There is a place in South Africa where even the cold fronts turn out to be not that cold. Durban is the quintessential holiday city, warm in summer and lovely in winter. In short the perfect place for a holiday. Known for its remarkable beaches and Indian food, it’s a city that has so much to offer the visitor who is open to new memories. 

Shopping at the Gateway mall 

Gateway is a female shopaholic’s dream and probably every husband’s nightmare but definitely worth a visit. In 2001 the largest shopping mall in the Southern hemisphere opened its doors to the public. Offering over 350 stores, more than 70 restaurants, 24 movie theatres, a Barnyard theatre, the Wave House, an arcade and theme park, Gateway has set the bar a mile high. The mall also boasts with a skate park, the world’s highest indoor climbing rock, an indoor gym, the highest fountain in Africa, tenpin bowling and a 4x4 vehicle track. 

uShaka Marine World 

This is a lovely place to take your young ones for a fun-filled day. Just three years after Gateway, uShaka Marine World, a 16 hectare theme park, opened its gates. It consists of four sections: uShaka Sea World, uShaka Wet 'n Wild(water park), uShaka Beach, and uShaka Village Walk. Entertainment is never ending, extending from day-time activities of Sea World, Wet ‘n Wild and uShaka Beach to night-time festivities of the Village Walk. At the Village Walk you will find nestled between the vast variety of shops both the legendary Cargo Hold restaurant, where you dine next to a shark tank inside the “Phantom Ship”, and the Durban franchise of the well-known Moyo restaurant. uShaka Sea World is the 5th largest aquarium in the world and offers wonderful dolphin and seal shows throughout the day. 

Take a hike in Umhlanga 

Another great (and affordable) idea for a family day trip is to head to the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve and to stroll through the coastal dune forest and across the Ohlange River towards the Umhlanga Lagoon. The guided walk is half an hour long so it shouldn’t be too strenuous for little hikers. 

The Reserve is brimming with well over 60 species. Keep your eyes open for vervet monkeys and blue and red duiker. The route is well-marked but walking through the reserve alone is at your own risk. 

Visit the People’s Park at Moses Mabhida Stadium 

Take the kids to People’s Park at Moses Mabhida Stadium. There is a kid’s play area for under 12s' and expansive lawns and a kilomtre-long track. Parking is right at the playground which is made secure for the tiny tots by a little fence. There is a huge space on marble-like paving for the older ones to do skate-boarding and riding bikes down the ramps of the stadium. 

Take the family to Funworld 

Durban Funworld  will be a huge hit with the kids. Plus, it’s actually quite affordable. And during the school holidays, Funworld will be open until late every day. Be sure to take a family ride on the aerial cableway overlooking the city, the tilt-a-whirl or the swing boat. Or why not have a family bumper-car-battle at the Dodgems Arcade? 

Swim with the sardines at Aliwal Shoal

The annual Sardine Run – when millions of sardines migrate up the Wild Coast – is hands-down the event of the season in Durban during winter. Instead of heading to beach to watch the sardines being caught, why not get up close and person with them by going scuba-diving? One of the best places to get a good underwater view of the sardine migration is at Aliwal Shoal, about four kilometres from Umkomaas. In fact, Jacques Cousteau – the mac daddy of scuba-diving – considered Aliwal Shoal one of the world’s best scuba-diving spots. Apart from swimming with the sardines, you’ll also be able to see a wide range of underwater life such as sharks, rays and turtles. Added bonus: there are also diving courses for newbies. 

Go biking at Giba Gorge

Take advantage of Durban’s fantastic winter weather and get outdoors. The Giba Gorge Mountain Bike Park in Hillcrest is an awesome place for you and the kids to shake off extra adrenaline that’s been building up during the school term. Giba Gorge sports an excellent BMX track and a 40-km mountain bike trail that slithers through the wooded farmlands overlooking the Umtamvuma River Gorge. Giba Gorge also has a restaurant, an art gallery and picnic areas. BMX and mountain bike clinics are also offered. 

Confront crocodiles and snakes at PheZulu Safari Park 

Nestled in the Valley of 1000 Hills just more than a half hour drive from Durban, PheZulu Safari Park is an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Apart from the breathtaking beauty of the area, the park’s highlight is definitely its menagerie of crocodiles and snakes. If the kids like facing up to all sorts of creepy creatures, a visit to the PheZulu Crocodile and Snake park will be a treat. Keep a look out for Junior, the 102-year-old Nile crocodile, or the 3,2-metre-long Burmese python named Cleo. End your trip off with a bite to eat at the Boma restaurant or a Zulu cultural experience. 

Take a trip on Umgeni Steam Railway 

Grab the kids and creep through the Valley of 1000 Hills on a vintage steam trains on the Umgeni railway, one of the country’s oldest railway lines. The train journey is from Kloof Station to Inchanga Station and back and happens on the last Sunday of every month. The trains leave Kloof Station at 08h30 and 12h30 and returns in the afternoon. At Inchanga Station, you’ll find a craft market, picnic area and pony rides. When you get back to Kloof Station, be sure to pop into the Stokers Arms pub.