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Free things to do in Durban

Updated on April 1, 2014

Durban Beach fun

During the holiday season in Durban, the beaches are the best places to be as there are many activities to entertain the kids. Competitions, beach volleyball and giveaways are what you will find there.

All you need to do is get lotion and ensure that your kids are protected from the heat and the dangerous sun.

Keeping them out of the sun and the water between the hours of 11 to 2pm is a good idea as this is when it is the most harmful to the skin. Sunstroke is a terrible thing and your kids will be inactive for the remainder of the holidays if they get it. Prevent this by keeping them covered and out of the sun during the danger hours.

A boogie board is great fun and the best beach to use it on is Addington beach as the waves are not high and very strong there. Kids will be able to swim comfortably in the water without being knocked around by the waves.

If you want to spend money you can also hire canoes at this beach which could be fun for the adults.

Tidal pools are also great fun and very safe for the kids as this protects them from the srong waves that will pull them away from the shore during a strong currant.

There are a few of these around;

Ballito, Umhlanga and Shaka's rock is where you will be able to see all sorts of sea life whilst you swim. Shaka's rock has many sea urchins and it is not recommended without covered shoes.

During the Easter, July and December holidays, there are lots of activities on the beach which include parties and competitions that will keep the kids occupied while you relax in the sun.

Staying at a resort like Umhlanga Sands or Cabana Beach hotel gives you the option for kids entertainment, where the entertainment staff will keep them occupied all day.

Shaka's Rock tidal pool Source: NATASHA
Shaka's Rock tidal pool Source: NATASHA
Dolphin Coast, South Africa

get directions

"Granny's pool" is found in Ballito

Maritime museum in Durban
Maritime museum in Durban


Museums can be entertaining for the kids and the Durban Natural science museum is free and entertaining for the little ones. They can see a 2300 year old mummy, dodo skeleton and a large dinosaur among many other interesting things. It is in one of the oldest buildings in the city and you can peruse through the public library too.

You will find this museum at the City Hall in Durban and it will take about an hour to walk through the entire museum as most of the exhibits imitate the animal that they are displaying.

For only R5 you can go to the harbour and take a look around the maritime museum, where the kids can get to be captain of the ship, take a walk around the gully and see what it was like for sailors on board.

Many other museums are in the area and for the older kids it might be interesting but little ones will get bored, so I won't share those here.

Museums can be fun and interesting for the whole family to explore.

city hall durban:
Durban City hall, Church Street, Durban 4000, South Africa

get directions

Have you been to the Japanese Gardens and what did you think?

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Picnic in the Park

There are some beautiful parks in Durban and it is a great place to have a picnic lunch. The Botanical gardens are spacious and there is plenty of grass for the kids to run free on as well as taking a look at all the plant and tree life.

You can buy some bread and feed the ducks that wait for you at the waters edge and the gardens are always busy and protected by a security guard.

It is beautiful to have a look at the Koi pond and the Orchid plantation which means that you will have to take a walk around the entire garden before you sit down to have your picnic.

Japanese Gardens in Durban North used to amazing but I have found that the grounds are not well kept and it has not been a safe place to visit for some time. Should you wish to take a look at the once manicured gardens, then ask around first before you decide to go there.

The park near the new Moses Mabida stadium is a great place to go for activities with a bicycle, skates or a ball. There is a 1km track for the kids to ride around on and you can hire the bikes there but if you have little ones then there is plenty for them to do. Swings, jungle gyms, slides and many more activities that will occupy them for a while. You can take a picnic basket with you or you can buy your lunch there.

Things to pack for your day trip

Things to pack for the beach
Picnic ideas
Road trip packing
blanket to sit on
sun hat
bread for the ducks
water for everyone
cold drinks
snack pack for the kids
boogie board
extra clothes for kids
snacks that won't melt
Ushaka marine world Source:travelstart
Ushaka marine world Source:travelstart

Durban Iventure Attractions Pass

Going on holiday with kids can get very expensive and unfortunately not everything is free. You can go for walks and hikes but the kids will eventually get bored.

An Iventure pass allows you to save on entry fees and you do not have to carry cash around with you. I don't find it cheap but if you are wanting to take the kids to Ushaka Marine World or any ofthe other attractions it will be very costly without discounts.

The Iventure Pass gives you almost 50% off of the original price and definitely saves you on fees to get into the popular attractions.

You can get a 3,5,7 day pass which is valid for 3 months.

An adult 3 day pass costs R595 and childs pass is R445.

The ticket includes Ricksha bus, mini town, Ushaka Marine world, (dangerous creatures and water park and sea world) sharks board, funtables theme park in Gateway shopping centre, Umgeni river bird park and many more.

Take a look at what they have to offer and what you would like to do whilst in Durban before you buy the tickets as you might not want to do everything on the list.

It does save you money and the nice thing is that it works like a credit card as you have already loaded the card with what you need to pay for.

A boat cruise from Durban harbour out to sea. Source: natasha
A boat cruise from Durban harbour out to sea. Source: natasha

Durban Harbour

There are a number of boat rides you can select at the harbour in Durban. "The Isle of Capri" costs about R50 per person and you can either go for a ride in the harbour or out to sea. It is a fantastic experience to go out on the boat but it is not for everyone and if your kids are prone to being car sick then they will probably be sick on the boat too.

Free things to do in Durban

The best things in life are free!

The beaches are great fun and safe as they are protected with lifeguards

Museums in Durban are free or very cheap to go into and worth the visit to experience Durban's history.

Nature trails and birdwatching can be fun with guided tours provided by many of the hotels.

Botanical gardens, Japanese gardens and the park near the stadium can provide great outdoor activities for you and the entire family.

Durban, the place to be

Durban has the best climate all year around and if you are travelling to Durban during the holiday season, be sure to book accommodation in advance as it gets very busy.

Check with your hotel to see what activities they offer for the kids, find a hotel that is in walking distance to the beach and ensure that you pack lotion for your Durban holiday as you will need to use it here, even in the winter months.

The best things in life are free and Durbanites are easy going and live to see and feel the ocean.

You do not need money to go for a walk on the "Golden mile" or to swim in the beautiful ocean.

Nature trails, mangroves and bird watching in Durban is free but you do need to go in a group as some of them are not as safe as they used to be.

Durban is beautiful and there are so many parks, promenades and beaches to explore for free!

When you are done with that you can take a drive through to the Midlands meander to explore the countryside arts and crafts as well as get a view of the mountains and give the kids a treat by allowing them to have a chocolate fondue lunch!

For people who would like to spend their time relaxing then this is the holiday for you. Fun in the sun, the feel of the beach sand and the ocean waves splashing over you as well as the nature walks and don't forget the food!

If you like curry then Durban is the place to get that and a nice day trip would be to experience the Victoria Market, where you can get spices and advice on how to make a good Durban curry.

The kids can experience the Indian traditional spiced pineapple while you look for the curry of all curries.

Durban is beautiful and the best things in life are free!  Source: natasha
Durban is beautiful and the best things in life are free! Source: natasha


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    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      5 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you!

    • profile image

      Rose de vico 

      5 years ago

      Loved it again...very attractive for the tourist or out of town visitors!!!

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      5 years ago from South Africa

      Kids love it! The beach can take up an entire day and as for the museums, for parents it gets a little much when you are asked to go again and again!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      Who wouldn't want to see a mummy and a dodo skeleton then go to the beach? Awesome!

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      5 years ago from South Africa

      It is beautiful and a great place to visit!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Durban is beautiful and so much to do I like the beaches and the markets museums sound interesting and the people are so friendly.

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      5 years ago from South Africa

      It is very beautiful and having the ocean to look at each day, can make your day birghter!

    • srsddn profile image


      5 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      tashaonthetown, Durban seems to be a beautiful place, specially the beaches. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and Useful.


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