Surfing Durban, South Africa

Surfing Durban city
Surfing Durban city
Map of South Africa. Durban highlighted.
Map of South Africa. Durban highlighted.

Surfing Durban, South Africa

(Text: Alexander Andorff Pictures: Wannasurf.com / Tripadvisor.com)

Population: 3.468.086 (Statistics South Africa, Community Survey, 2007)

Time zone: GMT +2hr

Currency: Rand (ZRA)

High season: April – September

Low season: November – April (Summer)

Water temp: Jan-Feb 25º | Mar-Apr 25º | May-Jun 23º | Jul-Aug 20º | Sep-Oct 22º | Nov-Dec 23º |

Pros:

  • - Consistent swell
  • - Quality beachbreaks
  • - Great climate / Warm water
  • - Urban entertainment
  • - Inexpensive

Cons:

  • - Lots of onshore wind days
  • - Gets crowded
  • - Street violence
  • - Sharks at unnetted beaches

Durban is the second largest city in South Africa, only beaten by Johannesburg in terms of population numbers. It is located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, and is considered by many as the playground of South Africa. Located on the beautiful east coast, this city of 3 million boasts a fabulous climate, miles of beaches, a warm ocean (warmer than the Cape Peninsula and St. Francis Bay areas), Africa's largest port, great surfing, good food and a unique mix of British, Zulu, Hindu and Muslim heritage.

South Africa is on of the world’s best surf destinations, and has an amazing 2.800km (1.900mi) of coastline split between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Even though there are surfspots which are considered better in terms of quality waves along the south-african coast, Durban has established itself as the country’s surf centre. This has been mainly accredited to the city’s high population density of surfers and also a great all-round year climate.

The high season in Durban is between April and September, with regular, consistent high quality swell. At low pressure, which occurs mainly during winter (May – October), Durban experiences regular 3-10ft S-SE swells. The ideal conditions are found during winter with plenty of S swells and offshore SW winds. And when I say winter, please do not think snow and ice popsicles. There will still be a comfortable 20º in July to August, the coldest time of the year. However, these ideal conditions are very delicate and suffer greatly from SE onshore wind. The best tip to avoid a blown-out surf session is to get out there with the dawn surf patrol. Is there any fresher way to start the day? The answer is out there… in the blue stuff.

The most famous surfspots in Durban are (from north to south): African Beach (furthest north), Snake Park, Bay of Plenty, North Beach, Dairy Beach, The Wedge, Addington, Vetch’s Reef, Cave Rock (located next to what is known as the Bluff Peninsula)… and the furthest south in the Wentworth area, we find Anstey’s and Brighton Beach.

Map of Durban's surfspots / wannasurf.com
Map of Durban's surfspots / wannasurf.com

The popular city beach Bay of Plenty is one of South Africa’s most intense surf scenes. It breaks best on S and E swells, creating consistent and hollow waves about 100m offshore. DairyBeach is Durban city’s designated surf area, and can be surfed any time of the day. If you want to avoid the crowded waves in Durban city, you only have to drive about 15min north to find almost empty peaks and breaks. The Umhlanga Rocks resort is a good example of this, and these surfspots also have shark nets.

I know what you are thinking when I put the two words SURFING and SOUTH AFRICA together… I do not have to be Derren Brown to know that you are thinking “SHARKS!” However, you should now that there has not been a single shark attack in Durban since shark nets were put in place 47 years ago, in 1962.

Hope that fact stops the Jaws theme from playing in your head every time you think of surfing in Durban, South Africa.

_____________________

Getting there:

Europe offers plenty of flights to South Africa, and if you fly from London you might be able to pick up some excellent value tickets. However, most airlines fly to Johannesburg or Cape Town. If you land at Johannesburg, you may rent a car and drive five to six hours until you get to Durban. Rental cars are very cheap (approx £80/wk / fuel 40p/L), and also ensure a great way of getting from surfspot to surfspot.

Housing:

Downtown Durban offers all sorts of accommodation options, and around the inner city beach Bay of Plenty, you find many a surfer friendly guesthouse (approx £8-12/day). Food is generally cheap as well.

Heads up:

All the spots mentioned in this article have shark nets. However, if you are driving around a bit exploring the surfspots in the nearby area, please avoid Amanzimtoti, south of Durban. This area has the highest rate of shark attacks in the world. A much more likely threat than shark attacks is beach violence and/or theft, so avoid flashing any valuables such as mobile phones or cameras.

Clever tips:

If you want to invest in surfing gear, you might as well do it in Durban. Due to the devaluation of the Rand, the South African currency, surf equipment is the cheapest in the world. The recession has also brought down living costs, making Durban a very inexpensive area to settle down and live.

_____________________

Durban is eagerly awaiting your arrival, skoonheid (yes… I know my google translate Afrikaans). Hope to see you down there, on the right side of the shark net that is. Du-du du-du… du-du du-du.. (Haha! No, it is not simple rambling... it is the Jaws theme) Surf’s up!

...·¨¯(_....

17 comments

H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 6 years ago from Guwahati, India

I am charmed by the wonderful pictures and scenes of Surf area. Thanks for sharing.


sarovai profile image

sarovai 6 years ago

Thank u for the informative hub. Pictures are wonderful.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Lived there for eight years. Personally would not like to live there again, but that's just me! A wonderfully informative Hub for which I thank you.

Love and peace

Tony


ToadRun profile image

ToadRun 6 years ago

Nice article. I would love to learn to urf but I can't swim. :(


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I never knew shark nets worked that well. Cool!!


Resolver2009 profile image

Resolver2009 6 years ago from Bournemouth, UK / Oslo, Norway Author

H P Roychoudhury: You are welcome, glad you enjoyed the article.

sarovai: Thank you for the positive feedback.

tonymac04: Wow! You did? That is amazing, would love to hear how you experienced the whole beach scene and Durban city. What kind of effect do you think hosting the world championships 2010 will have for Durban and South Africa? Do you think the prices will go up? Did you ever surf on any of the beaches portraited in this hub?

ToadRun: You do not have to swim.. you got the surfboard:p no.. seriously.. please do not try surfing if you can not swim yet.;) One step at the time my friend.. one step at the time.. Never to late to learn anything.

Carolina Muscle: Well, now you know. Hope that gives you a bigger confidence when swimming at sharknetted beaches in Australia, NZ, US, RSA or similar areas.


Umhlanga Durban profile image

Umhlanga Durban 6 years ago from South Africa

Nice Article there. I have had holidays in Durban my whole life and I own Accomodation in Durban too. For me its the best city in the world :-)


sudha madhuri profile image

sudha madhuri 6 years ago from Dehli

extremely informative,i hope to visit some day.


nadp profile image

nadp 6 years ago from WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA

So interesting to read this - makes me want to go visit!


Property-Invest profile image

Property-Invest 6 years ago from London

Thanks for the great hub about my city of birth, excellent surf report!


Rebecca Ellis 6 years ago

having LIVED in south africa, i know it's beautiful over there.. great hub!


atifhameed profile image

atifhameed 5 years ago from Islamabad, Pakistan

South Africa is on of the beautiful cuntry of world. I dont know much about South Africa & its cities, but by reading this hub I am really happy to know about Durban...


Resolver2009 profile image

Resolver2009 5 years ago from Bournemouth, UK / Oslo, Norway Author

Uhmlanga Durban: Wow! That sounds like a dream come true. Have you ever tried surfing down there?

sudha madhuri: Glad you found the article informative! That was kind of the point ;)

nadp: Thank you! You definitely should, it is amazing.

Property-Invest: Very glad the article passed the critique of a local. Thank you!

Rebecca Ellis: Thank you! How long did you live in South Africa? And where?

Atifhameed: Thank you, it truly is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Glad you liked the hub.


georgiecarlos profile image

georgiecarlos 5 years ago from Philippines

Thank you for sharing and giving me another place to consider to go to during my summer break!


Ralph 4 years ago

Thanks for the great post - I'm moving there this summer (June/July) and I'll be in Wentworth area. Do you know a good spot to buy a board? and can you tell me any more about the two spots in Wentworth you mentioned. Is there a lot of localism there? and is it safe to park around those spots?

Thanks again - great stuff..


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

What a great hub on Durban. I've just added my first chapter on a novel: The Self Employed Housewife and the setting is in Durban! Mind you from a few years back. I never thought to look up on people living in South Africa, but I saw that several hubs about Durban came up below my hub. Greetings from Cape Town.


DaveOnline profile image

DaveOnline 2 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

I don't surf but I do some body-surfing, enjoyed your hub!

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