to stay in Durban, Umhlanga stands out for its art deco architecture (See accommodation in Umhlanga). On the other hand, Downtown Durban has the best transport connections in the city (See hotels in Downtown Durban).

Here’s a guide with the best areas to stay in Durban, South Africa.

The best areas to stay in Durban, South Africa

1. Our favourite area: Umhlaga

Umhlanga is a residential complex located north of Durban, on the coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

The heart of Umhlanga is the Gateway Theatre of Shopping, one of the 50 largest shopping centres in the world.

Another of its attractions is Pearl Sky, the third largest skyscraper in South Africa that makes Umhlanga the cosmopolitan face of Durban.

Bronze Beach and Main Beach are the beaches of the area, quite crowded and well-preserved, ideal for surfing and water polo, among other traditional water sports in the country.

Umhlanga is one of the most exclusive areas to stay in Durban, thanks to its hotels of important chains and its proximity to the beaches.

Safest area to stay in Durban, South Africa - Umhlaga

Safest area to stay in Durban, South Africa – Umhlaga

Accommodation in Umhlaga - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Umhlaga – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Durban, South Africa:

  • Safest area to stay
  • Exclusive area
  • Gateway Theatre of Shopping
  • Luxury hotels
  • Great beaches
  • Pearl Sky

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Royal Palm Hotel

This ultra-modern hotel is located in the center of Palm Boulevard, directly across from the Gateway Theatre of Shopping on Umhlanga Ridge. The Indian Ocean beach is only 2 km away.

from US$79
Budget

Andre’s Place

Located in Durban, Andre’s Place offers barbecue facilities and a garden. The property is about 2 km from Umhlanga Lighthouse and 16 km from Moses Mabhida Stadium. Free Wi-Fi access is available.

from US$44
Luxury

The Oyster Box

Overlooking the Umhlanga Lighthouse and the Indian Ocean, The Oyster Box offers 2 outdoor swimming pools, an award-winning spa and free Wi-Fi. The Gateway Mall is 2 km away.

from US$299
 

 

 

2. Durban North

Durban North is located, as its name indicates, north of the city, in the area of eThekwini.

In Durban North, the beaches, such as Beachwood, Virginia, Glen Ashley and Dave, are part of the attractions of the area. In addition, it has natural reserves such as Beachwood Mangroves.

This is one of the best areas to stay in Durban for family trips, as it has Japanese gardens where you can take a while and enjoy the fresh air.

Durban North also has restaurants, golf courses, nightclubs and a large number of recreational centres.

Durban North is the best area to stay in Durban to enjoy a quiet environment, with entertainment options that are very different from what the Downtown has to offer.

Best areas to stay in Durban - Durban North

Best areas to stay in Durban – Durban North

Accommodation in Durban North - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Durban North – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Durban, South Africa:

  • Safe area to stay in Durban
  • Connected by public transport
  • Japanese gardens

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Sanchia Luxury Guest House

The Sanchia Luxury Guesthouse is located in the exclusive residential area of Glen Ashley, in Durban. It has columns, covered terraces, free Wi-Fi, a garden with an outdoor pool and elegant rooms.

from US$99
Budget

Portland Guest Cottage

Portland Guest Cottage offers accommodation in Durban, 5 km from Kings Park Stadium and Moses Mabhida Stadium. This apartment has an outdoor pool.

from US$54
Luxury

Auberge Hollandaise

This luxurious 5-star guest house is located in the coastal suburb of Durban North, just 10 minutes’ drive from Golden Mile Beach. It has an outdoor pool and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.

from US$139
 

 

 

3. Durban City Centre

The Durban City Center area is made up of the historic centre of the city and its surroundings.

Compared to other cities, the historic centre of Durban is not that big. Therefore, it is possible to know it on foot.

The heart of the area is the Town Hall, located between Smith and West Street, with its Renaissance style. This building is the headquarters of the Museum of Natural Sciences and has a concert hall.

Another important historical monument is Francis Farewell Square, located opposite the Town Hall, which pays tribute to the founders of Durban.

To move from Durban City Centre to another area of the city, you can take the bus or go by taxi, although most of the historical attractions are in this area.

Durban City Centre is the best place to stay in Durban for tourist tours, as well as to know the cultural scene of the city.

Where to stay in Durban - Durban City Centre

Where to stay in Durban – Durban City Centre

Accommodation in Durban City Centre - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Durban City Centre – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Durban, South Africa:

  • Heart of the city
  • Best area for sightseeing
  • Variety of attractions

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

The Royal Hotel

Located in the financial district of Durban, a 15-minute walk from the beach, the Royal Hotel has 2 restaurants serving award-winning cuisine. The rooms have panoramic views of the city or the marina.

from US$69
Budget

Durban Manor Hotel and Conference Centre

Overlooking Durban Bay and the marina, this hotel offers spacious rooms with air conditioning and private balconies. The hotel is located on Margaret Mncadi Avenue in Durban, adjacent to the city centre.

from US$44
Luxury

Hilton Durban

The Hilton Durban Hotel is located next to Durban ICC, 5 minutes from the beach, and features an outdoor pool and a gym. This 5-star property has 3 restaurants and a business lounge.

from US$104
 

 

 

4. Near Durban International Airport – King Shaka International Airport

The King Shaka International Airport was inaugurated during the preparations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup and is located on the Mercy, just 29 km from Downtown Durban.

It is the headquarters of national airlines such as South African Airways and Fly Fair. International flights of British Airways, Qatar Airways and Emirates connect this airport with most of the world.

Some of its most popular destinations are to London, Turkey, Qatar and the UAE.

The airport facilities offer transportation service, shopping area and nearby hotels for the convenience of each passenger.

It is, by far, the best area to stay in Durban for business travellers, to make a stopover or a short visit.

Where to stay in Durban, South Africa - Near the airport

Where to stay in Durban, South Africa – Near the airport

Accommodation in this area

  • Top Choice
    Eden Rose Manor

    Offering an outdoor pool, barbecue facilities and free Wi-Fi, Eden Rose Manor is located in La Mercy. The property has a garden and a terrace. The accommodation has a shared kitchen and a shared lounge.

    from US$79
 

 

 

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