Summer is here at last. Check out 5 of the best local family Durban activities. There’s something for everyone, from the supremely adventurous, to the sport fanatic, to the zany , to the budding or fully fledged citizen scientist!
1. Shark Cage Diving with Blue Wilderness
If you are looking for a family adventure that ticks all the boxes, then making it to pole position for adventurous activities on the KwaZulu Natal coast, is cage diving with sharks. You don’t need any qualifications (children are also welcome) and you don’t even need to be able to swim. A cage, pole and wetsuit ensure that you stay easily at the surface and can enjoy cage diving and snorkeling while viewing the sharks. Within a couple of minutes you are surrounded by up to 20 different sharks. They are supremely beautiful and the kids just love ’em. The sharks happily swim around you for the entire duration of the trip so there’s never a dull moment. Team Blue Wilderness are dedicated to changing perceptions about sharks and teach you all about the animals you will see. You can also free dive ‘cage-less’ amongst the sharks (if you are feeling comfortable). Leaving the cage is a breathtaking experience, as it allows the sharks to swim around, over and under you! Regardless of whether you are inside or outside of the cage, we rate this experience as exceptional and a total ‘must do’ for everyone visiting the Durban coastline.
2. Visit Moses Mabhida Stadium
Although already perfect for sports fans and their families, you may not know that Moses Mabhida stadium is so much more than a rugby/ football stadium. The stadium also hosts a variety of activities for all ages. Take the kids to the People’s Park, where there is a kid’s play area for under 12’s, expansive lawns and a kilometre-long running track. There is a huge space on marble-like paving for older ‘kids’ to enjoy skate-boarding and ride bikes down the ramps of the stadium. Take a trip on the SkyCar or make the 550-step adventure walk to the top of the arch and enjoy panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and Durban. For the adrenaline junkies, try plunging off the 106 metre arch on the Big Swing. There are also plenty of restaurants and coffee places for those who want to sit and enjoy a lunch or a read.
3. Visit U’Shaka Marine World
A Durban icon ,U’Shaka marine park is packed full of adventures and activities for the whole family. The aquarium itself is designed to represent the inside of a sunken ship, and so as you walk around it you feel like you are walking in a wreck with the fish, sharks and marine life swimming around outside. Adjacent to the aquarium is the wet and wild waterslide park, full of waterslides for everyone to enjoy. There is an incredible playground for young children, live stage performances by a host of marine mammals, and for those who prefer something more relaxed, The ‘village walk’ an enjoyable shopping mall, for some retail therapy. Try out the superb new activity- the ‘Chimp and Zee’ rope adventure park that consists of 18 different rope challenges for participants.
4. Go Zorbing with Groovyballs Adventure Park
Fancy hopping inside a giant, transparent ball and rolling downhill? It may sound a but weird, but it’s simple, and great fun to boot. KwaZulu Natal has one of the best zorbing parks in the country. GroovyBalls Adventure Park in Cliffdale is the place the kids ( and you, of course) to try your hand at this crazy sport. The park offers different courses such as the “Kamikaze Run” – a 120-metre downhill roll – and a 60-metre ride for kids. If you want to combine your zorbing with some other activities, the park also offers go karting, target shooting and paintball.
4. Visit Durban Botanical Gardens
Durban Botanical Gardens was established in 1849 by Dr Charles Johnston on the edge of the Berea Ridge. This 37-acre property is Africa’s oldest surviving botanical garden. Apart from the lush and relaxing green gardens, it is also an important place of interest because of its many living fossil plants. These pre-dinosaur cycads (seed-producing plants extending back 250 million years) face possible extinction in the wild. A visit to Durban Botanical Gardens provides a rare opportunity to see these ancient plants up close. There are monkeys; peacocks and other small animals for the kids to enjoy seeing. Try out the incredible orchid greenhouses, a personal fave of ours. It is the perfect place for a lazy summer picnic, find a secluded shady spot, lay down your blanket and have a good read, or sleep. There are at least two restaurants serving light meals and high teas. Many a scone ; raspberry jam and whipped cream has been eaten here over the many years it’s been a Durban institution.